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I concur Brad and actually I agree with you as well Samantha.

Looking back at the times when photography wasn't such an easily accessible hobby or trade to have, I recall seeing very few people with cameras at shows prior to say, 200_. People spent more time focusing on what was happening ion stage or between their right and left ear lobes.What ever happened to the olden days when music enthusiasts would simply stand back and take it all in, enjoy the music and become moved by it? It seems to me that one can't move to any spot in the crowd without the glow of an LCD screen or (as I've experienced) arms stretched to the ceiling trying to capture a good all inclusive crowd/band shot. So now I have to spend time thinking about which way to crane my neck to still see the band.

What's worse is when you're at a very intimate venue and the silent attentiveness to an artist is disrupted by the single lense reflexing over and over and over again.

I fear that with the onset of the growing popularity of photography and video recording on little point and shoot cameras that people forget to pay attention to what they are watching and instead focus on trying to get the right shot and keeping their hand steady so the video isn't shaky. And it's sad to me.

I'd be remiss to say I'm not guilty of bringing my camera to shows when I can. I don't even fancy myself anything more than an amateur. Sure I'd like to score a shot of one of my favorite bands, more so those who I may not get to see for ages or ever again. However, I sort of operate on trying for a few for a song or two and then enjoy the show. I can remember specifically an instance where I did not abide by my general rule and I got entirely to photo happy. I can't even tell you highlighted points of seeing M83s set at the Empty Bottle earlier this year because I was ignorantly preoccupied with taking pictures. I regret that very much (though to be fair I did get quite a few really great photos).

As for Samantha's point I agree, and yet part of me disagrees as that's the writer in me. Going to and enjoying a live performance is absolutely 100% subjective. No matter how descriptive the words or captivating the pictures someone reading or viewing your photos will not know what the actual live experience was like if they weren't there. And in the instance that they were there's a possibility they saw and experienced something completely different than you. I've known this for years, and recently when I reviewed a Cut Copy show there was a comment "were we at the same show?" or something to that effect. I'm not saying that person was wrong by any means, it's just evidence to support the idea that everyone takes something different away from a live experience.

But I digress, while I do think that there is potential for some really great concert photography, I just find the whole thing becoming very contrived. It's all in what you value more. Do you prefer a one of a kind experience that you etch to memory aurally and visually to that of frantically adjusting camera settings, changing lenses, traversing the crowd in search for the unmarked photog territory that may allot you the perfect most magnificent shot. But of what? Do you even remember what you just heard?

Cheers for the counterpoint, Brad. It brings back warm, fuzzy memories of my high school debate team, except I was never on the debate team. I was on the math team, even though I was rubbish at numbers. I just did it for the chicks. But I digress...

At the risk of falling into cultural studies twattery, I think it's apt to quote Guy Debord here: "All that was once directly lived has now become mere representation." The extent to which we fail to directly live our lives and instead mediate them with technology is painfully obvious with even just that quote. Made over 40 years ago, it was once an insightful observation, but now that the simulation has become so much more powerful than what it simulates, it's a naive one at best. Debord would be quite depressed today if he hadn't already blown his brains out years ago.

I certainly find that when I'm photographing anything, even if it's a landscape nature shot, I'm removing myself from the actual direct experience a bit and I can feel it. It's hard to balance a love of photography with a love of living life, but it helps to be aware of the gap between the two. Just this past weekend I was in Oxford and got some really nice snaps of Christ Church Meadow. When I was done, however, I put the camera away and just sat for a while to look at it. If I didn't stop to enjoy the scenery through my own eyes for a bit instead of solely through the viewfinder, I risked returning to grimy old London with none of the relaxing benefits of a day in a smaller town.

The same applies to gigs. If I love the band I'm photographing, I definitely force myself to bag the camera for at least half the show, because I can't get into the music that much when I'm constantly looking for a good shot. It definitely means there are moments I miss capturing on film, but when I'm capturing them on my memory card, I'm also missing out on capturing them as vibrantly in my memory.

I think all of this is probably less of a problem for the pros or pro-ams, and more acute amongst the mobile phone camera junkies. Generally I notice that the SLR users sheath the camera a lot sooner than the average punter with their pocket camera, and also tend not use flash nearly as much. When I saw My Bloody Valentine earlier this year, the guy next to me had his mobile out the entire time videoing the whole thing. I was distracted by the glare of his screen and also by my own misanthropic thoughts that fell along the lines of, "God that's going to be a wretched video. It is guaranteed to utterly emasculate the full assault of this performance into a blocky and blurry YouTube clip."

The human memory has a great way of overinflating and exaggerating events, and when that gets applied to gigs, it's often for the better. I knew that performance was going to burn into my mind in a way that video could never capture.

I am in 100% agreement with you on this one, B-Town. First and foremost because: Yes, you're ostensibly there because you like *the music* so enjoy the show that's happening in front of your face. And then, to a lesser degree— without delving into Roland Barthes/Susan Sontag-type issues of our cultural preoccupation with documentation in general— for realz, what's with the compulsion? I never look at photos of live shows-- or for that matter, read reviews of shows. Why? Because I wasn't there. It's a visceral, spontaneous experience, so why on earth would I want secondhand info on something that I could have gotten my own completely subjective experience of, had I chosen to be there? The only visceral experience that I want to see photos and written accounts of involves friends/coworkers/people I think are hot having sex with another friend/coworker/person I think is hot. I'm nosy, and a perv, and I don't mythologize people because they play instruments. Finally —and you're affirming this theory for me here somewhat Brad— I'm of the opinion that the person getting the most enjoyment out of a live photo set or review is the person who created it, because that's how they chose to enjoy the experience. Yes, I know that people other than me are genuinely interested in live pics/reviews*. I said the MOST enjoyment.

*I actually don't know this for sure. Can I get a show of hands?

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