Proving our photographers have all kinds of backgrounds, Getintothis‘ Martin Waters sits down with our resident legal expert Peter Goodbody to find out why you can’t beat a good man bag.
Getintothis: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography.
Peter: I’m a lawyer by day (and often by night) but I like the creative contrast I get from photography – it’s completely different from the day job. I had film cameras on and off since I was about 10 years old, but digital really kicked it off and something clicked (Ha!) and I became hooked. I’m interested in documenting Liverpool and the things that happen here. Liverpool puts on brilliant events – spiders, giants, ships – I’ll shoot them all.
Getintothis: What was the first gig you shot?
Peter: A while ago I found some old film shots of Mike Monroe (Hanoi Rocks) playing a gig with Lords of the New Church at some venue in London – I’ve no idea now where it was save that it wasn’t exactly the West End. Technically, it may not even have been in London. I just know I was living in Catford at the time. I don’t even remember having a camera with me. But the shots prove it happened. That was probably 1985. More recently, I think Africa Oye got me back into the gig shooting groove. I love that event – it’s one of the best things Liverpool does.
Getintothis: So, what’s in your camera bag when you’re shooting?
Peter: For indoor gigs – Canon 6D, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8 and a 17-40mm. That copes well with most venues and the 6D locks on focus pretty quickly in low light. For a bigger stage, like Oye or LIMF, I’ll be using a 70-200mm which gives me lots of options for reasonably wide shots and a decent zoom for details. Otherwise, when I’m walking around town I’ll most likely have a Fuji X-something in my pocket for the quick grab shots. Or I’ll use my phone – a much underrated piece of kit.
Getintothis: Which is your favourite shot?
Peter: Probably the one of Victor Deme from Benin at Oye 2010. He played a pretty low-key set, but it was arresting and the crowd seemed to get into his groove. It was classy and I just thought this moment he was talking to me – there was eye contact and it was cool.
Getintothis: Any terrible or fun shots you’d like to share?
Peter: No artist should ever admit to mistakes. Everything you put out there is as intended to be seen, or else why would you do that? My photographic life is there for all to see on Flickr and scattered elsewhere around the web. Choose your own terrible picture.
Getintothis: So what’s your favourite bit of kit?
Peter: My Man Bag. It has loads of pockets for a camera, chargers, leads, iPad, work stuff and other assorted ephemera. One of my more successful South East Asian eBay purchases. Oh, you meant camera gear. The 85mm. It’s amazing. Cheap(ish). Super sharp. It just does the job. The 70-200mm f/2.8 is pretty cool too.
Getintothis: Any particularly difficult musicians?
Peter: Definitely Mookoomba at Africa Oye a couple of years ago. Brilliant band, but they moved so fast, jumping and bouncing all the time. Getting sharp shots of them was a real challenge. I’d have had no chance in low light. Above mentioned 70-200mm did the job just fine.
Getintothis: Favourite Liverpool Bands to Shoot?
Peter: Deaf School – such good fun.
Getintothis: Where’s your favourite place to shoot?
Peter: Sefton Park. LIMF and Oye are some of the best events Liverpool does. It’s always a delight to see people out enjoying the music and the atmosphere and I love taking photos of the crowds as well as the bands. Getting a series of shots that tells the story of the weekend is what I’m after and what I love doing.
Getintothis: What one tip would you give anyone starting out?
Peter: Always have a camera with you. Always. Shoot what you see and stand in front of interesting things. Try different angles – don’t think the one shot will do.
Getintothis: Best advice you’ve been given?
Peter: Less of the fish-eye, dude.
Getintothis: What’s the worst advice you’ve been given?
Peter: I’m not sure I’ve ever been given really shit advice. Maybe that’s because I don’t listen very well. There was the guy in a Travelodge in Swansea one evening who said I should buy a Red Camera – (no, not a red camera) because they were “really expensive”. He was a twat. And drunk.
Getintothis: Any favourite photographers?
Peter: Pennie Smith. Anton Corbijn. They shot the bands I loved. Pennie Smith shot the cover of London Calling – that album was my Christmas present when I was about 16. My uncle decided it was a good idea to play all four sides to the assembled family at top volume after lunch instead of the usual carol LP he usually wheeled out. I was trying to hide behind the sofa at the embarrassment of it all. My aunt just sighed and another uncle pressed a fiver in my hand later on, but with the condition I didn’t spend it on any more crap like that.
Getintothis: What would be your ideal gig to shoot?
Peter: A good one. Anyone. So long as they put in a decent performance and entertain me, then I’m happy. Honestly, I don’t mind. There were great gigs on the Sefton Park Band Stand this summer. The Kazimier has atmosphere, the big stages are great and get big names. It’s all good. Oh, OK. Kylie would be quite cool.