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Why I Don’t Take Pictures At Gigs

Every time I go to a gig I take my camera. Gigs are one of the main reasons I bought it – it has a decent zoom and has a double-digit number of megapixels, which someone told me means it is somewhat decent for long-distance picture taking. It always travels with me to gigs hidden inside a carry case, so I don’t sit on it or stand on it or generally try to murder it. But it rarely gets used. There are a few reasons why.

1. The Velcro on my Carry Case sounds like sharks ripping apart human flesh

Well, not quite, but I feel the sound is audible enough to contribute to disruption of people’s enjoyment. Which is really silly, as it’s the tiniest sound in relation to the booming music blasting through the thudding speakers causing ribcages to vibrate. Yet whenever I open my camera case I find myself slowly peeling back the cover to stop the shark from ripping me apart. I have to stand there sweating, shaking, looking around over both shoulders, just to make sure no one is angrily glancing at me with eyes of fire. In the end I give up and keep the camera behind the Velcro, so I don’t cause people to want to stab me for making unnecessary noise. I only wish my Dad would be this considerate when he’s rushing to get the cellophane off his new things while we’re all watching the TV at home.

2. I don’t want to block anyone’s view

Having heads blocking your view at a gig is one annoying thing, but having a camera plonked straight in your eye line is something else entirely. It’s happened before. I’ve been stood there watching my favourite artist, then someone shoves in front of me and lifts their camera in the way of my view. Did your camera pay for a ticket? I’m left thinking. Because I paid and yet I can see less than Mr. Nikon. Which is exactly why I hate taking photos. In my eyes it is the equivalent of shading the entire sun from the world and leaving them to die without it. People didn’t pay £20 to see my Olympus. If they did I’d have enough money for a better camera.

3. I am a clumsy person. And no one will provide me with bottle lids.

For some reason venues I’ve been to refuse to let me have a lid for the £2.70 bottle of water I buy from them. In case I launch it at the artist or something. A £2.70 bottle of water and they think I’m going to waste it injuring the artist I paid to see? I don’t think so. This lack of bottle lid means I’m left trying to hold a bottle straight while waving my hands in the air. Not only does this leave me having to hold both a camera AND a bottle, it also leaves my poor camera in danger of drowning without a life jacket. I have spilt something on it before, which is why I like to leave it firmly protected inside the case. So no picture taking for me.

4. I like to have fun

Sometimes, when I’m that into the music the last thing I want to do is spend my time fiddling about in my bag to take a picture. I paid to enjoy myself, not to view the whole show on a screen like I could at home. ‘Did you enjoy the show?’ ‘Yes, me and my Olympus had a lovely time staring into each other’s eyes.’ ‘Did you see the bit where________’ ‘Umm, no, we must have been smooching by that part.’ Exactly the situation I want to avoid. (Missing the gig not smooching with my camera. My Olympus is not that alluring. Maybe if I get a Nikon we can talk romance. Maybe).

5. The Finished Result

I used to think photography was easy. I was always one of those people who thought ‘What’s so hard about pressing a button and buying a £500 camera? I could do that while backflipping naked into a swimming pool.’ I thought it could be done by anyone. That was until I stood at a gig, held my camera in the air and pressed down the button. And instead of receiving the wonderfully angled amazing shot I was hoping for, I received this angry smudge of colour:
Emilie Autumn Gig Manchester Aug 2013
If I hadn’t been there I might think I’d been out watching angry mythological goddesses beating up scaffolding. Or human-lion hybrids showing their anger through interpretive dance. I honestly would not have had a clue.

I don’t think a £100000 camera would be enough to improve my photography skills.
Next time, I think it’s safe to say the camera will be left behind at home. Or forcibly wedged into the hands of my boyfriend. (He can take great photos. Meaning they aren’t blurred messes of colour without heads.) It’s clear that my camera is nothing more than extra weight in my bag at gigs. And I don’t need that with all the lids I’m going to have to carry in future so I don’t end up drowning myself.

P.S. If anyone wants to hire me as a freelance photographer I’m great at transforming humans into abstract beast creatures. Controversial artwork is in style now, isn’t it?

