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SPOT Festival 2008

The story behind that picture 5: "Festival Life"

By: Thorsten Overgaard [danish text]

Pictures of groups of people are hardly ever inspiring, as they tend to show just a mass of people with no focus. Which is why you as a photographer usually go close with a wide-angle lens so as to capture some ‘main characters’ in the foreground, and at the same time show the masses behind.

But when I shot the SPOT Festival 2008 in Aarhus, Denmark, there was a fantastic atmosphere with the sunset on people listening to quiet lounge music in the outskirts of the festival. And then I took this picture that probably most classify as a landscape picture.

SPOT Festival is the yearly Scandinavian music festival for upcoming bands and talents that happen to happen just in my town. In 48 hours more than 120 bands will perform on 9 different venues in center of town, all backed up by a team of 1,100 volunteers and The Danish Rock Council. And in a few days it will be happening again when SPOT Festival 2009 starts off on May 21. The editor of Rolling Stones will be there, the author of “U2 by U2” and some other 700 international music professionals will be there to learn what is coming. Plus some thousands of guests who want to be the first to see the beginning of what might be the mainstream names in 2012.

Guests at the SPOT Festival

Back to the picture: In two days I was part of the internal SPOT Festival team of photographers, writers and videographers covering the festival. My pictures also go onto WireImage and Getty Images though. But we cover a great number of concerts, portraits of music industry people and – for my part – atmosphere. In particular I like to line up some of the trendsetters who attend an event like this.

Now, the sunset was in actual fact more a landscape photo than a photo of trendsetters. First later – and after getting used to the photo – I thought it caught the actual atmosphere really well. And as you can see some of those trendsetters kind of … steal the picture; they pop out of the picture. Which in my opinion is just fair, because an event like SPOT Festival wouldn’t be what is, if the trendsetters weren’t that well represented. That picture also takes a place in this years SPOT Festival catalog.

I feel it smells a bit of Woodstock, and that’s what I like. Which reminds me that the very first person I shot for SPOT Festival in 2007 was Jimi Hendrix’ sound engineer Eddie Kramer. So in a way, this makes a full circle. Doesn’t it?

- Thorsten Overgaard

    May 18, 2009




SPOT Festival 2008 in Denmark photographer with Leica Digilux 2.

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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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