Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photographing a Concert

As Christchurch central city continues to dwindle – eaten away by ever-present demolition crews in the wake of two years of earthquakes – there are small pockets of creative people doing their utmost to create and maintain entertainment, inspiration and a general mood of excitement and hope. 

Not so many weeks ago, it was LuxCity (see earlier blog), that vibrant and sometimes crazy night that attracted thousands of Cantabrians to architectural light installations in Gloucester Street
The Dukes

The Eastern
On Saturday night, it was The Concert, organised by the Volunteer Army Foundation, the parent body of the University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army that was set up by law student, Sam Johnson in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes.

Harry Knight
As Johnson points out, over 36,000 hours of volunteer work have been registered in this past year and The Concert was organised as a thank-you. All people had to do to attend the free concert was to pre-pledge four hours of their time to a wide range of suggested causes – everything from assisting Gapfiller to gardening in conservation parks or working on sand dune restoration on the Canterbury coast.

A wide range of sponsors supported the event and 25 leading New Zealand names in music gave their time to provide eight hours of music.

 Music kicked off at 2pm and despite the freezing weather, a reasonable crowd rolled along to see everyone from Katchafire, The Eastern, Scribe, PNC, Pieter T, Savage, Dj-Sir-Vere, Che-Fu & the Kratez to  Avalanche City, Hollie Smith, Goodshirt, Dane Rumble, J. Williams, K.One, Tyson Tyler & DJ CXL, Illegal Banditz feat. Brooke, Kidz in Space, Annah Mac, House of Mountain, Hera, Dukes, Autozamm, Late Nyte Hype, Massad, with special guest appearances from Titanium and Christchurch Pops Choir! 

Dane Rumble
Before you go any further, I should point out that my approach to photographing a rock concert – or any sort of concert at all - probably doesn’t conform to the norm. 

Dane Rumble
Hollie Smith and Fan
As with any event, I’m as interested by the attendees as I am in the performers…. Often more so.
Hollie Smith

For me it’s about looking beyond the obvious. It’s about capturing a mood. It’s more than guitars, microphones and singers; it’s equally about the crowd, what they’re wearing and what they’re doing.
Sam Johnson - 2012 Coca Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year

Annah Mac
I’m always an observer – wherever I am. For me, life is in the detail. More often than not, I home in on colour, texture, the incongruous, the unexpected, a hat, a pair of shoes, a smile. 

So these photos (a small sampling of the hundreds I took), are my expression of an event. I haven’t always bothered with captions, because nine times out of ten, I had no idea who I was photographing – and that especially applies to the performers. 

Call me out-of-touch if you will, but I like to think it’s about fun, about capturing a moment in time. And in this case, it was about being a witness to yet another extraordinary effort by a bunch of highly inspired and motivated individuals, who have gone beyond the call of duty to bring life back to this broken city.

Dane Rumble
I asked one young girl in the crowd what she thought of it all – just as that good-looking, new boy band, Titanium came to the stage – “I’m freezing my tits off in this weather but it’s worth it just to see these guys.”  That says it all, I thought to myself, as I squeezed between squealing girls. Shame a few more didn’t brave the cold weather because it was worth being there. 

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