Following the incredible reaction to the HMA17 Young Photographer Competition and our Best Photographer category, we are excited to extend our coverage of photographic projects by displaying prints from Nic Bezzina’s groundbreaking book ‘Release The Crowd’ at House of Vans London during HMA17.
The book, by Australian Photographer Nic Bezzina, examines the intriguing make-up of music festival crowds, spanning five countries, and nine unique festivals.
This project turns the camera away from the bands and captures the emotion of the crowd, that amorphous, vibrating creature with a thousand faces. Revealing both the intensity that comes with letting go, as well as the close communities inside which fans can truly be themselves.
The festivals captured include: Wacken (Germany) Download (UK) Sonisphere (UK) Bloodstock (UK) Hellfest (France) Primavera Music (Spain) Big Day Out (AU) Soundwave (AU).
You can preview and buy the book now at releasethecrowd.com.
We caught up with Nic to discuss the project.
How did the idea for Release The Crowd come about?
As a music photographer with over 10 years behind me, I had shot countless concerts before turning my lens to what was behind me the whole time. Through trial and error I discovered that the best shots were the ones that were uncompromised and really fly-on-the-wall. Those really captured a piece of life.
What interests you about festival crowds?
With all of my projects, I like to consider them from the future. How will people respond to them 30 years from now, or even longer? It becomes an anthropological study on a scene, on a culture, on humanity.
Did anything surprise you as you travelled the world to shoot for this project?
The book focuses on the heavier music festivals because that’s the kind of music I like listening to. I feel more connected to the people. There is a kinship and an utmost respect that I have for them, and I think it shows in a lot of these images. Also, heavy music allows people to be a bit crazier. It’s more active. You don’t really find some punk guy in a wheelchair crowd surfing at many other shows.
What is your favourite shot in the book?
Soundwave Festival. There can be so much power in a single glance. Here is a man, surrounded by his thrashing surging peers, dosed in fake blood during GWAR’s set at the Melbourne Soundwave Festival. He almost seems to be having an outer-body experience. A picture sometimes translates what words fail to describe.
Wacken Open Air. What is it about mud and festivals? They’re such an iconic mix. In the middle of the day a massive downpour drenched Wacken and while most photographers took shelter in the media tent, I saw it as an opportunity to photograph something different. I remember walking back to the tent absolutely covered in mud but very excited of what I had captured.
What’s the next project on your radar?
I’m currently working on a number of projects all in different stages of their life. From Cam Girls to Punks in Asia. Sneak peak at my Punks in Asia series here.
Win one of five copies of Release The Crowd
If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of the book, simply click here to join the HMA mailing list. We’ve got five to give away. Entry closes 5pm on 8 September 2017.