Photographing the music of ARIISK

ariisk_30dec2008_00032I’ve always enjoyed photographing live music. I used to play in bands back in the day so I feel a certain connection to music.

Last night I was invited to photograph ARIISK as they were performing some new material at a great local lounge. ARIISK sounds to me like so many things I never thought I would hear again live. It’s electronica, but you can very clearly hear influences of the synth giant pioneers Kraftwek, with a bit of Brian Eno and something else that sounds like it might have come out of Manchester. However, it’s very fresh.

ariisk_30dec2008_00401I never know what I’m going to work with as far as stage lighting goes. Sometimes until the first note is played. Most of the time, the lighting for the opening band is not the same as the headliner, so I can make a few test exposures of the opening band to get a little gauge and choose my lenses, but it’s usually a mad scramble once the main act hits the stage anyway.

For the ARIISK show, there was almost no light. In fact the only stage lighting was behind the band, keeping them in silhouette for the entire performance. But the fog machine they were using created a nice palette to work with.

Since I was close to and on the stage, I decided to just shoot with my widest lens as open as the aperture would go. I still had to slow the shutter down to 1/13th of a second, which is extremely slow.

I prefer not to shoot with flash when shooting live music because I think it’s a bit rude to blind the band and the pictures lose the vibe of the performance when you’re blasting your own light all over the stage.

ariisk_30dec2008_00141I felt the music had a dark moody feel to it and I wanted to convey that in the photographs as well, so I took my best guess at manual focus since it was too dark to use any autofocus and tried to find interesting compositions with the foggy atmosphere.

It was a great show and I have to thank the band, Maureen, Ashley, Wesley and Rolan for making me feel very welcome.

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