Alex Woodward




Equipment: I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D, using either a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, when natural lighting allows, or a 24-105mm f/4.0 L in conjunction with a Canon Speedlite 580EX II flash. The 5D is perfect for the demands of gig photography, as it performs so well in low light conditions and offers a huge full-frame sensor.

1. Noma. I first started taking photographs at gigs because I wanted to document the amazing underground and experimental music that was happening in Glasgow, especially because there was nobody doing so at the time. John “Noma” Cromar is one of the many wonderful and totally free – and forward – thinking musicians and artists who operate still very much under the radar here in Scotland. Here he is playing an intense and delicate set using a partially disabled guitar and a host of weird & wonderful household objects.

2. Alasdair Roberts. Although my main focus (if you excuse the pun) is on live music and gig photography, I do also do occasional photo shoots for promotional or artwork purposes. One such outing was with the Glasgow-based folk musician Alasdair Roberts, who I’m a huge fan of. We took a trip out to Singer in Clydebank for the pun-tastic potential of having him, as a SINGER-songwriter, pose under the signs at the local railway station. You see what we did there?

3. The Flaming Lips. While most of what I shoot is on the relatively esoteric and minority-interest side, I do occasionally get the chance to photograph more well-known bands. The Flaming Lips were quite a surprise for me; I arrived without that much familiarity with them, but this show in the O2 Academy last year was one of the most joyous, psychedelic and unashamedly fun experiences I’ve ever had. This photo is also one of those that evidences the chance nature of gig photography – the way that you have to just be lucky enough sometimes to capture the most fleeting of moments as they speed by.

4. Throbbing Gristle. This photograph of the iconic Genesis P-Orridge was taken at Throbbing Gristle‘s first ever Scottish performance at the Tramway in June 2009. It was a wonderful and eagerly anticipated night that I really thought lived up to the great expectations felt before the event. Genesis was one of the most visually & emotionally striking and charismatic performers that I’ve had the honour of photographing and I loved every minute of TG‘s set.

5. Hermann Nitsch. Most gigs will see me crouching in front of the stage amongst years worth of stale beer and sweat stains or battling with feverishly moshing crowds, but every so often I’ll be treated to something a little better. For this photograph, taken at 2009’s Instal festival (an annual celebration of experimental sounds organised by the wonderful people at Arika), I was lucky enough to be granted access when the Austrian composer & musician Hermann Nitsch played a mind-blowing set of cosmic drones on the organ at Glasgow University Chapel. We had to be as discrete and respectful as possible, so as not to disturb him as he played, something that I always strive to be regardless of the situation; it’s very important to me to respect both the artists that I’m shooting and the audience who have paid to come see them play, while at the same time trying to capture the essence & emotion of the music that I’m lucky enough to be experiencing.


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