Take two Danish DJs and musicians from Den Sorte Skole working two and a half year on their Lektion 3 release, piecing together thousands of samples from more than 250 old vinyl records originating from 51 countries. Add mind-blowing visuals from Dark Matters to this mix and install it all on stage at the new Royal Danish Playhouse Skuespilhuset. The result: a unique 90 minutes audio and visual odyssey through music history that felt like being inside a dream of ever changing moods, sounds, rhythms and atmospheres. A dream I was lucky enough to get to shoot.
Den Sorte Skole (Danish, literally translates to The Black School) is a Copenhagen based DJ, producer and composer collective founded by Simon Dokkedal, Martin Fernando Jakobsen and Martin Højland in 2003. Simon invited me to come and photograph one of their 3 sold-out performances at Skuespilhuset in Copenhagen back in May 2013. Having never been inside the theater, the room halted me in my tracks as Simon led me inside. It is astoundingly beautiful, and apart from the staticness of a sitting audience at a concert, the perfect setting for a live performance of Lektion 3 (lesson 3).
Roaming around on stage or in the audience during the show was naturally not possible as you would show up as one huge silhoutte on screen, so it called for being creative in discreet shooting locations. Fortunately we did some dry runs before the audience arrived so we could capture stills and video closeups. Additionally, being a theater, the backstage area is enourmous, 2-3 times bigger than in front of the stage. So it was quite possible to walk behind (Clumsy Boy here being very bloody careful not to trip over wires!) and shoot from the sides – and at one point I also utilized ninja stealth (as much as Clumsy Boy can muster) and made it to the sound booth without wrecking the joint.
Lektion 3 is incredibly ambitious and a masterpiece that I had listened to many times, but the live show is an entirely different experience. Energetic live performance by Simon and Martin, bass that rattles the bones, visuals that electrifies the visual cortex in a jawdropping theater, this was special and magical.
Many thanks to Simon and Martin for inviting me into this musical odyssey. My photos do not come close to capturing how spellbinding it was, but the following is my small story from Den Sorte Skole – Lektion 3:
Lektion 3 it is free to stream and download – please consider donating so we can all have a Lektion 4 – so check it out here: densorteskole.net/lektion-3/ and also watch the great video!
Good stuff, Flemming. Especially like the photo that opens the post. Psycadelically crazy. Also like the shots from the stage without and with the people. Often think what a rush that must be for a performer like my state mate Springsteen to walk out during sound check and see empty. Then, a fe hours later, 100,000 fans. Must be a rush. ~ Mark
Thanks Mark! You are so right. I was sorta hidden behind a screen when I took that shot of the stage with the full stage just before Simon and Martin came on. I stood there watching the whole room fill up over 10 minutes and it was quite a special thing to experience, wonder how amazing it must be to go from 0 to 100,000 and walk on and have everyone go NUTS.
Speaking of rushes… while I love the way you capture shape and colour (truly), what I’m coming to appreciate more and more is the way you capture the energy of a room.
Two perfect examples here in your first and last images. The first illustrates the energy of an immersive experience so well. I get the feeling of the music, the beat, the light, the colour wrapping around me in a very tangible way. And again in the last image… oh so perfect. The rays of light are a beautiful depiction of the energy of the crowd coming back to the DJs, of the reciprocation that comes in a brilliant show; the give and take of energy made visible.
Just a bit of a fan girl lol.
“Capturing the energy of a room” – you know I have never thought about this conciously but now you mention it, that is exactly what I try to do as I find this is very often lacking in most event and music photography. I must admit I find a lot of event and music photography extremely dull and it is often because there’s zero energy, the performance looks boring, a moment frozen in on camera flash that looks horrible and without any atmosphere nor energy. Glad you find energy in my pictures, that I get it right once in a while!
Thanks for being a fan 😀 😀 😀