Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Download Festival

Just over a week or so ago I shot Download Festival. There is so much to say about the weekend that I don't really know where to start or how to get it down (so I've been putting off writing this despite desperately wanting to do it). I'm finding it hard to know what to write.

Download was very much a weekend of extremes... I felt extremely scared, overwhelmed, happy, humbled, proud and frustrated with myself. I was pretty much jumping in at the deep end and I didn't really know if I was ready or good enough but the opportunity was too good to pass up and it out weighed my anxiety and self doubt/loathing.

It wasn't just a case of shooting a festival, I was shooting the festival as part of a team of photographers doing the official photos for Download. There was a level of quality I needed to deliver and as one of eight photographers, I felt going in as the weakest link.

I like to plan in my head how things are going to go and I couldn't really do this as there were so many unknowns going in. I also felt like I was going to be pushed (for the best) out of my comfort zone by myself and by the team.

From the minute we got to the festival site we began working, going out and shooting people and atmospheric shots. This is the sort of thing I've always wanted to do but shied away from because of my anxiety and fear of people telling me to get lost. I didn't really have a chance for the anxiety to kick in because I just had to crack on and deliver. I also had the mental back up of doing it for someone and something.

Normally these types of situation go like this in my head (similar to the Rolo Tomassi situation)...

"Can I take your photo?"
"Urrr what for?"
"Um.... just for me"

or I worry that if I try the sneaky approach I'll get...

"Why are you taking my photos? Don't do it."

As I was taking photos for Download it gave me a valid reason for doing it. People didn't need to know or care who I was because they'd know who I was working for. It's an amazing confidence booster and a massive difference to if it's just me. As well as doing crowd shots I pushed myself to do some band portraits.

I learnt a lot leading up to the festival and over the weekend. The other photographers were incredibly supportive and seeing everyone nailing amazing shots was inspiring. It made me want to take better photos (I totally thought it would have the opposite effect).

I'm happy with a good chunk of the photos I took, there's a load that I think could have and should have been better but it's given me a lot to think about. I really need to carry this standard of work forward and need to work on my focusing and shot selection. There's not really any excuse for putting up photos where the focus is off. Seeing your photos online full size really shows the flaws in them and I want to cut those down.

Some of the highlights were Japanese Voyeurs (as usual) on the Friday and Letlive., Trash Talk, Versaemerge and Your Demise on the Saturday.

I just hope this is the start of some good things happening rather than just a one off.

You can see the rest of the photos I took by clicking here. It's worth checking out the rest of the photos as there are some superb shots in there.

I'm sure this post is pretty garbled and missing lots of thing I probably should have said but this is what I can think of. I have some concerns about how I've been shooting which I may come back and address but I'm going to see how the next few things I shoot go.

I'm really hoping I can carry the positiveness I gained from Download through with me. The real test will be the LRG Roller Derby season championship bout. I want to do more portraits and as they will be just for me, we shall see how it goes (or doesn't as the case may be).

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