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… or how musicians inspire the hell out of me.  

5

 

What was the last live gig you went to? How do you think the artist felt before getting on stage? What was going through their minds? Watching musicians, really seeing them, sparks something in me – massive admiration and awe so much of the time. Getting up on a stage in front of a bunch of people, to play music that you’ve made, has to be one of the most vulnerable things someone could do. Talk about putting it out there.

A little over ten years ago I started seeing this musician guy, and so I’ve had a front row seat to what goes on behind the scenes ever since. Seeing him work at home and on stage – and through that really seeing him and other musicians at work, I’ve learned so much about creativity, confidence and my own photography.

#1 Preparation

The gig starts at 9pm, load in at 6. 

When I started taking photos first, I sort of thought I had to have this magic power or sixth sense that told me what my settings should be. I would start shooting and then beat myself up because my settings weren’t right. But I was in it now and I didn’t have time to mess around so I’d get stressed and annoyed and frustrated.

Because I wasn’t showing up three hours before the gig to do a soundcheck.

Lesson learned > Get there early, check out the light, have a good look around, make plans, take test shots. Zen!

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#2 Perfectionism

This one is as much from my super wise and very lovely mama, one of her faves is “best can do no more”, ie, if you’ve done your level best, your absolute maximum, then that’s it. Be happy and let it go. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help anyone. It stresses you out, it robs the world of your talents and it makes you sad.

The reason so many musicians don’t play the old stuff is because it’s just not them anymore. At the time they were happy to let it go, but things change.
How much better is it to have the old stuff, and the new stuff to complain about, rather than nothing at all?

Lesson learned > Do your best and then let it go.

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#3 Craft

The demo is recorded, we’re spending the next few weeks getting the mix right. 

Recording the music / taking the photo (recording the light) is only the middle of the process. The image is nothing without taking the time and the care to mix it properly, to finesse it, to mould it into what it has the potential to be.

Lesson learned > Take the time to find the beauty and bring it out in your work.

#4 Practice

That guy I mentioned earlier is now my husband, and for the first couple of years I had this sense that I came second only to his music. Now, the idea of him not playing music unnerves me. He’s got music in his bones and it has to be made. I’m in genuine awe over how much he practices. He’s never been in less than three bands at once in all the time I’ve known him and the hours he puts in sometimes is epic. And he’s only one of many, many musicians who are going further and further every day in their work – not for the money or the glory, but because they have to.
It has to be done. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than mediocre and not nearly as meaningful.

Lesson learned > It doesn’t happen overnight. Getting it right takes years.

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#5 Let everyone else enjoy it.

All art, all creative endeavour, is subjective. Not everyone is going to love it, but that’s ok. Sharing your work is what gives it meaning. If a tree falls in a lonely forest…? Without an audience, whether critical or not, you don’t push yourself to grow. Even if that audience is tiny, even if there’s just one person at the show, do it, keep pushing.

Lesson learned > Sharing your work is what makes it live and grow.

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Although I’m writing this about my photography, I feel like it’s applicable to any creative work we undertake. You feel like you can’t really do it, so you don’t. Then you push yourself to try it and you do whatever it is that’s in you to do, but then you don’t know if you’re ready to let the world in on it. Take a lesson and take heart from the creatives around you, they’re in it and doing it every day.

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Firechild Photography | Family Photography Dublin | 5 Unexpected Lessons About Photography from Music