Photograph the Band


Workshop as part of edition

Festival Director Michael Weir.
Workshop professional photographer Carrie Davenport


From setting up to the after gig wind down, the kids or youth who were game for a unique photography event – showing them the basics and a bit more when it comes to photographic reportage in the real – choose their Saturday experience well.

The band Go Swim are an awesome outfit based here in Northern Ireland and are getting deserved airplay and recognition for their cultured rock based distinct sound.
With enthusiasm, ease and totally involved interaction with this unique event, they held nothing back and delivered a commanding set in three parts giving the sweetest acoustic you might expect from a practically empty Manela Hall at Queens University Students Union.
Many world class performers and performances have filled the hall and the youngsters who rocked up to it on this day were able to take direction and ask the band to pull some shapes for them on and off stage.
Under the tutelage of photographer Carrie Davenport whose love is rock photography, these pupils each were given a decent compact digital to use and the intro took them through the story of Rock photography on a swift informative large screen slideshow. While this was in flow the band were setting up and I thought once they started they could put on a show which would have the place rocking in other circumstances. It had the full sound and lighting as would happen at a normal gig. It seemed good practice and stage craft for the band also, shame the punters were not your regular tune buying public but another time another stage will come.
With this as part of the first ever Youth Photography Festival in Europe and as the closing event though it was sparsely but sufficiently well attended, it gave those wise to its possibilities, the opportunity to receive the clear and expert direction of Carrie whose pupils all lapped up the concept and the school of ‘BPFYE2014’ got stuck in.
The results can be found on the Facebook page related to the website address above. BFT also filmed and photographed the journey.
It was a inspired occasion and being its inauguration might be replicated in years following and with a greater shout out perhaps involving schools a bigger success.
It was a joy to watch the confidence of the youngsters grow and taking it seriously and seeing their work develop. Carrie critiqued as it progressed but let the children find their own ideas. She enabled them to get as close as the ear protection allowed! which was in their nostrils.
Not the ear plugs, the cameras poked up by the kids.
It was a gig almost at full blast; taken down a tad or two as the space didn’t need much more to become like living inside a giant speaker.

I, having spent a night a long time back, right of stage at Guilford Civic Hall next to, (two feet away), speakers throbbing out the rock of the ‘loudest’ Rock band gigging – AC/DC and taking a week to get my hearing back I knew it is the case that you have to cover all bases when organising things around music.

Presumably you have been to a gig or two yourselves and have come away with memories ringing in your ears.
So it was both good from the visual perspective as well as the auditory one since the youngsters covered both angles, being up front and personal with the indoor live band set as opposed to the muddfest or pokey tent with beer swill and debris around you.
This may be the spark that lights up this or other creative pathways for them, the band themselves offered up that go do it encouragement and
Belfast Photo Festival, particularly Michael Weir can claim another success in founding this series of events of which considerable amounts of effort were employed to make it so. Check out the work of Carrie Davenport if you haven’t already and see the originality infusing her work.
Everything taken care of it all went swimmingly.

Go Swim
With their sound creating a driving cool vibe, with slick tight playing from all corners with the direct and robust voice of Steven Smith out front most of the time, they gather you in and carry you on their energy and alacrity. I hate trying to describe music by using the usual tags and can’t use them here as it most times is both inaccurate and off line.
Still it is is also cumbersome using ‘cool vibe’ and I sound like a ‘daddy cool’ being neither!
Writing is the key to the band future and once they have hit the chords that sit squashed through their equipment (hands, ears, feet, brains and heart) as well as their instruments, the output will come at us on the wider plain which I hope beckons.
Putting songs of the quality of the one which is grabbing people’s attention
right now Call Sign is itself a challenge, given the response and want for more. It will surely come and at the end of summer at the Belfast Feile they are booked to support the Kaiser Chiefs on 9 August 2014 in the big awesome hopefully tidy tent, as I think they won over a few new fans at this event.
The business end of the bands fortunes are not dependent on genre filled expressions of their musical direction; nor in comparison with other bands local or national, they are on stage and in studio recording.
The latter can fashion up alternative performances of the same thing – songs already in the ‘machine’ – when the track gains even more meaning in our consciousness. The of now moment which all musicians adore and go out there to do it again and again.
Go Swim deserve your listening at some point I would hope and it would be good to see their music go far and wide along with maybe the young folks creative potential.

Go Swim are : Steven Smith Vocals and Korg
Julianne Shawe Vocals and Lead guitar
Des Hesketh Lead Guitar
Stefan Malecki Drums

Go See A Band
Go Hear Go Swim

Enjoy your Music whatever form it takes. Take a photo of what your turntable or earphones and fan experience is telling you to take.
The person in front is closer.

@BelfastPhotoFestival Twitter
@JohnMedici Twitter me!

John Graham

27 April 2014



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