Live music lighting design: Sarah Landau

Added on by Leah Robertson.

Having trawled through loads of live music images recently in putting this site together, I've been thinking a bit about live music lighting designers and how they impact my work - and also about how I don't know very many.

I know, of course, which local venues I enjoy shooting in (and those I dread) and the general lighting conditions I prefer, but I can't list favourite designers in the same way that, say, cinematographers can list gaffers (metaphorical complications aside). You'd think a stronger relationship would exist. I'd like it to.

I noticed a series of articles in Frame yesterday where:

"lighting designer Sarah Landau, LED maestro Tom Jenkinson (aka Squarepusher) and musician Amon Tobin talk about how light projections can turn music into a physical entity – or in Tom Jenkinson’s words, how ‘music can evoke not only space, but also movement through space.’"

It's worth a read. Sarah Landau stood out to me because I had not heard of her, but recognised her work. In particular, the work she did with M83 in creating the lighting for their US/Europe/Aus tour in 2011-12 - which I had the pleasure of shooting under, briefly, at the Melbourne leg of the 2012 Laneway Festival.

Though festival parameters mean that by the headliner you'll be shooting three songs, fast and exhausted, I remember this set and how impressed I was by the movement, intersecting spotlights and subtle background twinkles. I don't think I got the performance shot I wanted, but I did take one of my favourite ever crowd pictures using the light spill on the audience (thanks, Sarah.) I hope her light design for Purity Ring tours with the band to Australia this month.

For the record, I like Sydney photographer Elize Strydom's take on the M83 show - here.

My pics below: