A brilliant gig Friday night at the O2 Indigo gave me an opportunity to flex my somewhat out-of-shape rock'n'roll photography muscles, and try and bag some shots of the fantastic Chasing Ora.
I first saw them live supporting Them Is Me at the Monto Water Rats a year or two ago, and I was more than a little impressed. When I got in touch with the band, mainly via Darren their bass player, I was even more impressed.
Not only do Chasing Ora produce some blistering tunes, such as the hauntingly memorable Jekyll & Hyde, and equally unforgettable Running Scared, not only are they a bunch of dedicated, hard-working, and exceptionally talented musicians, but - they are some of the nicest rock musicians I have ever had the privilege to meet. Which sets them poles apart from many bands on their rung of the ladder, and in my opinion, earns them a place much higher up.
Sadly the same could not be said for some of the "photographers" in the press pit...
Not content with machine-gunning the band at 10 fps for 30 minutes, hoping to snatch a couple of half-decent shots of "the pretty singer bird" so they can sell them to whoever will pay, they tried their hardest to ensure others in the pit didn't get any good shots, by whatever means necessary.
At one point one of the videographers, a really lovely young lady working for the band, was blocked from passing photographers in the pit, so she couldn't get into position. Upon noticing this, said photographers turned their back on her and ignored her, refusing to give up their vantage point.
I have had some great opportunities to shoot rock music from the press pit, and this really pained me. I have been privileged to work alongside some really talented and nice guys, eager to pass on advice to me, then a relative newbie, but the thing I think impacted me most was the friendliness of these guys.
They were clearly brilliant photographers and (I think this is the key) they had no insecurities about other photographers "getting better shots" - they were just there because they loved the music, and loved photography. Which is why I do it. And when I meet other likeminded photographers, that makes it all the more fun.
I loved the camaraderie in the pit, people watching out for each other, moving aside for other photographers to get their shots too, not hogging space in front of the microphone stand. In short, it was a place where good manners still existed.
Sadly it looks like "rock paparazzi" are now inhabiting the press pit, and have not brought their manners with them. There are few things that irritate me more than somebody being a bully, and that is pretty much all these morons are. All they want, is one good shot (not that they have the ability or the eye to get such a thing deliberately, despite owning a huge camera to compensate) and they don't care how they get it, or who else suffers.
Fortunately, I can't see this phenomenon lasting, as whilst they clearly excel at being downright rude, they really aren't very good at taking photos... and after all, that's quite important isn't it?