Biography: Anthony Tran is a music photographer who primarily works at live shows for street press magazine Drum Media Perth and music website Fasterlouder. He has also produced work for jmag, Mess+Noise and Alternative Press magazines.
Anthony spent his weekends taking shots of bands he stumbled upon at concerts around Perth. The hobby started out as an outlet to wind down from studying engineering at university, but after being discovered by the editor of the FasterLouder Perth branch at a Sleepy Jackson in-store concert, he made the leap into the music media industry.
He shoots all artists — big or small — that tour through Perth and is a regular in the photographers' pit at West Australian festivals. If he's ever in your city, don't be surprised if you spot him at your nearest live music venue with camera in hand.
Anthony was recently awarded "Best Festival Photo" at the inaugural Fasterlouder Festival Awards in 2008 for his photo of Róisín Murphy. As a result he will be a touring photographer with V Festival in 2009.
Equipment:Canon EOS 5D DSLR, Canon EOS 20D DSLR, Canon EOS 350D DSLR (retired), Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens, Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, Canon 1.4x Teleconverter, Canon Speedlite 580EX II, Canon Speedlite 580EX, Crumpler "The Next Venue" camera bag.
Here is the photo that won Best Festival Photo at the FasterLouder Festival Awards in 2008. This photo was lucky enough to be taken from the right place at the right time. With the help of a low stage, Róisín Murphy reached out to her audience, shaking the hands of many adoring fans. It's moments like these that are the hardest to capture. There is a lot of luck needed to create a defining photo, but there's skill in turning that to your advantage. Just live in the moment, and take the picture. This is one of my all-time favourite shots and I never thought it would lead to anything else, let alone win an award.
This brother and sister duo from Sydney have captured my heart. The chemistry between themselves and the crowd provide such a warm atmosphere. When it's a duo or a band up on the stage, I try my hardest to capture moments between band members. But it means so much more when you have siblings up on the stage! Although these moments aren't rare, I love this photo simply because it shows they are both enjoying themselves and each other.
Exposure: Canon EOS 350D, 1/200 at f/5.6 on ISO 800
With the explosive energy of an eight-year old, Patience Hodgson of The Grates feeds off the attention the audience gives. She jumps down from the main stage to the stage barrier as the crowd revels in her attention. There is always a child-like quality with any performance by The Grates. It is this innocent fun which always reel the fans back to their shows.
Exposure: Canon EOS 5D, 1/10 at f/4 on ISO 500, flash fired
A big rock band needs a big stage, right? I love my Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 wide-angle lens for these kinds of photos. Getting a whole band in a shot can be tough without a wide lens, but I love this lens as it gives context to a subject. Sometimes it's not all about the bands — it's good to show where they stand too!
It's always astounding to see thousands of tents stretched across an open field. Each year there are 10,000 campers who make the pilgrimage down to Busselton — three hours south of Perth — and 10,000 non-camping punters who come down to experience one of the most chilled festivals of the summer. Just what everyone needs straight after New Year's Day!
As well as being known for her overtly sexual songs, Peaches live shows are a frantic and shocking affair. This particular show had all band members in "gimp" costumes with Peaches wearing some puffy pink ... well, words can't explain what she was wearing. One of the challenges was to capture her violent flailing on-stage during her performance, and I think I have captured that action in this photo.
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/160 at f/2.8 on ISO 400
During a performance by Peaches, there was a girl on someone's shoulders completely lost in the moment. It was absolutely breathtaking. The contorted hands and camera in the foreground really puts the shot in context. This is the kind of photo that ultimately represents the music festival experience.
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/160 at f/2.8 on ISO 1600
This photo embodies the image we like to think of when we hear about shock-rocker Marilyn Manson. The devilishly red background eerily produces a silhouette of the Antichrist Superstar holding a large knife-cum-microphone. This photo was taken right at the beginning of Manson's performance, giving us a taste of what's to come. I will never forget this concert — being scared to death throughout the photo pit. You would be too if you were only 12 inches away from his swinging knife-microphone!
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/250 at f/2.8 on ISO 800
It might be a coincidence that The Audreys feature a frontwoman who resembles the classy Audrey Hepburn, particularly in this photo. The Audreys are a blues and roots band from Adelaide who have ARIAs for both of the albums they have released so far. The shimmering Taasha Coates seems completely lost in the moment while on stage. I love the jazz cabaret feel of this photo.
While Snowman are known for their eclectic and kooky rock music, their live shows completely embody the essence of their songs. Here we have Andy Citawarman on the violin, playing frantically in the middle of the crowd. Citawarman's antics on-stage are always erratic and unpredictable. This was Snowman's final show before moving to the UK, so moments like these made the night very special.
