The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Midsummer Music Festival 2013

Gatehouse Midsummer Music Festival is a must-attend event, circled in the calendar each year. It’s spread out across the town with the main venue being in the hall at the primary school, with other things happening at the community centre, open pub sessions and even the local café.

While this might all sound very local and even a bit twee, most of the main acts come from outwith the area and the performances – from both visiting and local bands – are never less than outstanding. And this year was the best yet.

Each year I head along with the camera (see Midsummer Music Festival 2011 and 2012) and attempt to exercise photography skills that are almost the polar opposite of normal portraiture.

In a studio I get to control the background, the lighting, and I interact with the sitter. By contrast, at a festival the background has been set up by the organisers with no thought given to photography, there is never enough light, and performers on stage are not going to stop playing while you rearrange them to make a better composition.

So the quest to get something not too dark, in focus and reasonably composed is quite challenging. This year had the added trickiness of some serious foot-stomping music – it’s particularly difficult to keep the camera steady when your body just wants to leap about to thumping rhythmic beats.

Nowhere was this more of a problem than the final band of Saturday evening, The Black Diamond Express. I was completely blown away by their music, musicianship and stagecraft. I’d seen a couple of videos of them online beforehand, but they fail to capture anything like the energy and drive of seeing them live. If you ever get a chance to see them, do not hesitate.

Another departure for me was this time I decided to go for colour for most of the images. There are still a few black and white images in the mix – I do love the atmospheric moodiness black and white can give – but this year I decided not to be so rigid about it. Each photo I selected I considered both options and went for the version I felt best suited that image, rather than looking for a consistency across the entire set.

Below are a few examples, but you can find the full album on Facebook by clicking on this link:

Malcolm Middleton


Mosa Funk CLub

Shelagh McDonald - you might remember I did a photoshoot with her earlier in the year:

The Razorbills

The Lounge Punk Blues of Richard Ipaint

Saint Max and the Fanatics

The Black Diamond Express

To view all 38 images, visit the full album on Facebook by clicking on this link (you don't have to have a Facebook account to see them):


Alan McClure said...

Kim, we are proud to have you as the official festival photographer! Another blinding set, as always - if you need any band details for passing on images let us know. Glad you enjoyed yourself, and thanks as always.

kriss said...

As always, you've done a superb job

Kim Ayres said...

Alan - it feels like a good thing that I can both support the local music scene and festival, and have some fun with my camera at the same time :)

Kriss - thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun!
All of your photographic choices work well here. I really like the antique color given to the last photograph!

Kim Ayres said...

Allen - most of the Black Diamond Express guys were wearing waistcoast and had hats that gave them a 1930s/40s feel, so I thought it might be fun to give that faded photo feel for at least one of the photos of them :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Passion! That's what I see here, in your photos, and with the musicians. It's the best way to live, to work!

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - you're absolutely right :)

Pat said...

I think this works well. They aren't 'in your face' type colours - more hues.
Just going to follow the link.

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Pat :)

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