Beyond Cultural Difference: Photographing Concertgoers

Most of us who visit concerts mainly do so to see their favorite acts playing on stage, but do we ever look at our fellow concertgoers? Though this isn’t what we buy our tickets for,  RAW’s Anne-Marie Dimanche will show us that there’s great value in looking around more often instead of just listening; we might get a glimpse of the transcending powers of music.

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There are many complications that may arise from different cultures meeting, language barriers, different social customs and cultural differences being a few examples. While these are not necessarily negative things, these existing differences might make meeting people more difficult or even intimidating.

However, music seems to transcend these problems: music is something that can always be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of your origin, the cultural background of the artist(s) or language of the song. This is one of the reasons why photographing concerts and other music events is so appealing to me; it never ceases to amaze me, watching a bunch of complete strangers all share the same passion and love for the same thing — music.

In these moments, I tend to focus on taking candid photographs. This really helps capture the spirit of the concert, and helps to show how people let loose and become their full selves while dancing and singing along to the performance. Furthermore, I notice that people automatically change a few things about how they carry themselves once they notice a lens is pointed at them. For example: if someone is dancing and sees me about to take a photo, they’ll often stop and pose for the picture!

This is a shame as dancing is something quite unique from person to person, thus a great action to photograph. Also, when you photograph people as they are, you get to document the concert as well. Of course, it’s also great to photograph a group of friends smiling and enjoying themselves, posed or not.

Photographing music concerts can become quite hectic and intimidating when trying to carry around a bulky and expensive camera in a sea of dancing, energetic bodies. Don’t let this discourage you! Take inspiration from the music and the people around you and let this drive your photography. So, next time you’re attending a concert or music event, contemplate bringing your camera. Open your eyes as well as your ears.

 


This article is in collaboration with RAW, Amsterdam University College’s Photography Committee.