My favourite Australian artist, Sarah Blasko, has such a haunting, hymnal voice. She's like a soothing spirit that calls out to you in the night. She was the first artist to truly appreciate my early photos. After selling some photos to her, I became determined to develop myself as a serious photographer. I hold this moment close to my heart and continue to thank her for giving me my first break.
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/125 at f/2.8 on ISO 1600
Darren Hanlon would have to be one of Australia's most talented songwriters. His folk-rock songs are just endearing and he loves having conversations with the audience while on stage. Whenever he comes to Western Australia, his favourite venue is Mojo's Bar in North Fremantle. The radiating mural on the wall provides an eye-catching backdrop for Hanlon, with the silhouettes of crowd members patiently listening to his charming story-telling.
Exposure: Canon EOS 350D, 1/250 at f/2 on ISO 1600
As you entered the venue, you would think you had stumbled into a sea of newspaper boats. But no, they turn out to be young adults sitting on the floor with hats made out of newspaper. Peter Combe is an Australian children's musician, mostly known for songs like "Juicy Juicy Green Grass" and "Newspaper Mama" during the 1980s/1990s. Combe continues to tour the country, putting on shows for all young adults to relive their childhoods. If that sounds like a preposterous idea, you only have to look at this photo of a young woman eagerly awaiting her hero among the sea of newspaper hats.
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/125 at f/2.8 on ISO 800
Another beautiful singer-songwriter, Clare Bowditch, and her band, The Feeding Set, played an intimate show with their sweet story-telling songs. This is one of my favourite photos since it really exhibits the warmth coming from Clare Bowditch and band. The foreground portrait and silhouette in the background strikingly contrast each other, all on a fiery background.
Exposure: Canon EOS 350D, 1/200 at f/2.8 on ISO 800
I think the most dominant feature of this photo is the sea of hands along the bottom. It was mesmerising seeing the waves of arms flowing around while people danced and enjoyed the show. Pendulum were putting on an explosive show too. They are currently one of the biggest drum-and-bass group acts around. They're local too!
Exposure: Canon EOS 5D, 1/200 at f/2.8 on ISO 1250
The annual One Night Stand festival is quite unique to Triple J. Every year, rural and regional towns enter a competition to hold a free concert with the best of Australian music, provided by Triple J. In 2008, Collie — three hours south of Perth — won the opportunity to have Cog, Pnau and Faker rock their town. This photo was taken during Pnau's set as giant balloons are thrown over the oval boundaries into the mosh pit.
This photo was taken during Sneaky Sound System's performance on the main stage. The band's performance was as bubbly as the audience. Band and crowd feed off each other's good vibrations to put on a great show for all. There's nothing like a crowd shot to take you right into the centre of the action.
Exposure: Canon EOS 400D, 1/800s at f/3.5 on ISO 400
One of the best shots you can take of an artist is when they are away from the microphone. We know they are there to sing, but there are other things a musician can do to put on a good show. When there is less focus on singing, you'll see band members enjoying each other's company or maybe an impossible guitar solo. In this case, we get a moment of crowd interaction with Gaz Coombes. When you're as big as Supergrass, all you need to do is wave and the audience will go wild.
My original caption for this photo: "If you ever go to the Big Day Out, you must expect to get saturated". Every year the Big Day Out music festival brings the best international and local acts around the country, but I'd definitely recommend going to one just for the atmosphere. The summer festivals do get really warm, whether it's the harsh sunshine or the sheer mass of body heat everyone generates. Though the bands are the main features of the Big Day Out, you really haven't been to a festival if you haven't been saturated yourself.
Exposure: Canon EOS 350D, 1/4000 at f/2.8 on ISO 200
When you have a twin sister duo, Tegan and Sara, one of the biggest challenges is differentiating between the two. It is very easy to take photos of either of them performing similarly on stage, but then you would have twice as many of the same shots! Here we have a rare moment of duality, with Tegan singing at the keyboards and Sara strumming away from the microphone. As twins, they should naturally complement each other and this photo provides a great representation of the concept.
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/160 at f/2.8 on ISO 200
Julian Hamilton, one half of Australian electronic duo The Presets, writhes away from his sampler stands to scream out to the crowd. It's always a massive party with The Presets, complete with blazing light show and catchy dance tunes.
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/125 at f/2.8 on ISO 800
It's not uncommon for a band to come back onto the stage together and say farewell to their loving audience. But, unknown to everyone at the time, this would be the last time Australian fans would see Toto perform ever again. One month after this show in April 2008, Toto played their final show in Seoul, Korea and broke up soon after in June. I dedicate this photo to the band's 30-year career spanning numerous albums, many band members and their hit song "Africa".
Exposure: Canon EOS 20D, 1/100 at f/3.5 on ISO 400