For the past year I have been having some rollercoaster emotional rides regarding photography, both my own and the photography world in general. Often I thought I was done, wanting to switch off the cameras for the last time. I still think about that. So it has been on my mind for a long time: To go back to the core of myself and the core of what my music photography is all about. Strip everything back to my deep, deep love of music – and a love of documentary photography, with a sprinkle of grandness.
Some of the thoughts that had been bouncing around my head: It should be a personal project, just for me and the band. It should be about freedom. Escapism. Just be in sync with the music, feel the beats, shoot on instinct and let the subconsciousness take over. Make it black and white, my preferred look for music pictures. Remove all the distractions and the often too-easy effects of colourful lights on stage. More intensity, personality, both mine and the bands, and simply – make better pictures. Make pictures with content that has to be striking in itself stripped of everything. Use my preferred wide angle point of view, fill the entire frame, layered pictures with elements. Make pictures that are all me, that no one else could make.
How to start? Find a band that has truly blown me away, that I would love to work more with and ask if they are interested in working together on a personal project. My first instinct was The Minds of 99, my favourite concert at Roskilde festival. We had been in touch since the festival, and when I introduced them to the idea of doing a project together they very gracefully said: yes let’s do it! It took a while to find a tour date that worked for all of us, but in the end we landed on a perfect one: Minds of 99 playing the closing concert of their Summer tour in Tivoli in Copenhagen on Friday 16th of September 2016.
The date was locked in. The scene was set.
Early morning on an unusually hot September day in Copenhagen. I get there at 8.30am and everyone is already setting up. I really like shooting sound checks. It is a good way to get to know everyone before the big show, and a great way for me to learn the stage and light setup, where I can stand during the show and then simply warm up by shooting. Minds of 99 really kicked ass at this soundcheck at high intensity so I was extremely happy and pumped leaving Tivoli at 10.30am.
At 11.05pm exactly the band goes on, to a packed Tivoli and ecstatic crowd. Minds of 99 are well known for their amazing lyrics in Danish and the crowd seems to know every single word in every song. The energy from the band feeds off the crowd and vice versa. It is a true privilege to be on stage and witness this. As always, time speeds up, goes way too fast, I am in a zone, nodding my head to all these songs that I really love, I am shooting and in what seems like 5 minutes it is midnight and time for the finishing fireworks. Can we rewind and do it again please!
Wow. Just wow. My brain was doing somersaults and stage dives and I could not fall asleep at all when I got home from this Minds of 99 mindblowing gig. The feeling of just letting go and shoot with total freedom, has somehow become a rarity over the past years. Not blaming anyone but myself. I am eternally grateful for the wonderful commercial jobs, I am humbled by the amazing people I get to work for and I love those gigs too. They are just a different beast as they should be, different demands on the content of the images, responsibilities, deadlines. During this show I was only thinking about how amazing Minds of 99 sounded, how much I loved the music and how much it moved me and how I wanted to express that. I just let my eye and trigger finger work on instinct.
Did I succeed in everything I was after? Of course not, I probably never will. Did I have one of the best days of photography in the past year? You bet. And overall I am quite happy with the pictures, and totally thrilled, still high on being part of this day with The Minds of 99. Getting my Groove back. Let’s do more.
All pictures made on Fujifilm X-T1 with Fujinon 16mm F1.4 and Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujinon 35mm F1.4