Art | Shoot for the Stars: Hard Working Class Heroes Photography Competition


The Hard Working Class Heroes festival not only advances the cause of music acts, the spotlight is also cast upon young photographers, writes Alison Lee.

This year State magazine has teamed up with HWCH and brought a more competitive twist to a their annual photography exhibition, inviting anyone to enter music-themed photos and choosing works by twenty-five artists to feature in the final show.

On the shortlist is James Goulden, who has previously worked as house photographer in the Olympia and touring with JJ72. Not only a competitor, but also the curator of the exhibition, his work has been displayed at HWCH for the last few years.

His chosen photo features Michael Stipe of REM. Goulden feels his shot stands out because “it’s one of the few photos in the exhibition showing a celebrity, most of the others are of new bands that are just starting out”.

Goulden acknowledges that the photography industry is changing with the rise of music downloads. “More people see your photographs… people are carrying around your album art on their ipods”.

However, he is aware that viewing photos on such a small screen dilutes the impact. “The big difference is photographs aren’t seen in the quality they should be… in 12-inch prints.”

Another entrant, Dolan, admits music photography isn’t the best way to get rich: “You can have your name splashed about everywhere if you want… but that doesn’t mean you’ll make money.” He makes a living from commercial photography, but going to gigs and taking pictures is his hobby.

This is ironic considering the importance of photography to the music industry. Dolan says that pictures and rock “go hand-in-hand”. The “myth” and imagery surrounding rock would never have come about but for photography. His picture, taken at a gig hosted by ChoiceCuts, shows soul-funk diva Marva Whitney.
Exhibitor Cait Fahy begins studying photography in IADT, in Dun Laoghaire this September. Her passion for music inspired her to start taking pictures.

“I got a camera two years ago and brought it to a Hot Chip gig… I started bringing it everywhere

Her entry is a portrait of band, Disconnect The Dots, chosen, she says, because she is “really interested in colours, and what colours represent”.

Cait hopes that exhibiting at the festival will be a step on the road to working with more bands in the future. “I really like a lot of the bands playing… so it would be cool to get exposure… it would be a really good opportunity.”

Amateur photographer “Martini” was motivated by her love of music and fashion to do a FAS course in photography last year. She hasn’t looked back since: “I’m going to build up a portfolio and maybe try for college next year”. She describes her entry as “bright and summery”.

“It’s about capturing the moment. I love when you get those moments that you might not realise
even happened. Then you look through your photos and think… wow.”

Despite the vast differences between the artists and their works, they’re all united by their passion
for music.

This exhibition runs at the Button Factory, Temple Bar, from the 12th-14th of September