There are some situations that require a great knowledge and talent of photography to get it right. Blue skies and sunshine help me with my hiking photos and subjects at the right time of day etc. One person I have been admiring is a local fellow to me by the name of Paul Witterick. Shots of great musicians and bands taken from the darkness of the crowds, together with the bright lights of the stage show, with all the movement therein. Such a hard thing to do and he makes it look so easy… I wanted to learn and know more so I invited him here to explain….
From the desk of Paul Witterick
Music photography for me is IT, I mean as a music lover what better way to get right into the action, to meet and have a chat to some of the acts that I was listening to at school. It’s a labour of love, and the reward may not be that financial, but by god it’s an amazing buzz and sometimes I suppose feel likes its an honour.
So I try and keep to covering the local festival, and music events as Cumbria does have a rather good music scene, considering a few years ago we were as they say ‘off the radar’.
Music photography can be quite tricky and takes a bit to master, obviously Flash is a big no no, and if your seen using it when carrying out official duties, your wristband will be cut off and you’ll be out. So how do we manage to get sharp images in dark conditions, well if I was doing landscapes that would be easy, i’d use a tripod and drop the shutter speed down to let more light in, hey presto! Doing this at a gig in the “pit” would not only be impractical you would also get motion blur, exactly what we don’t want. So what do we do, there are ways around this, we could lift the ISO but not too much, I don’t think the press want to print ‘noisy/grainy’ images. The way I manage is a combination of factors, I will have the shutter speed/aperture/ISO set low enough to get a sharp image, and watch the light I’m always trying to frame the shot with one eye, and observing the next move, the lighting, a certain part of a track were the pace changes, and I suppose different bands/musicians have there signature traits, weather jumping off the drum kit to coming to the front of the stage and standing on the speakers, you can almost predict their next move.
The Charlatans, well what can I say, these guys were what I was brought up on – The Madchester times,(being brought up in the North West) I was maybe just a little young to have been going out gigging, so to see the likes of The Charlatans, The Inspiral Carpets etc belting out early 90’s classics these days is awesome.
I particularly like this image of Seasick Steve, the great American tramp who found fame by playing the guitar which was made from old hub caps or biscuit tins. I’m sure he would like this image too as it shows off his friendly personality, he was just walking round mingling with the crowd at Kendal Calling.
I caught up with Bez for the second time in as many years, this guy doesn’t fail to entertain and certainly lights up any party. I met Bez before he was due on stage in the green room and had a little chat about life in general and The Happy Mondays. I did struggle a bit to get a word in edgeways as he was getting bombarded with questions and people wanting their photo taken with him.
Huey Morgan, the coolest man in the music industry. He walked on stage at CockRock with a fag hanging out of his mouth and then popped it in the strings of his guitar and said, “Right you Fuckers, lets do this!” After he finished his set he didn’t do the usual and disappear onto his tour bus he went into the dance tent and hi-jacked the DJ’s set throwing out some massive tunes. The local lad who was Dj’ing could not believe his eyes!
The rest of these images I have chosen for the simple reason the amount of energy that goes into these guys performance and I would like to think that I have captured them in a way that shows that and that is what photography is all about-capturing that special moment.
Paul Witterick and his wife run Witt-Woo Photography, a photography studio in Appleby, Cumbria.