The best Scottish music photo of 2012

Sincere thanks to everyone who entered The Pop Cop’s fifth annual competition to find the Best Scottish live music photograph of the past year.

Here are the ones judge Harry Benson picked out as his favourites, with the winner scooping a £150 voucher for Hi-Fi Tower as well as getting their photograph displayed on this website’s sidebar for 12 months.

Harry Benson: It was very hard to choose and I commend all of the entries. When I was in the RAF I wasn’t accepted into the RAF camera club, and I couldn’t get a job on a newspaper in Glasgow for years after the RAF, but all of that made me more determined to succeed. So don’t give up. Congratulations to all.

(Click on the individual photos to enlarge them)

Ruairidh Macdonald - Kassidy


Photographer: Ruairidh Macdonald (North Uist) (website/Flickr)
Subject: Kassidy
Location: Hebridean Celtic Festival, Stornoway; July 12, 2012

Ruairidh Macdonald: “I chose this photo as it shows the enthusiasm Kassidy bring to the stage. The band had the name of their new album, ‘One Man Army’, written on the frisbee. I’m not sure how many got thrown out but they were thrown fairly well up the back of a 5,000+ strong crowd. This was the second time I have worked at the Hebridean Celtic Festival as one of two festival photographers. It is the only live music event I have had the opportunity to photograph and build a portfolio at due to my location and lack of experience. I live on the small island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides which only really gives you the chance to take landscape images and the occasional wedding. I really hope that someday I can further this hobby into a possible career.” (Tech specs: Canon 5D Mark II camera with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens; Focal length 30mm; Shutter 1/800; Aperture f/2.8; ISO 3200; AV Mode)
Harry Benson: “The musician is caught throwing the disc to the audience which makes you stop and look at this photo. Had to be quick-thinking and quick-acting to get this shot.”

The Doors Alive - Glasgow O2 ABC


Photographer: Thomas Slack (South Queensferry) (website/Flickr)
Subject: The Doors Alive
Location: ABC1, Glasgow; April 7, 2012

Thomas Slack: “I had photographed The Doors Alive the night before at Edinburgh’s Picture House and I was invited to shoot The Doors tribute band the following night in Glasgow. I was in the pit for the first three tracks then I circled the venue shooting the crowd from various angles, high and low. I fought my way towards the front as ‘Jim’ and the band were really getting into the show. With a little insight from the night before, I was waiting to capture that special moment. When I reviewed my screen after firing off a few shots during his dance, I knew immediately I had a nice photograph. The reason I like this so much is that ‘Jim’ (aka Willie Scott) is airborne – he is in the middle of a jump/spin. You can see the shadow from his foot, yet his foot is still sharp/frozen, as is his face. If you look at his hair and arms, there’s a perfect amount of motion blur injecting that life needed in the shot. I also like the grain, giving it a more vintage feel. Lastly, there’s a sense of scale, with the silhouette in the foreground and the keys player (Cristian Cornejo) in the background.”
Harry Benson: “Excellent use of colour and getting to the centre of the action. Caught the mood of the performer and the performance.”

Fiona McKinlay - Drive By Argument


Photographer: Fiona McKinlay (Glasgow) (website/Flickr)
Subject: Drive-By Argument
Location: Flat 0/1, Glasgow; June 6, 2012
Fiona McKinlay: “DBA were a pretty important part of my life, and I have a lot of lasting memories and friendships that can be credited to them. I was torn whether to shoot the gig (for MILK’s 1st birthday) or just enjoy it, but this was probably the right choice. I’d probably have been trampled like a baby gazelle if I hadn’t had Mark (my camera, short for 5D Mark II) to keep me sensible. I say ‘sensible’ – I took this standing on the bar beside the MILK girls, Hannah and Aileen, who moments later were thrown atop the crowd in their mini dresses by a member of The LaFontaines. The face of the crowdsurfing star of the pic, Ross Coll, offers a pretty accurate review of the night.”
Harry Benson: “Sometimes the crowd is as interesting as the group performing and this scene shows the mood of the audience and the energy and excitement of the moment.”

Honourable mentions

Jade Esson - Paramore
Jade Esson (website/Flickr) – Paramore (Corn Exchange, Edinburgh; August 21, 2012)

One Direction
Peter Kaminski (website) – One Direction (Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow; January 12, 2012)

Jassy Earl - Gallows
Jassy Earl (Facebook/Flickr) – Gallows (King Tut’s, Glasgow; October 9, 2012)

The Doors Alive - Glasgow O2 ABC
Thomas Slack (website/Flickr) – The Doors Alive (ABC1, Glasgow; April 7, 2012)

Thanks to the competition sponsor, who supplied the prize for the winner:

About our judge: Glasgow-born Harry Benson has photographed every US president since Eisenhower as well as musicians such as The Beatles, Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones. He was awarded the CBE in 2009 for his services to photography. Now living in New York, Harry has had 40 gallery and museum solo exhibitions, while 16 books of his photographs have been published. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Check out the previous winning photographs from John Lewis (2008), Su Anderson (2009), Steve Perks (2010) and Bob Mather (2011).

6 Responses to “The best Scottish music photo of 2012”

  1. Bill Says:

    January 31st, 2013 at 13:59

    So no decent photos outside the central belt?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    January 31st, 2013 at 14:10

    ha, wasn’t the winner taken in Stornoway?! If that’s the central belt….

  3. Anonymous Says:

    January 31st, 2013 at 17:57

    Had to be quick-thinking and quick-acting to get this shot.”

    not really as the photogrpaher sadi they were throwing out afew and all apart from one central belt

  4. Euan Says:

    February 1st, 2013 at 11:23

    You’re really trying to find some mythical bias favouring the central belt in a photo competition? Maybe look at the density of gigs / submissions before making claims like that. Fairly sure where a shot was taken is t going to be a judging criteria list.

  5. Euan Says:

    February 1st, 2013 at 11:47

    Also, congrats to everyone above. Some cool shots in there!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    February 2nd, 2013 at 17:39

    Central belt or not, some outstanding work here.

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