Well would you look at that!? Another year has passed us by, and while everything has changed, as I sit here in isolation with Covid-19, again – it also feels like nothing has changed. Yes, the gigs are now well and truly back but it feels like at what cost? I have spent much of the year struggling with motivation to photograph live music, the hoops required to jump through constantly getting smaller and higher, while the risk of sickness increases with the amount of people in the audience who have given up, happy to stick their heads in the sand and pretend the last few years never happened all the while spreading the sickness further. Good times.
This year was also a particularly injurious year for me as a live music photographer – from being savagely bitten (yes, bitten!!) by a punter at the Mayhem gig because he took exception to me being there, through to tripping on a barrier in the dark while entering a photo pit at Listen In Festival, slamming my head onto the concrete ground ensuring a pretty gnarly concussion that saw me not able to perform basic tasks for days afterwards.
But, looking back it wasn’t all bad. The time Fred Durst hung over the edge of the stage mid set, personally inviting me up to photograph Limp Bizkit from on stage in front of a sold out Spark Arena springs to mind. Or getting to finally photograph the legendary Kraftwerk after growing up listening to their albums from a very young age via my Mothers record collection, or getting to photograph both L7 and Bikini Kill (both bands I could only dream of being able to see perform as a teen, let alone being able to photograph). My Chemical Fucking Romance!!! Witnessing Fatboy Slim throw down an absolute banger of a set in my home town of Taupō was also an absolute highpoint, and getting the chance to photograph it too!? Get outta here!
So, here we have it. One image from every gig I’ve covered this year, from the very very wet Juicy Fest in January through to the exhausting but very special Save The b! Festival in December… check it out below!
So there it was, one image from each headline set I photographed in 2023. And now, I need to add a huge thank you for everyone who has contributed to and/or supported Ambient Light in 2023. It’s a pretty hackneyed phrase, but I do need to emphasise that without you all Ambient Light simply wouldn’t be where it is today.
So onwards, 2024. The year of the future. I already have a few gigs penciled into my calendar, so it looks like I can’t give up just yet, even if I want to. I already feel like I’ve been participating in this malarkey for a lifetime already (2024 will be my 25th anniversary of shooting concerts) so what’s another few years eh!? See you all on the barrier at a gig sometime soon. Ngā mihi nui Ambient Light whanau!
Editor in Chief / Photographer
If you enjoyed this content, please consider donating towards the running of Ambient Light, covering expenses and allowing us to expand the coverage you love by visiting our PressPatron page.