Vivid Sydney wrapped up a week ago so before it becomes a distant memory I thought I ought to blog some of my photos.
My two commissions were from Destination NSW who produce the whole of Vivid Sydney, and Sydney Opera House who host Vivid Live performances.
Here’s some pictures.
The website ‘Music Industry Inside Out’ asked me to keep a diary of a week of Vivid, so if you care to read the minutiae of my working week you can in their ‘A week in the life of…” feature.
Vivid Sydney dominated the week, with two main clients, Sydney Opera House who commissioned me to cover their Vivid Live performances, and Destination NSW who run Vivid Sydney who commissioned me to shoot other activities.
The other thing that dominates my life right now is my 8 month old daughter, Lilya. So my life revolves around looking after her, working, trying to get sleep and spending moments in between with my wife, Cybele.
Tuesday 26th May
Tonight, I shoot Morrissey. Being an old school fan of The Smiths, this is quite an exciting prospect. I spend the day looking after my daughter, listening to The Smiths together. While she sleeps, I write emails back to clients with quoting on some upcoming jobs.
For Vivid, I’m hiring some extra lenses from Canon, so I drive over to Canon Professional Services at Sun Studios with my daughter in tow. I collect the 400mm 2.8 and 8-15mm and head back home.
Even though I’m shooting Vivid Live for the Sydney Opera House, I have to abide by the artist restrictions on shooting, so I only get to cover the first 3 songs of Morrissey’s performance.
For all these Vivid shows, they want to distribute the photos to media and post to social media as soon as possible after the show, so when I’m done shooting I take my laptop to the Green Room, download, select and edit my shots and dropbox them to the Opera House publicity team. Shortly afterwards, they’re posted to Facebook and sent out to media. I head home about midnight.
Wednesday 27th May
With a baby at home there’s no such thing as a sleep-in anymore, so it’s up at 6.30am as Cybele and I juggle feeding, dressing and entertaining her before taking her to daycare.
A last-minute shoot request comes in from Destination NSW to shoot a couple at Opera Bar, to illustrate a story about a ‘Vivid Date Night’. I’m booked in to shoot The Preatures at 7:30pm, so this extra shoot can squeeze in when the Vivid lights switch on at 6pm.
We do the shoot about 6.30pm. It only takes about 20 minutes. I download the shots, edit and send them on to the client about 7.15pm, before racing into the Opera House to shoot The Preatures.
I love shooting The Preatures, Izzy is everything you want in a lead singer of a band – she confidently stalks all over the stage with great energy, has multiple costume changes, and of course sounds great (not that a good voice translates in photos).
A rare thing about shooting their show is that all the media photographers can shoot the entire show, not just the first three songs.
The show wraps about 9pm, and then I go to shoot some stairs. The Opera House needs the shot to illustrate to the public how to enter their pop-up bar Deep Purple Pool Hall.
I then proceed to my makeshift office in the Green Room, download and edit my photos. Because I shot the whole Preatures set, it takes a bit longer than usual, as I whittle 700-odd photos down to a selection of 40 that I deliver.
I head home about 11.30pm.
Thursday 28th May
Another early start, but today we thankfully have a babysitter to look after Lilya, while Cybele and I get on with some work.
I nip out to the State Library to check out the World Press Photo Exhibition and Fairfax’s 1440 show, which are both excellent, and make me question the frivolous nature of most things I shoot. But I also feel incredibly fortunate to shoot the fun things I mostly do.
I also drive to Artarmon to buy an LED panel light, which I’ll be using on a coming shoot. I’ve hired them in the past, but figure it’s time to just bite the bullet and buy one.
Tonight’s shows at Vivid Live are Bill Callahan and Daniel Johns. I’m sure Bill Callahan is engaging to the ears, but the show isn’t that great to shoot as he stands statically at the mic strumming his guitar.
To contrast, Daniel Johns is unexpectedly ostentatious, with a big stage production and great energy bounding around all over the stage.
As he tells the audience, this is his first ever live show, in his current solo guise at least. And his excitement is fun to capture on camera.
As usual, I edit my pictures onsite and send them on to Opera House publicity.
I was hoping to head over to the MCA for a Canon/Vivid party, but I’m absolutely exhausted and feeling the flu coming on. These late nights and early mornings are catching up with me.
