This was one of the best days in a long time, the highlight of 2023 so far. The Minds Of 99 played Smukfest festival, one of the larger Danish festivals and it was just the perfect day where everything went well and even the very wet Danish Summer weather took a break and let us have a lovely dry day in the forest. The day peaked with an outstanding concert by Minds, with a fantastic crowd. And it was so moving to see the reaction when drummer Louis Clausen (out for the Summer with ear problems) came back on stage to play the last song.
Smukfest takes place in a forest, and the festival grounds in front of the main stages are on a slope so you get a little bit of amphitheatre effect and for that reason I really wanted to make a lot of pictures from the stage as you can see the large crowd all the way to the back, almost like a wall of people. This worked out well particularly in a few key moments. You can read much more about photographing this gig after the photo essay.
Thank you so much to Minds, management & crew & the whole family, hanging out with everyone and documenting these concerts is absolutely amazing, these days mean everything to me.
THE MINDS OF 99 – Smukfest 2023 Photo Essay
A few notes on photographing this concert
“Wow that was an amazing concert but hmmm, I am not sure really what I have, not sure if I made anything truly special” – this was my first thought when I walked off the stage. Sometimes I have the “wow I think I made a lot of good pictures” feeling after a concert but most of the time I honestly feel as if I might not really have nailed it, that I might not have any actual great pictures. With The Minds Of 99 the bar is raised, they are the best in Denmark so I push myself to make pictures worthy of their performance. And I also have photographed them for 7 years now, so I won’t settle for good enough, the pictures have to be really special. Not every single picture can be iconic, but in the collection from every Minds gig there should be some that are truly special, or I failed. And they have to tell the story of the particular concert, I do not want to just make a nice generic picture. Take Smukfest as an example I want to make iconic pictures that could only be made at this festival, most of the pictures need to tell the story of being at Smukfest. Since I had already documented the 2023 stage setup from the pit at Tinderbox 2023 festival I wanted to shoot most of this concert from the stage, which is extra challenging but also rewarding when it works because only from the stage can I make the pictures where I show the band, the stage, the crowd, the forest – all of the festival in one picture! I also decided I had plenty of closeups from Tinderbox so I wanted to focus on cinematic wide shots from the stage, adding to the challenge but it’s really important for me to push myself every time and experiment, no point in making the same pictures at every show.
Sometimes that feeling of “not quite sure if I made anything great” can be really good, it means I really pushed myself, worked super hard and I am unsure if it worked. That is good, a concert like this where I had complete freedom, I should push myself, no point in playing it safe. That means sometimes it doesn’t work out, but in this case, for Smukfest, after having made my selection and spent days developing the pictures I am reasonably happy with it, some of what I tried work well and there are 2-3 pictures that I really love.
Photographed with 2 x FUJIFILM X-T5 cameras and 10-24mm, 16-55mm and 50-140mm lenses. Read more about my FUJIFILM gear. I will end with a picture of myself on stage, at my very favourite job, working for The Minds Of 99. Thank you so much to Camilla Lundbye for the photo!