5 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Take Pictures At Gigs

  1. Are you available to hire for wedding photography? I think these are the sort of lasting memories I want to make at my (non-existent) wedding! 🙂 haha

    I’m not a huge gig-goer, but the couple times I’ve been, I never really pulled out the camera. Don’t know why I INSIST on bringing it. I like photography and all, but not at gigs. I always feel too awkward to pull out the camera, like I’m disrupting something, like you and your shark velcro. Be careful! I’m a little bit too lazy to get the camera out as well, because usually that involves rummaging around in my bag, elbowing every one next to me. I also feel silly, because there are (probably) near hundreds of other cameras documenting the event and among them are actually able photographers whose photos will hit the Internet soon anyway. I don’t think anyone cares to see what messes of photos I’ve actually remembered to take!

    I didn’t realise that water came without their caps at gigs. I’ve never bought any drinks, because they are so notoriously expensive. I just forcibly dehydrate myself on account of my wallet. At one gig, there were rowdy men throwing a bajillion pound beers raining across the crowd. All I saw was pound notes flying everywhere!

    I’ve read some article somewhere about tourists (and gig-goers) missing the point of things by being so glued to their camera’s viewfinder! At least you’re not endanger of becoming on of those types! Having fun is most important!

  2. Hahaha … not bad 😉 lol I might just hire you for my wedding next August. Just kidding. Photography really isn’t as easy as people think it is. It took me a little while to know all the little techniques/ “rules” and whatever. I still have a lot to learn but eventually I do want to me a semi-pro photographer who gets to shoots weddings and special events and such. My fiance is a great photographer as well. I don’t know how he gets all the cool action shots. My action shots looked like yours too actually hahaha. We both can do that artsy human beasts thing.

  3. Wow an Olympus! The last point & shoot film camera my dad had was an Olympus. They’re the worst in DSLR performance, I can tell you that, so your imaginary/possible romance with Nikon is based on some realism!

    It is true that no matter how expensive your camera & your lens, you will not be an amazing photographer. The photographs you take are dependent on you, your knowledge of cameras, & how well you can use that knowledge. The camera does a lot of the work, but if you don’t know how to set up the correct settings, hello underexposed/over exposed, shotty pictures!

    This is the first time I’ve ever read a gig that didn’t give you the bottle caps with your water bottle. That’s ridiculous. If you wanted to throw things at the artist, you’d throw the bottle with or without its cap. So dumb…the logic….it isn’t there.

    As for your possible adventures to gigs next time (say you feel like bringing your camera), here’s some advice for you:

    1. don’t be paranoid about your velcro. it really isn’t a big deal unless there’s a slow song & it’s quiet. but realistically, that would be hilarious if they’re holding some long note & you just open up your camera bag.

    2. one quick shot of the artist will not be too obtrusive to other viewers around you. people really don’t mind that much unless your camera is as big as your head.

    3. take your camera with you, change your ISO settings to a really high number (think beyond 1000) so that your camera can take in more light without the obnoxious flash.

    4. megapixels have nothing to do with long distance pictures. it’s the resolution of your pictures & it doesn’t always correlate with the quality. i can guarantee to you that some dinky little Canon point & shoot with 18 MP will take inferior quality photos than a person with a Canon 40D, which is a DSLR with around 10 MP. Your zoom = distance measurements.

    5. your reasons for not taking your camera to gigs are justified. i’ve taken mine to gigs & i never really look at the pictures again. even if you record the songs they sing, again, you’re probably never going to listen to it again. it’s done, you don’t care, you had fun. bring your phone if you can snap a photo with them, but otherwise, it’s not even a big deal if you don’t have pics of the artists. BESIDES there are tons of people taking pictures of the gig with professional cameras anyway, no real need to take any yourself when you can enjoy yourself like you said! 🙂

  4. I once went to a concert and I think you did better then I did. Sometimes it’s so hard to take good pictures when you’re not holding the camera still (even if you think you do). When people are running/dancing, I can’t take good pictures of it too…. So next time, I don’t bring a camera with me too.

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