Friday 29th May
This flu is kicking in and I feel like crap, but can’t afford to take it easy with a full dance card of bookings. I go to the chemist and get some Cold and Flu tablets, needing the pseudoephedrine to power through.
Tonight’s another big one with the Future Classic 10th birthday gig (aka FCX) with Flume and Flight Facilities, plus a Goodgod studio party.
The venue for FCX is spectacular – the northern tip of Sydney Opera House right by the water. It kicks off at 4pm and there’s lots of kids here in the mood to party. My photos aren’t just for short term post-event coverage, but also for longer term use for marketing future events in the same space. As it’s the first time they’ve done something like this, I make sure to get lots of epic shots showing the stage in context with the landmarks of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
I always find shooting DJs pretty challenging to make look interesting – there’s only so much you can do to make someone looking at a laptop and occasionally glancing up and putting a hand in the air look exciting.
But thankfully Flume and Flight Facilities have been at this a while, and have good production levels and guest vocalists.
The FCX show wraps about 9pm, and I start the editing process before dropping in to the Goodgod studio party at 11.30pm. I’d had the good foresight to subcontract out the official photography for the studio party, as otherwise the 2am finishes would end me. Plus I think a 25 year old club photographer may better capture the loose energy of it than a 35 year old dad who’s kind of over shooting in clubs like he was doing 10 years ago.
I’m glad I do drop in briefly though, as there’s some spectacular dancing going on for Victoria Kim’s DJ set.
Home time about 1am. Bless you, Cold and Flu tablets.
Saturday 30th May
The past four nights have all been shooting for Sydney Opera House, but tonight I switch gears slightly, as my client is Destination NSW, the government agency that runs Vivid Sydney. But it’s a bit like Groundhog Day, as I’m back again at the Opera House shooting night 2 of the Future Classic party – just for a different client this time.
Destination NSW are keen on those hero shots that showcase the venue and landmarks, rather than close-ups of DJs. These images will be used to promote Vivid and Sydney Opera House outdoor events in future years, rather than immediately after the event. I also set-up a time-lapse camera to shoot the scene as the sun sets from 430pm-8.30pm.
As I’m not here to shoot close-ups of the artists, I move on early and shoot some shots of Vivid lights around the Opera House. I walk up to shoot some scenes at Museum of Sydney before heading to Goodgod Smallclub that’s also hosting a Vivid gig tonight. It’s a lot of walking and shooting, and I’m still suffering the flu, so am ever so excited to wrap up about 11.30pm and head home.
Sunday 31st May
No rest for the wicked as my next gig is back at the Opera House at 10am shooting Dress Up Attack! – a kids event with performances from Holly Throsby and Ratcat, among other things.
As photographing children is sensitive area and understandably makes parents nervous – the organisers make the mortifying decision to introduce me and two other photographers on stage, where MC Rhys Muldoon makes us dance like idiots. This is intended to put parents’ minds at ease that we are working professionals, not creepy dudes shooting for fun.
The event goes for a couple of hours, and I stay on site to edit the photos and send them out to the Opera House publicists. There’s just enough time to dash home and see my baby before heading out again to shoot for Destination NSW.
Tonight it’s a sold-out talk by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner at Town Hall for Vivid Ideas, before moving on to Carriageworks to shoot the Italo Disco and Dining Club, followed by Grace Jones.
Much as I love the Opera House, it’s a nice change of venue, and Town Hall looks a delightful hue, themed for Vivid.
Grace Jones is a fashionable 30 minutes late for her performance, but more than makes up for it by stepping out in little else than stilettos, knickers, a corset, a cape and tribal paint. So bold, so much charisma, and still sexy at 67 years old.
I finish shooting at 10:30pm but have to deliver the pictures overnight, so it’s home to edit which takes me into the early hours before hitting send on delivery to the client about 3:30am.
Monday 1st June
My first day in ages when I don’t have any shoots for Vivid.
The camera gear that Canon kindly loaned me last week is due for return, so I drive over to Sun Studios to drop that off in the morning.
My only shoot for the day is for Time Out, taking some pictures at a pub in Surry Hills to go on the cover of their 2015 Pub Guide publication.
That all wraps about 6pm, and once the baby is asleep I enjoy my first night in ages on the couch with Cybele and nothing else to do.