Friday, May 22, 2015

Live: Coldplay

Chris Martin, Coldplay, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Aug. 2, 2005

I CAN CONFIDENTLY SAY THAT I WOULD RATHER HAVE STAYED AT HOME the night I took these pictures. I was working for the free national daily at the time, and part of my duties as onetime-photo-editor-turned-senior-reporter involved shooting the big acts when they came through town and when - for some odd reason - my boss didn't want to use whatever the wire services might provide.

A year earlier I'd set up my rented lens on a monopod halfway down the Air Canada Centre mezzanine to shoot Madonna. This night I found myself in a photographer's pit closer to the stage, but just at the edge of what my 80-200mm zoom could deliver. I can't remember how many songs I had to work with - a vague memory says two - but I know that years of anxiety while shooting film in these circumstances had been replaced with a breezy confidence that my Canon DSLR would provide something workable.

Chris Martin, Coldplay, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Aug. 2, 2005

It's easy to make fun of Coldplay as some anodyne music for the recently mortgaged - the Mumford & Sons of their day. And while Chris Martin's reputation for being a bit of a prat is likely an unfair legacy of his now-defunct marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow, he does favour the messianic rock star persona a bit more than I can stomach. That said "Clocks" is a lovely tune, and whenever I hear it I have fond memories of the first year in our apartment on MacDonell after my oldest daughter was born.

All of these shots are tight crops from larger images, and a testament to how much detail the paper's Canon could deliver, even at 1600 ISO. The metadata tells me that I was shooting at 1/100 of a second, and considering how sharp they are, I'll put money on a monopod being used that night. I might have been in the photographer's pit reluctantly, but at least my professional instincts were in order.

Chris Martin, Coldplay, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Aug. 2, 2005

If I'm making this sound like a wholly technical exercise, you're right. There's not a lot of passion to be got from megavenue concert shooting, even though there's some vague reward that another photographer shooting inches away from me might not have gotten the same halo effect on their shot that I have on the frame above. In a situation like this, you have to live for this sliver of competition.

Nearly ten years old and, if I'm not mistaken, the last concert photos I ever took. That might change soon, though.


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