This begins with a very unexpected message from a fellow photographer. Offering me a ticket to join him at All Points East Festival. With instant joy, I said yes! I couldn’t skip such an opportunity where I could watch The Strokes, Jack White, Courtney Barnet & Johnny Marr live, all in one sitting!
This is the first time I’ve taken a dedicated camera to a festival. As much as I wanted to use the Nikon F5 with the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8 AF-G, or the Leica M6 TTL with the Voigtländer 35mm f/1.4 NOKTON Classic S.C., there was only one clear option that would give me the quality, compactness, and the film shooting bragging rights. As you already guessed, it’s Kendall Jenner’s favourite combo, the Contax T2 with Kodak Portra 400.
One of the acts I saw that evening was Pulp legend, Jarvis Cocker. Now I will admit, I don’t listen to Jarvis or Pulp, I’m more into Blur, Oasis, and Coldplay but I couldn’t miss out on watching this British legend after what he did at the 1996 Brit Awards.
It starts off with a cloud of smoke filling the stage and the pink illumination of the word “EVOLVE” written with a spray-painted texture on a screen. His band members nonchalantly walk into their positions and start off what was to be a five-minute soundscape. A constant build-up then – SUDDEN silence.
A phased triadic drone kicks in – there he stood as the clouds evaporated. Holding a power stance in his fitted grey suit. His fans roared and praised with undying love and respect for him to a level I have never seen before. Thus, the show commences!
I’m casually snapping away with my T2, minding my own business, enjoying what I was hearing until about 10-15 mins into the set, we all hear Cocker say, “F*** This” whilst he jumps off the stage and throws the mic back on to the stage for a beautiful artist to fan moment to be crowd surfed! I’m told it’s the first time he has ever done that!
People charged at him like a zombie hoard just to get a touch of Jarvis. To me, it was frighteningly surreal. All of these people wanted to be so connected with the man of the moment, they willingly crashed and crushed into each other to be a part of something, that’s madness. In a split second, I was ready! a fresh roll of Portra was just loaded, and for once the Contax T2 lens didn’t creep back into the body. Set it to F/4, infinity focus and +2 exposure compensation, and off I went to witness an idol becoming a symbol.
Personally, I wasn’t expecting much from the images. Portra isn’t that good when underexposed. From my personal experience, it becomes blotchy, flat/washed out, dotted greens in the shadows and oranges/bronze-like colours in the mids and highlights – however, it’s exactly what I needed.
I don’t think these images would’ve worked as well in daylight, with good proper exposure or BETTER glass. I imagine it will lose its grit for being too perfect. It’s the imperfections that make these images and in this case the idea the Brit Pop look and feel so desirable.
At least, that’s my take. What do you think?
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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