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The Essence of a Band is Friendship

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm L series USM lens @ 24mm. Exposure Details: 1/200 second @ f6.3 ISO 100.

Saida is an exciting up-and-coming young Australian band from Sale in Gippsland, Victoria. I spent some time with 4 of the bands 5 members a few days ago while celebrating Christmas at my sister Gabrielle’s home in Sale.

There are many ways to photograph bands. Live gigs allow you to portray the emotional power of their music and performance. An environmental portrait provides a way into the personality and character of an individual band member. On this occasion we arranged to make the short drive to the seaside town of Seaspray for some fun, candid imagery. This approach allows for a collaborative approach with the band and, as the images in this post show, often produces light-hearted and life-affirming results.

The top image is a great example of collaboration. Lead singer Leah suggested I photograph the group from behind. I was immediately interested as one of my all time favorite bands, The Band, was photographed from behind by Elliot Landy for the August 1968 Rolling Stone magazine front cover. While my image isn’t at all like Landy’s classic, it was the group’s enthusiasm and my love for that quintessential North American music that fired my imagination. But what really blew me away was that no sooner had the guys gone out into the water that they linked arms and embraced each other. I immediately sensed the camaraderie these guys have for each other. The moment expressed both tenderness and solidarity and showed their determination to face whatever the future holds together. We are all made stronger when united in a common cause. It was an inspiring moment that I hope I have conveyed.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens @ 24mm. Exposure Details: 1/30 second @ f16 ISO 400.

I understand the name Saida is one of those all encompassing words that translates from Swahili as “peace, love and respect”. One of the band’s guitarists and didgeridoo (an indigenous Australian instrument) player, Josh Cashman, has South African ancestry, which explains the band’s exotic name. Other members of the band are Leah Radatti on lead vocals, Daniel Luhrs on guitar, Jon Doolan on drums and Brendan Doolan (absent) on bass.

The band recently returned from Sydney where they reached the  top five in the Sony Music Australia my school act competition. The winning band received a $50,000 Sony record deal. Jon’s older brother, Brendon, having left school a few back was ineligible for the competition, which is a shame as a bass guitar would have added to the depth of the band’s performance and, of course, underpinned the songs with a solid beat. Nevertheless, the remaining members embraced the challenge and performed well which, considering they’re only 14-15 years of age, is particularly encouraging.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens @ 32mm. Exposure Details: 1/60 second f 11 @ ISO 400.

After a couple of very successful pre-Christmas days busking, guitarist Daniel has been busy pursuing his latest mission, learning to play the didgeridoo. Two guitarists in the same band who also play the didgeridoo, a soulful singer-songwriter, plenty of drive to improve and live performances full of the energy of youth are all great signs for the future for this innovative, young Aussie band.

Initial image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 2. Adobe Photoshop CS4 was then employed for local tonal corrections and to render the bottom two pics as warm toned black-and-white images.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


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