A good gig photo can capture the atmosphere of a show and transport you right into the heart of the crowd. We’re so lucky to work with some incredible photographers for FORM shows and one of our favourites is Joshua Atkins. For the second instalment in our Art x Music series, we spoke to him about how he got started and who’s left on his photography wishlist. Check out some of his favourite shots to the right and follow him on Instagram and visit his website here.
How did you get into live music photography originally?
My friends and I have always enjoyed going to gigs, often leaving school early to travel up to London, grab some beers and see the bands we were listening to. After one particular show I got chatting to an artist that was supporting and he invited me along to come and take some photos at his next London show. This happened to be a Rockfeedback show, with Blaenavon playing an intimate and sweaty show at the now deceased Buffalo Bar in Islington. It was an incredible show, and was both the beginning of my love for their music and a wonderful relationship with Rockfeedback and the great people that work there. After that I was hooked and wanted the next sweaty show to capture.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in all the time you’ve been shooting gigs?
Get the shot, but be respectful of the other people that are trying to do the same. Yeah, you want to capture the moment, but there is always someone else wanting to do the same. Work together in the pit and you can both go away happy. I’ve been so lucky to have made a load of good friends through music photography, and you will know about it if you get in the way and are not respectful of pit etiquette. Also, take your damn bag off!
You can only save one photo you’ve ever taken at a gig, which would you choose and why?
There have been so many amazing moments I’ve been fortunate to be a part of, seeing some of my favourite artists play live. There would be too many of the actual artists I love, so I guess I would pick out this image of my mate Billy (crowdsurfing shot to the right). I had shot Hinds a few times before and was invited along to shoot their show at the newly opened Moth Club. My mates from school were into them as well so came along and we all got drunk, played bingo and enjoyed a great show. This was the moment that Bill decided to crowd surf in the tiny venue, a regular occurance, and I think it shows everything that a gig should be.
Is there a band or artist you’d love to shoot who you’ve never got that chance too?
I’m a huge Bowie fan, so I am gutted that I never got to see him live. I love seeing the old black and white images of his shows. I guess shooting someone massive, with a AAA and a ban on mobile phones would be the dream.
Any advice for someone keen to start taking photos at shows?
Get yourself a camera that can shoot in low light situations, don’t expect too much too soon, be respectful of those around you and most importantly, enjoy yourself!