Will Pippin is a Brooklyn-based analogue photographer who was recently commissioned to take photos of the LadyLand Festival for Document Journal. Pippin, who shot photos of musical artists Tinashe and Shygirl on Lomography Color Negative 120 ISO 800 film, shared some of his tips and tricks for photographing live performances with us.
Hello, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your photography background?
I'm originally from Rochester, New York, where Kodak is based. My Dad sent me to photography camp at the George Eastman House as a kid and I hated it. It wasn’t until I left Rochester that I realized my appreciation for it’s deep photographic history and how lucky I was to grow up with it.
When did you start getting into photographing artists and live performances?
Three years ago I was in London and photographed a MadeinTYO concert. He brought out A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky and I lost my mind. This was before I could get a press pass to concerts, I would just buy a ticket and be the first in line so I could get close to the stage.
What is your usual camera set up for a live performance?
For the Ladyland Festival I used a Pentax 67 with a 55 mm lens.
Why shoot film over digital for live performances? Are there any caveats?
Personally I think the limitation of film helps me stay sharp. I could use a digital camera and shoot thousands of photos but when I shoot film and know I only have 10 or 20 photos per song helps me stay focused. And of course I just prefer the colors and depth of film.
Do you have a favorite photo that you took at Ladyland Festival?
My portrait of Tinashe before her performance.
Can you walk us through the steps you take when photographing live performances
I got a lot of tips from my friend Axel Kabundji who has shot many live performances. I try to take a moment and look for new angles. There were maybe ten photographers shooting the performance and they were all shooting from the same spot in front, so I went around back and hopped on stage to shoot from there. I was also lucky to have my friend Ryan Razon with me to watch my back as I ran around shooting.
What is it like taking photos of well-known artists? Do you ever end up with any kind of networking or relationship with them afterward?
It always depends but for Tinashe we only had ten minutes with her and there were several other photographers in the green room trying to shoot with her at the same time. If there’s time for it most artists are nice to talk to.
What has been your favorite event or person to shoot so far?
Ladyland was mad fun but the craziest performance to shoot was Beast Coast in 2019.
Do you have any advice for those looking to start photographing events?
Act like you’re supposed to be there and don’t be a piece of shit.
Do you have any upcoming shoots or events that you are photographing and can share with us?
Bullfights in Spain.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love Lomo. Thank you for featuring my work.