Andrew Worcestershire is not a professional concert photographer, at least not in the usual sense. Instead of standing out of the way and taking commissioned pictures with a fancy camera, Worcestershire prefers to be in the middle of the crowd with an everyday, brightly backlit, consumer digital camera, capturing the show organically, as it was intended. It is this method that makes his collection, Concert Photo; Photo Concert, so stunning.
I usually prefer to review one piece of work at a time, so as to fully appreciate every succulent subtlety it has to offer. However, Worcestershire’s collection is so compelling woven together that I feel we would be doing it a disservice to merely look at one piece. While I can’t, of course, present every picture in the collection (as there are thousands), I have taken a sampling of several that I believe best represent the range and scope of this incredible collection. Mr. Worcestershire has graciously partnered with Reviews of the Month and provided us with his thoughts and commentary on each of the selected pictures, offering us an insight into the mind of the man behind the work. Enjoy.
“A sea of people, waving along with the turbulent musical performance and deep indigo visuals combine to evoke the same emotions brought on by the ocean’s vast depths. Emotions that threatened to overwhelm me as I worked. Several times others in the crowd requested that I stop taking pictures, as I believe they could see how profoundly it was affecting me. But I persisted, and got the shot that made it all worthwhile.”
“This was taken at the end of a concert. There are seventy-four more pictures in the collection from this event, but I believe this one stands out the most. A haunting piece that highlights the fundamental emptiness facing everything we do. As soon as I snapped this picture, a man approached me and arrogantly said, ‘I was sitting two rows behind you, and I have to say, you are the most irritating person ever. Were you actually uploading pictures to Facebook in the middle of a concert? What is your deal, man?’ I was taken aback. My deal, sir, is passion. Passion for my craft.”
“The composition of this photograph speaks volumes about the daunting issues of capitalism and the modern world, represented in a minimalist style. At one point in taking these shots, I found myself surrounded by angry philistines demanding that I, quote, ‘quit taking pictures and fucking Skyping during the show’ because, and again I quote, ‘we’re all trying to enjoy the show here too, and the flash on that thing is getting really irritating for everyone around you.’ I merely sighed at their thick-headed attitudes and continued my work. Of all the many critics of Art, the ignorant are the worst.“
“This shot represents man’s inhumanity to man, as shown through a dramatic stage performance in no less than the ruins of the Roman Coliseum. Or it is a picture of nighttime. It’s kind of hard to tell. I think those are stage lights. Or the moon. I’m not really sure.”
What sets this artist apart is that where others are content to go to a concert and merely “listen to the music” and “enjoy the moment,” Worcestershire hardly notices the concert at all. Instead, he stands there, camera up, flash nearly always on, and he takes pictures. He does this no matter what obstacle might appear- be it the disruptive throes of the crowd, or someone shoving him around and saying, “dude, seriously, put down the camera and just enjoy the show. The backlight from that thing is goddamn blinding. Plus, wouldn’t you rather just have a great memory than some blurry, dark pictures? And get off your cell phone, you’re being kind of an asshole!”
But Andrew Worcestershire does not listen to the nay-sayers. This is what truly marks him as a great artist. Despite so much criticism, he carries on. Regardless of all the people and shows he disrupts, he continues to attend concerts, push through the confines of self-awareness, and take these absolutely breathtaking pictures:
“Beauty of the Stage”
And I think we can all agree that his efforts are worthwhile.