• /the-shot-blog/david-corio-shot-rock-photographer-his-image-chrissie-hynde
    Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Nashville Rooms, London © David Corio

    By David Corio

    The Nashville Room was a big grotty venue on the corner of Cromwell Road and North End Row in West Kensington. It was a music mecca in the 1970s where many bands including the Sex Pistols, The Police, U2 and Joy Division got some of their first shows. This was an early gig for The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde was already making a name for herself as she was close to several hip music journalists. I hadn’t been commissioned but was curious about the band as they were generating so much buzz. As with many of the shows here it was packed and the heat was almost unbearable. It was best to arrive early, particularly on a cold night as it could take ages for the camera lenses to warm up and lose their condensation. There is nothing more frustrating than being at a show and only being able to get soft focus photos.

    As usual the small stage lights weren't very bright so I uprated my Tri-X film to 1600ASA to avoid camera shake and blur. It was virtually impossible to squeeze to the front of the tiny stage and with so many heads in the way the only alternative was to climb onto a table and balance on it to get a better vantage point. It gave me a clear view before being pushed off after about ten minutes but I managed to shoot half a roll of film - quite a luxury.

    By this stage the music scene was being labeled 'post punk' and it was easier to take photos during this time than it was during punk's heyday a year or so earlier when the audience would be pogo dancing and spitting at the stage. Invariably being at the front photographers would come out the worse for wear. That is part of the punk scene I don't miss at all!

    See David Corio's other images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website.

  • /the-shot-blog/david-corio-shot-rock-roll-photographer-his-image-salt-n-pepa
    Salt-N-Pepa, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1994

    By David Corio

    The policy for live shows at most large venues since the 1980s allows photographers with press passes to shoot the first three songs at the front of the stage or in the aisles and then must leave the venue. This is primarily as the record companies and publicists don't want their artists to be captured looking sweaty and with their hair out of place. Of course it also takes away from the real atmosphere of a concert as you can guarantee it will be the fourth song when the artist gets into their groove.

    When shooting concerts with swirling, flashing lights and, particularly with black musicians, getting the best from film is very important. In order to get the best exposure, I always have the camera exposure setting on manual over-ride. I'll normally uprate the film to 800 or 1600 ASA and with black and white film you can always compensate in the darkroom and the added graininess gives a more contrasty gritty image that I prefer as well.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson's term "The Decisive Moment" is one that most photographers will be familiar with. It is a great feeling when you know you have got the picture after pressing the shutter. Then of course you hope that it is in focus and that the exposure is correct! That was the case with this image. It was difficult to get Salt, Pepa and DJ Spinderella all in one frame as Spinderella was normally behind the decks. Fortunately, during the third number she came to the front and the trio did some  choreographed moves with their male dancers. It meant being patient and hoping to get all of their heads visible and, despite a lot of dry ice, I knew that I had my shot once I pressed the shutter.

    See David Corio's other images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website.