Over the past year I got to go to some pretty awesome concerts. Here are my impressions on trying to capture a concert and its mood on film.
I love music, I love going to concerts, and I love taking pictures. Only natural that I should go trigger happy at gigs. Shooting a concert on film is even better than digital because of all the endless things you can do with film to add layers, atmosphere and mood to the pictures. Here are some photos of some recent concerts in which I felt the mood of the concert was somewhat successfully captured on film (I’m never completely satisfied with my photos…).
The Noah and The Whale concert at the Gaîté Lyrique (3 bis rue Papin 75003 Paris) was full of lyrical, sweet, sickly-romantic, almost-twee pop songs about falling in love and broken hearts. The band’s style could be described as dandy-romantic (and my goodness, they are all very good-looking boys!). The concert hall is also quite small and I was able to get up front to put my Diana Mini on stage and shoot photos on B mode. I was happy when I got them back and saw that the exposure times had been just right. The photos are soft focused and have different colors depending on the lighting. Somehow, they captured the dreamy mood of the concert!
Another gig I went to recently was Holy Ghost! at the Flèche d’Or (102bis rue de Bagnolet 75020Paris). The Flèche d’Or used to be my favorite place to go out dancing in Paris, it always had excellent DJ sets and entrance was free! Now, the neighbors’ complaints have domesticated this former-railway-station-converted-to-club into a more quiet concert venue. It still has pretty awesome gigs. I discovered the group Holy Ghost! through their brilliant remix of LCD Soundsystem’s Drunk Girls (it’s awesome!). They’re an 80s’ inspired electro-pop band from New York and their heavy on the synth, gritty groove was perfect for the venue. My Diana Mini, loaded with B&W, was also perfect for the mood. In retrospect, I wish the flash would have been stronger…now that I have the Fritz-the-mighty-Blitz flash, I should be able to get better pics.
But my favorite concert of the year was Sufjan Stevens at the Olympia (8 Boulevard des Capucines 75009 Paris). The Olympia is a legendary concert venue and you can feel that the artists are always very happy and very proud to be playing there. For starters, it’s neon headliner display is a classic for photos of any gig:
Then there is Sufjan. I love him, let’s just put it like that. He had a major breakthrough into mainstream with a folk-pop album a few years ago but his most recent, ‘The Age of Adz’, was considered as weird as it was brilliant. It’s heavy on electronics, synths and percussion and even though it still contains moments of pure pop, it challenges such concepts as that of the chorus. It’s tour the force is a 20 minute song that, in five parts, goes from despair to joy and ends on an ambiguous note… the whole album is like that. It is a conceptual artistic project that spans most human emotions and the show was more or less the same. You either love it or hate it.
The show had angels, a circus, a neon fest straight out of Tron Legacy, an alien space ship, an erupting volcano and much more. The artist himself started the show with a huge pair of articulated wings and throughout, dressed up as an alien and other creatures. All this provides wonderful photographic material. Sadly, as funky as my photos look, they may represent the mood and follies of the concert but not its entire greatness.
Even though they are not perfect, these photos are good at evoking the memories of a great concert…we loved it, as you can see from our faces fuzzy with joy!
The Diana Mini is the ultra-compact, petite version of the Diana F+. This camera takes soft-focused, lo-fi images in 35mm and allows you to change between half-format and square shots with a flick of a switch. Get your own Diana Mini now!