Splendour Studio – Day 1

Temper Trap in the Splendour Studio

At Splendour in the Grass i had one of the best assignments i’ve ever had – shooting backstage portraits of the bands and artists playing at the festival for FasterLouder.

FasterLouder had a tent in the media compound backstage that i set up with a white paper roll and some studio lights (with help from Elleni). Over the course of the three days over 30 bands visited to get their picture taken. Some i took indoors in a simple classic style, some i plied with props and accessories to get them loosened up and have fun, while others i took outdoors for a taste of the lush green surrounds of Woodfordia.

For many years i’ve documented festivals, concentrating on the performances, the punters and the festival atmosphere. So this was an exciting evolution, shooting one-on-one portraits with the artists.

Here’s my photos from the first day.

Ashley from Operator Please

Taylor from Operator Please

First band of the day was Operator Please. They’ve come a long way since i first photographed them in 2007. They’ve toured the world, released two albums and become much more snappy dressers.

Taylor from Operator Please

Amandah from Operator Please

Operator Please

Operator Please

Robert and Leah from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

The next band to shoot was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It was just two of them, i was told other member Peter was “busy fiddling with his guitars”.

There’s not much time for small talk in these situations, you just have to start shooting, and when i began i thought Robert must’ve been pissed off at something. Me perhaps? He was all scowls, no eye contact and general moodiness. After a while i had a moment of realisation – this is his photo schtick and he’s actually posing for me. If you look at any BRMC press shot you’ll see that sullen James Dean-esque vibe.

Sure enough as soon as i put the camera away he was all smiles and thanks.

2/3rds of BRMC

Dan Sultan

I’ve shot Dan Sultan a few times now, and he’s such a gentleman. Even though he persists in calling me Danny.

Dan Sultan

Lisa Mitchell was lovely and took it in good humour when i told her that she spoiled my photo assignment for Rolling Stone by being overseas when she won the AMP Award. You can hear her sing on Andy Bull‘s new song Dog.

Lisa Mitchell

Megan Washington

Love Megan Washington. She didn’t flinch when i asked if she’d put on a moustache. Legend.

Megan Washington

Scissor Sisters

It was such a joy photographing Scissor Sisters. So nice. So photogenic. A class act.

And it was a nice moment of reflection for me – four years ago i was shooting them onstage at Splendour, today i had them one-on-one in a studio portrait shoot.

Scissor Sisters

Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters

Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters

Foals

I was kind of nervous about shooting Foals. They strike me as a serious band who make serious music and i was concerned they’d be serious and boring in a photo. But those expectations couldn’t have been further from the truth. The minute they walked in they were in high spirits and couldn’t wait to get messy with glitter and bubbles.

Foals

Yannis Philippakis of Foals

Jimmy Smith of Foals

Jimmy Smith of Foals

Temper Trap

The last band on the day long shoot was Temper Trap. Like Foals i was concerned they might be a bit uptight – but not at all. They had no problems goofing around with props for the camera.

Temper Trap with Mumford and Sons

After shooting Temper Trap they went back to their dressing room to rehearse a song with Mumford and Sons. I took a happy snap of them before they played Down River together that night.

Or see all the other photos from day 2 and 3.

5 thoughts

  1. That looks like possibly the funnest job anyone could ever get – that picture of Megan with the cigarette is HILARIOUS and everything else looks so fun. I love all the ideas, and how much everyone gets into them!

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