Words by Harry Ward
Musicians love to look cool, this is fact. There is one particular breed of gig attendee that contributes to an artist’s image like no other. You’ll find them lurking in the front row of every show (although they never seem to stay for more than three songs), giving the artist their undivided attention. They are, of course, the live music photographers, and artists; be nice to them, because they can make or break or your image.
Wide Eyed Live Vol 3 was launched on Saturday at Tortuga Studios in Sydney as part of the Head On Photo Festival. This year, the exhibition had a female photographers only approach to further address the undoubted marginalisation that women experience within the music industry.
The exhibition was an immaculate display of the diverse acts that have graced the stages of Sydney in the past twelve months. Looking at performers on a collection of canvases really makes you realise there is a lot of music out there and if these artists sound as unique as they look, then we really are living in musically flamboyant times.
In a humbly subjective (but digitally published) opinion, my special mentions go to the works of Annette Geneva and Bel Dipalo for their stunning live shots. There are some Aussie acts out there that really owe these photographers a big thank you for forever capturing their moments of passion and adrenalin for all to see.
In talking to Annette Geneva about the reason behind the female photographers only component to the exhibition, Annette explained that many female music photographers miss out on opportunities in the bizz because male artists are scared to let a girl in their club. She explained that convincing a band to bring a female photographer on tour is difficult, as the band fears the will have to compose themselves differently in a female photographer’s presence, which of course shatters any hope of catching authentic, off-guard shots.
This raises more of a socially complex flag than a sexist one. Are the boys in the band dismissing women in photography because they feel that men do a better job or because they are socially awkward around the opposite sex? Either way, the art-form should come first. Ironically, if a male artist is concerned that he will have to compose himself like a gent whenever a female photographer is around, then he’s in luck, because that’s probably going to look great on camera (refer to sentence one of this article).
Wide Eyed Live: Volume 3 will be open until 14th May at Tortuga Studios. Don’t miss it!