Shooting From 'The Pit'

July 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A few people have been asking me lately about my music photography, everyone is always very complimentary of it, and it confuses some people when they see lots of newborn photography and family photography on my social media pages. 

So I decided to write this little blog post to explain where it all comes from and where it all fits in to Ciara the photographer & Ciara the music lover!

I have loved music from a very young age, as a 10 year old child I had lifesize posters of Elvis Presley & Michael Jackson on my wall....that's some combination! Teenage years saw Guns n Roses, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Cure, The Smiths etc entering my life, and well they all remain in my top favourite bands lists! Being honest there will always be a little bit of grunge in my soul ;-)

My first gig was The Waterboys when I was about 14 years old, and I was transfixed. Going to college in Maynooth opened up so many gigging opportunities and I got to see all those great Irish bands of the early 90's The Frames ( I have lost count of the amount of times), Something Happens, The Pale, The Mary Janes, The 4 Of Us,The Golden Horde, The Sultan's of Ping & the list goes on.

The last few years have seen me being able to merge my two loves; photography & live music! I had always brought my smaller cameras to gigs with me, but it was Electric Picnic 2012 when I first got to 'shoot from the pit'. That was one very special festival for me, I got to photograph some of my music heroes...such as...

Glen Hansard

Glen Hansard The Cure Robert Smith (The Cure)

While shooting the Picnic that year I knew I wanted to convert the images into mono, and I knew I wanted high contrast, grungey, gritty mono. The next two months saw me reviewing every single image and selecting a number, editing them all to the same style, same tones etc adding in some shots from local gigs I had covered and presenting a panel of 15 mono music images for my successful Associateship Panel with the Irish Photographic Federation in November 2012.That was the proudest moment of my photographic career.

Mother Love Bone sang of their concerts ‘Get me to the stage - it brings me home again this is Shangri-La.’ Music has always had a special place in my life. Some of my most precious memories have been at music events. However, I have often found it difficult to express through words the musical moments I have witnessed at various concerts throughout the years. My lens allows me to see music and to bring it alive. My lens allows me to capture those intimate moments where a performer is lost in the energy that grows between themselves and the audience and to unveil that magic in a way that words cannot. For me gritty, high contrast black and white photography creates a third space that captures the unseen and often missed moments which makes live music more than a musical experience This panel of images represent my captured Shangri-la moments. For me, the essence of my music photography is all about capturing those magic moments in a performance, those moments of pure emotions and connections. Those moments can come in moments of stillness, the emotion of a lyric showing through the power of a vocal performance, the connections between the performer and the audience and sometimes just pure rocking out.

I have been privileged  to photograph some of the best musicians there are, both household names and those bands/artists that are newer to the live music scene and over the last 8 months have been shooting for Festival & Gig Guide Ireland.

So here's a small selection of some of my favourite recent shots.These were all shot in the best live music spot in the midlands Kavanagh's Portlaoise (www.facebook.com/kavanaghs)

 

The Pale

The Pale @ Kavanagh's Portlaoise-21The Pale @ Kavanagh's Portlaoise-21Please feel free to tag and share. Images may not be altered or used without my permission. All rights reserved. Mark Geary Mark Geary @ Kavanagh's Portlaoise © Ciara Drennan 2014-5Mark Geary @ Kavanagh's Portlaoise © Ciara Drennan 2014-5Great set from Mark Geary in Kavanagh's Portlaoise last night. The Hot Sprockets The Hot SprocketsThe Hot Sprockets Le Galaxie Who have I really enjoyed shooting? I love shooting bands/musicians that know how to perform, that bring that extra energy to the gig.

Jerry Fish is always great to shoot live, he owns the stage and the crowd! Booka Brass Band featuring Jerry Fish @ Groove Festival © Ciara Drennan 2014-19Booka Brass Band featuring Jerry Fish @ Groove Festival © Ciara Drennan 2014-19Please feel free to tag and share. Images may not be altered or used without my permission. All rights reserved. David Gray has held a special place in my music life for over 20 years now, I always love going to see him live and it is now a pleasure and an honour to be in a position to photograph his live gigs.

David Gray @ Groove Festival © Ciara Drennan 2014-14David Gray @ Groove Festival © Ciara Drennan 2014-14Please feel free to tag and share. Images may not be altered or used without my permission. All rights reserved.

Alabama Shakes were one of my highlights from Electric Picnic 2012, pure energy and passion!

Highlight from Electric Picnic 2013 ( it really is difficult to narrow these down) has to have been David Byrne, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to say thank you to him for an amazing set, that was a 'moment' for me.

And then you have the new up and coming bands like Fresh Ré,who not only have a great sound but their frontman knows how to own a stage & play to the camera...expecting to see a lot more from them!

Fresh RéFresh RéImages may not be altered or used without my permission. All rights reserved.

I would love to be in a position to be shooting more live music and festivals in particular, however I have a 9 year old & a 7 year old boy, and my priority has to be given to them. I get out as often as I can to and am hoping to shoot a few more festivals this summer.

Live music photography has also given me one more very important thing in life...new friends, I have met and become firm friends with not only some very very talented music photographers but also amazing people, take a bow Rory Coomey ,Tara Thomas, Ste Murray & Dan Butler to name but a few. Legends the lot of them :-)

So finally, what bands are on my gig bucket list....Pearl Jam have to be number one I have been listening to them since I was a young teenager. Sinead O'Connor, Janes Addiction, Iggy Pop, P.I.L., Bob Geldof, Tom Petty....and George Michael!!! ;-)


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