It seems almost mandatory for a photographer to post a round up of their year. Usually its a selection of "best shots" but I thought I might take a different tack and show a selection of crowds I have photographed over the year..
First up is the crowd at KoKo, Camden Town in April shot with a very wide lens. What appeals to me in this shot is the extremities of emotion; the girls in the centre are totally lost in the moment, not having a clue they are the focus of my camera. A girl in the second row (and a guy further back) looking straight at me although nothing else was happening and finally towards the edge there seem to be a couple of people that are totally bored, who would rather be somewhere else..
Camden again, this time The Roundhouse for The Flaming Lips in May. The stage was very high for this but what we have here is a crowd looking up in what looks like wonder as confetti is fired from the stage into the air...
Now we are into summer and the June premiere of "World War Z" a film that featured a Muse soundtrack and so a special performance by them at Horse Guards Parade. Covering the premiere for The Empire I was particularly keen to cover the concert also as I had missed them a few weeks earlier at The Emirates stadium. The gig was short with us not getting very long in the pit (due to a mix up). What I really loved about this gig was the contrast between the music and the architecture (walking down Whitehall after with Muse echoing off all the government buildings was wonderful). This is not actually my favourite shot from the evening (see here) but mixing monochrome and colour in the same blog post I am told is a big no-no.
The end of June and now we get to the start of the festivals and Glastonbury. There can really only be one crowd from this, the crowd for The Rolling Stones. What an evening. With 2 photographers on assignment from my agency and one pass to shoot from the "pit" I opted to shoot from the crowd to get the atmosphere (plus I really wanted to see the concert having never seen them and I did have a back up plan). The crowd was immense, the atmosphere electric and The Stones, well they were fantastic. This was taken from way back in the crowd, choosing my moment to raise up on a step to get an elevated view (after explaining to those around me - who were all relaxed and quite happy, unlike some audiences i have known). My back up plan was that I got an assignment to shoot The Stones from the pit a couple of weeks later at Hyde Park.
On to august now and Standon Calling with King Charles + a few on the main stage. I was walking back to the press area from the second stage just as King Charles was performing his last numbers. I was at the top of the hill (back of the crowd) when he "invited" a stage invasion. I was now in the crowd struggling to get to the front whilst the rest of the crowd were struggling to get to the stage. Not the greatest of shots but I think it sums up the melee quite well.
Not all my crowd shots were at music concerts. This was the end of August and the World Premiere of One Direction - This is us 3D in Leicester Square. I have never seen the square so crowded and noisy, I wish i had taken the ear-plugs I use at concerts with me!
On to November now and Islington Assembly Hall. I was sitting at the back during the support waiting for T'Pau. I thought I would play with my favourite latest toy - the Fuji X-Pro1 whist waiting. It's a great tool which I now carry most of the time (and if I am not carrying that I have the X100 with me).
And finally December and the last gig I shot in 2013. A charity concert at The Hammersmith Apollo hosted by Coldplay. The wristbands that were so effective in the Stadium gigs were also very effective in the 5000 capacity former Odeon (as I still call it).
So thats my cross-section of 2013 crowds. All it tells us really is that every concert is different, every crowd is different, every attendee experiences different emotions and thats why I love photographing concerts.
Anything else I learnt this year? The Rolling Stones are like London busses: They have been around for years, everyone prefers the older ones and that you don't see them for ages and then 3 (concerts) come along together.
I hope you had a good christmas break and I wish you the very best for 2014...