Location: Glastonbury Festival
Photographer: Stuart Nicholls
I walked up to the security, with a quick flash of the press pass I was allowed back stage and was instantly greeted by about 30 other photographers all waiting to be allowed in to the photographers pit to photograph what we were told, would only be two songs. The head of security stood in front of the expectant snappers and said, ‘the pit’s only small, so I will only be allowing some of you in, only people with the right pass’. I realised this meant that only photographers whose passes had the more important magazine names on them. Suddenly the music stopped, the crowd roared and then there was a welcome voice acknowledging the crowd, the voice of Thom Yorke. The special guests were indeed Radiohead. My pass, which I later found out wasn’t even a photographers pass as these had ‘press photo’ on them not just ‘press’ didn’t have a worthy magazine name on it. I was on of the unlucky nine photographers that were denied access.
I wasn’t too saddened by this, as I hadn’t been expecting to photograph them anyhow. Standing there, I began talking to the security guard, ‘shame this isn’t it’ I said, ‘there’s only nine of us left, it’s only two songs’ Then the others chipped in, we could tell the security guard was wearing down, and he seemed to be quite a nice chap. Eventually he said, ‘ok, in you go’. He let us all in! We got in there while the first song was over half way through, I knew my 90mm lens would only be good to use if I could get close enough, so I quickly worked my way front and centre of the pit and the stage was just the right hight to stand with my camera resting on the stage. No other photographers were at the front of the stage as they had longer lenses and could stand further back in the pit, it left me room to shoot.
As the second song ended I felt kind of happy that I managed to shoot one roll of film and from what I could remember from the blur of what had just happened, I felt confident that I got at least something worth while. I was not so confident with the 90mm lens as It was lent to me and is probably about fifty years old, the protective coating on the lens has worn off, making the chances of flair very probable with the stage lighting.
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