Back at the end of April, I shot the images for a festival on my home turf – Leeds Swing Revolution. This was probably the most pressure I’ve felt under while working (maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to do a blog post); it’s in my home city, it was one of my first ever dance festivals and there were 550 people there. Yup – 550. One photographer, 550 people. I knew from the start I’d not be able to get everyone like I usually try to.
I also got the chance to work alongside my friend Milda, who made some beautiful video content over the weekend. Go look!
With the nerves, I was equally excited. I’ve wanted to shoot Swing Rev since I decided to take dance photography seriously. It’s one of the largest events in the North and it’s a great opportunity for me to really showcase my work. I was also super-excited to get the chance to photograph and event featuring Naomi and her Handsome Devils. They’re one of the most famous modern day swing bands for dancers, and it was great to tick that name off my mental list.
My heart does always sink a little when there’s a room with patchy or coloured light – and this one was hot on both of those things. I had to resort to more black and white than I like to, but I kind of feel like it worked on this occasion.
It was also my first time navigating two rooms. I always find it easier to photograph collegiate shag, as collegiate shag is my preferred dance – so it was a real challenge to ensure that I was fair with my time between the two. I was very thankful for my decision to wear a watch, I think it would have been really easy for me to miss some important stuff in the main room, had I not been aware of my time keeping at all times!
On a personal note – there was an unexpected visit from this amazing lady, Nancy Hitzig. This woman inspires me so much, not only as a dancer, but as a general human too. She has a great way of seeing the world, and a way of really empowering those around her. This blog also reminds me that I need to finish off editing images from our shoot during Sunday daytime.
There were some really boss jam circles. I always have to have a mad dash for a wide-angle lens when this happens. The adrenaline is real.
One thing that really got me about this camp is how smoothly everything went. There never seemed to be a crisis or anything not quite running to plan. It was clockwork and there was so information readily available. That’s a real godsend when shooting an event. I love to just be able to pick up a timetable and a map and know what’s going on. 10/10 organisation.
It was also fantastic to see some of my good, personal friends getting the chance to showcase their talent and teach at the festival. It’s really lovely to see people I care about getting the recognition they deserve for their hard work.
Thanks for a really amazing weekend, Swing Revolution. You were all a pleasure to work with. I loved it.