In the pit #24: Sarah Sidwell

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Sarah Sidwell

Sarah Sidwell is the latest of the Getintothis team of snappers to show us her work and talk about her photographic endeavours, as told to Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody.

Sarah Sidwell started shooting gigs for Getintothis in 2019 as well as writing the occasional review.

We like to think the Getintothis team are more than just a byline, we’re real people out and about at gigs and other events, so we thought we’d introduce you to Sarah in her own words.

She opens up in a very personal series of responses.

Getintothis: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography

Sarah: Hi, my name’s Sarah and I’m 24 years old. Most people know me as the small crazy girl with a huge camera and I’m also obsessed with dogs – show me pictures of your dogs XD.

Hmm, where do I begin? So many things have happened through my journey with photography.

I first got into photography when I was 14, when my dad found his very first film camera, an Olympus OM30 back in his younger photographer life. Sadly the camera didn’t work despite trying so hard to get it going; the shutter kept sticking after taking photos.

Because of this, I bought a Nikon Coolpix portable camera to take photos at horse races, my own horses and bits and bobs outside. I was pretty much teaching myself at photography at this point.

After about two years, my parents decided to buy me a Nikon DSLR D3200 for Christmas as they could see how much I was enjoying taking photos.

I still remember the first time using the DSLR; I went down to the stables on a crispy, cold morning and while my sister rode I took a few photos of her. At this point, I was still into horses and wanted to work with them, so photography wasn’t my main goal, it was just a hobby.

When I left high school I went on to study at a racing college in Doncaster but due to not being strong enough because of my height and weight I didn’t manage to get a job out of it. However, I still have my own horses.

Because I didn’t manage to get a job working in a racing yard, my mental health was suffering and I was struggling to leave the house. I decided to get back into photography to try and help get me back to fix my mental health.

I took a year off, just photographing little things – not much, because as some of you will know, trying to do things when you feel like shit and suicidal ain’t easy, but the break did me good and I went on to study Level 2 photography at the Liverpool Community College.

I’d always wanted to be a music photographer. And after seeing Mallory Knox for the third time in Manchester at the Rebellion 2018 it was then I was more determined to make it happen and make it my profession.

And although I am not a full time music photographer just yet, I am at a place now, where I am happy with how things are going and have achieved so much already in the year I have been shooting gigs. I’ve surrounded myself with so many supportive people who have ended up being such close mates and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Phew, that was long to get through but that is the story of how I got to where I am today.

Getintothis: What was the first gig you shot?

Sarah: Ermm the first gig I ever shot was Xam Volo at the Arts Club back when I was in college in 2017 for work experience, it was such a boss night and I will never forget it.

Xam Volo

Getintothis: So what’s in your camera bag when you’re shooting?

Sarah: I have the Nikon D5000 soon to be the Nikon D750 when I can afford it. Ha! Ha!, my Sigma 24mm, Nikon 35mm and 50mm, 2 glass prisms and my ESDDI flashlight.

Getintothis: Which is your favourite shot?

Sarah: My favourite photo oooh. There are many to choose from, but I love the photo I took of Bronnie when she supported The Bottom Line at Jimmys at the beginning of the year.

I really like this image because I love how the colours fit and blend together nicely. Anyone who knows my work will also know how much I love colours in my shots. I also like how the picture shows warmth and how much they love to perform. I just feel like it’s an all round powerful image.

Bronnie

Getintothis: Any terrible or fun shoots you’d like to share?

Sarah: Oh God, gladly I haven’t had any terrible shoots and hope I never do. But a fun shoot I did have was when I got to photograph Boston Manor at O2 Academy last year. It was just a dream come true with being a huge fan of them from the start and then being able to photograph them, I was actually pretty shocked that I was the only photographer in the pit but I wasn’t complaining because I had more room for myself. Plus, not gonna lie I was nodding my head and singling along while taking photos. Ha! Ha!

Getintothis: What’s your favourite bit of kit?

Sarah: Favourite bit of kit has to be my sigma 24mm lens. It’s just a really nice lens to use because it adds a nice soft surface on the image; like its a piece of artwork. The only bad thing about it is that its hard to focus when the lighting is really bad but it still does its job.

Getintothis: Any particularly difficult musicians?

Sarah: Nope, haven’t had my fair share of difficult musicians yet and I’m praying I don’t get any anytime soon.

Getintothis: Who are your favourite Liverpool bands to shoot?

Sarah: That’s a very difficult question as I’ve worked with so many fun and awesome bands. But I feel obliged to say From Inside because I was lucky enough to have spent 3 days with them on tour in Scotland. They give off so much energy and enjoyment when on stage and just being up straight lovely, crazy, fun lads to be around.

Should 100% go check them out!

Getintothis: Where’s your favourite place to shoot?

Sarah: My favourite place to shoot has to be the Manchester Academy because the lighting is just incredible, a dream for photographers.

The spacing in the pit is really good as well, lots of room and not bumping into or getting in other photographers shots. If any photographers get the chance to shoot there I highly recommend you guys take it, you won’t regret it.

Getintothis: What one tip would you give anyone starting out?

Sarah: This is a very good question.

The one tip I would give anyone is never to give up on your dream / goal. If it’s something you want to do, then make it happen – you will just have to work very hard but remember to have fun when doing it. Most importantly don’t compare yourself to others because everyone sees things differently at the end of the day.

Getintothis: Whats the worst advice you’ve been given?

Sarah: Ermm. If you class being told your photos are shite and that you should quit, as advice, then yeah that’s the worst advice I’ve been given.

Safe to say I told these people to fuck off and do one, because taking photos makes me happy and I don’t care what other people think.

Read our other In The Pit features

Getintothis: Any favourite photographers?

Sarah: Another great question, there are too many photographers out there whom I love, but there’s one who inspired me the most into wanting to be a music photographer. That is Adam Elmakias.

You may have heard or seen his name around somewhere as he’s worked with a lot of famous bands and is the official photographer for A Day To Remember.

His work is incredible and he really puts everything into his shots, going in all sorts of weird positions. Seeing how he works and that he is a full time touring photographer inspired me to be a music photographer and maybe, even, one day become a touring photographer.

Getintothis: What would be your ideal gig to shoot?

Sarah: Man, these questions are on fire Ha! Ha!

My ideal gig to shoot would have to be the almighty Slipknot or Parkway Drive. They would just be a dream to shoot as I’m a massive fan.

It makes my day for months when I get to photograph my favourite bands. So, if I got to shoot them I’d be happy all year. But that’s just gigs. If I could I’d love to shoot Download or Slamdunk.

Sarah’s social accounts:

https://www.instagram.com/shots_by_sarah_/

https://www.facebook.com/shotsbysarah/

https://twitter.com/shotsbysarah

Images by Getintothis’ Sarah Sidwell

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