It's a strange, unsettling and scary time right now, for individuals as well as many businesses across the UK. As a hub for music, art, culture, creativity, and things that go bump in the night, we're missing normality and everything that 'mass gatherings' bring us as much as everyone else. So, we want to use this time for good, for positivity, and for support - to share the irrepressible creative spirit still bursting out of Glasgow, despite it all, because of it all.
In this interview, SWG3 in-house photographer and filmmaker Michael Hunter - a very talented man - talks to us about what first drew him to photography, his best experiences at the venue, and tips for any photographers just starting out.
How did you get into photography?
It was when I was at Dundee School of Art studying Time-Based Art & Digital Film. I had a few modules where I used images to complete the brief and found myself really enjoying capturing images. People seemed to like the photos in these projects a lot, so I decided I'd found something I could maybe take a lot further and potentially be good at.
What is it about the medium that most appeals to you?
I think the best thing about photography is that you're capturing a moment that probably will not not happen again, especially when it comes to photos of the general public. You capture the raw feeling from the live show of their favourite band at the front of the barrier or in the mosh pits. And in portraiture, you can capture a lot of real emotion that wouldn’t be displayed often to the public.
How did you get into live music and club photography?
I only got into this about a year and a half ago, maybe? I was working for an agency that sent me to SWG3 as the person to make the content for social media, and through that tenure I managed to get better and better at it - and managed to be asked to stay working for SWG3 once the agency’s contract was over. I'd never done anything like this before then, and it took me about a year to get to grips with it properly. I had always said no to clubs in the past, because taking photos of people posing isn’t for me, but at SWG3 they don’t ask for these types of photos and prefer their photos to be candid, capturing real moments, which is much more in line with how I like to shoot.
What's your favourite gig or club night you've worked on here?
Favourite gig is a hard one, as there's been a lot, but I would say Dean Lewis in the Galvanizers was a special one for me. It was the first gig I was asked to work after my mum passed away, and I'd never actually heard of him before, but his voice and music hit me really hard. Everything he was saying I was feeling, and I think it was a turning point for me. At that gig I said to myself I wanted to be doing this all the time and try to be the best I can for my mum. If you haven’t listened to Dean Lewis, you should - he’s unreal.
Which event are you most looking forward to capturing next?
I'm unsure what will be happening any more due to these uncertain times, but I was most excited to cover the Yardworks Festival. It was an amazing time last year and one of the best events in the SWG3 calendar for the whole family. In terms of gigs - Pixies, Two Door Cinema Club, Bicep and AVA Glasgow with Mall Grab & DJ Seinfeld will hopefully still be coming!
What's been your career highlight so far?
Probably getting to meet Armin Van Buuren and Skream when they played here. I grew up listening to them all the time on Radio 1 and going to their club nights, so being able to take photos and videos of these kind of artists blows my mind everyday.
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in photography?
I'm not sure about this one as I'm not very good at giving advice... I would say, just keep working really hard. It took me three years after Art School to get work in a creative field, I had to work in bars and hotels and use any spare time I had to take photos and get better. Invest in yourself. I spent just about all the money I earned for two years on kit that was able to take me further. Kit isn’t everything though; I know plenty of people who spend loads of money on the best kit but can’t edit a photo to save their life, so on that note - also learn Photoshop or Lightroom inside out. I use Lightroom to edit all my photos.
As the world closes in, we're reaching out: if you're a local DJ, musician, artist or business looking to keep in touch, share news, or let us know of live performances or classes you're offering, please keep in touch and we'll do our best to help share the word. Email [email protected] or message us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
A few of Michael's personal highlights
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