Photo of Ed Sheeran courtesy of Olympus and Denis O’Regan.
This year at Glastonbury Olympus gave regular Glastonbury rock photographers - Jill Furmanovsky, Denis O’Regan and Mick Hutson a couple of Olympus OM-D E-M1 cameras with a selection of lenses and asked them to show what’s possible with the camera in the hands of a professional.
You can see for yourself how they got on by visiting the exhibition of their work at the Olympus Image Space, London (just around the corner from Liverpool Street Station) until 7 September 2014.
Jill Furmanovsky started the talks at the press preview last Thursday and spoke about how the camera’s size gave her the freedom to enjoy the good vibes of the music event without being weighed down by the traditional heavy kit she might carry, she also praised its weatherproof ability in the rain and the mud. Mentioning that the camera was equally useful for mountain climbing and stuffing in a handbag because of it size she felt happy to carry it around all day. All the images in the exhibition display the photographer, the camera and the lens – it’s nice to see what was used.
Denis O’Regan and Jill Furmanovsky
Denis loved the variety of people and things to shoot at Glastonbury and shot all day and night through rain and even lightening striking the pyramid stage. The photographers get 10 minutes at the start of most acts to be in the pit in front of the performers to shoot the images, so their angles are limited by this but they are close to the artists, and one artist called Win Butler used this closeness to grab an iPhone and a few other cameras for some unique selfies and crowd scenes before handing it back to the owners. Denis quite likes playing in post processing and producing B&W images and there are some striking ones on-show. He did point out that artist wristbands often compromised the shots in his opinion. He loves digital cameras as he takes perhaps 2000 shots at an event then chooses 200, much better than film days where film could get lost and cost a fortune. He also said that fish eye lenses were super but he said you need to make sure you know the band well as the imitate nature of the close-ups required means you all need to get on, generally that’s not a problem as they are paying you for their publicity, but keep eye contact with them, and don’t get between them and the monitors on the back of the speakers.
In the breaks at events like these you often bump into those in the trade of selling cameras and today was no exception as I had a great time chatting to Mark (from London Camera Exchange), Tony and Gaz (from CameraWorld) and showing them the effects of me using the Rogue Large Flash bender on my speedlite. Gaz got a bit worried when I said he had sold me my first camera, until I explained it was only 7 years ago and CameraWorld said that Canon’s cashback made the 400D a pretty good buy at that time – luckily they were right and I got on with it quickly. It’s nice to see real companies still working hard to provide person-to-person advice at these types of events.
Tony, Mark and Gaz
I also got to meet the holder of the Guinness World Record for the longest composite photograph at just under 1Km in length. Clare Newton created “Jumping for Joy” with 1200 people mid air. It's a dynamic and exciting mix of nationalities, abilities, colours and mods all stitched as a panorama.
Last up was Mick Hutson, well known for his aerial photographs and atmosphere shots, Mick has shot at this music event for 18 years and has now become an Olympus ambassador as he believes the OM-D is the right tool for the job. Mick says he is a one shot person, so has no need for burst modes on cameras. He took the Olympus up in the helicopter for the over head shots and said it was totally suitable for the job. Perhaps controversially he did say that many of the pictures at the event were similar but said he could not say if that was the camera or the age of the togs. Perhaps it’s just the professional style they have all learnt works. Mick likes to get out-and-about at these events and shot the burning man statue late at night, praising the low light performance of the camera as well as its solid build.
He reminded us to understand what an event is about and to get in close and capture the essence of an event, flags were a particular feature of Glastonbury. Also, he emphasised how important it is to wait for the right shot. This could mean standing in one place for 10 minutes to get the right moment, sense what might occur and of course, be in the right place at the right time. One of his shots of Lilly Allen giving the crowd the finger is down to this perception he says. Another tip I liked was to get a fish eye lens on a monopod with a cable release to get up high and in close at events.
So, I think that this candid shot might sum up the message Olympus is trying to give us which is to look at things differently – would a different camera give you something more suited to your style of photography?
The pictures are well worth viewing in the exhibition if you can get there as you will see beautiful black & white images and bright event photography of music performers many of us will know.
Words and pictures (apart from Ed Sheeran) by Stuart Fawcett (JackAllTog)