On stage, you become ‘someone else’… it’s important for me to find out who that person is, then try to capture it.
Following the launch of ‘Back Light’ at Start The Bus this month, we talk with Swiss photographer Laure Noverraz [no-ver-ah] about her exciting new exhibition. Since relocating from the quite picturesque Lausanne to a wintery, graffiti-laden Bristol at the end of last year, Laure has spent most of her time soaking up our vibrant live music scene, setting her in good stead to display a new smattering of black and whites from both sides of the channel — featuring the likes of Biffy Clyro, Menace Beach, Maybeshewill, Disagony and our own Lionface.
So tell us what the idea is behind your new exhibition? Why ‘Back Light’?
I wanted to create a collection of images that were nothing but raw emotion. This is what you feel when you go and see a gig: a multitude of emotions. You can also end up with a tinnitus, but thankfully my camera doesn’t record all the decibels it has endured. I started the exhibition this month wanting to make large images — they’re 50x70cm each — that are way more to look at than the boring pictures you see on your phone or laptop screen. You’re confronted with the photo, you cannot skip it with a ‘click’. You can also buy them and, trust me, it’s very impressive to have an image of this size in your living room. ‘Back Light’ is the name of the exhibition as I like strong titles, and the whole exhibition is centred around the idea that a back light underlines the features of the body and gestures, not the pimple on a face!
What draws you to live music photography?
Music is my reason to live, honestly. I can’t go a single day without listening to new bands and you’ll always see me with headphones if you cross my path in the street. Having studied photography, this choice was absolutely natural: I wanted to capture the ‘essence’ of the moment, like street photographers did in the 50’s.
Your live shots do feel a lot more about capturing an atmosphere compared to other, more functional, live photography… that’s deliberate then?
Absolutely. I have to stand out from the crowd that call themselves photographers simply because they own a camera. It’s also easier for bands to notice you if you have a different way of taking pictures.
Has moving to Bristol affected your style or interests in terms of photography?
Bristol is my new playground, so yes. I felt exhausted by the narrow-minded people in Switzerland, so I came here very naïve and optimistic about what’s going on. I guess I became more enthusiastic. I don’t think that has affected my style though, except that I work in black and white a lot now to have a kind of regularity in my work.
You’ve spoken before about an interest in tell-tale body language, is this something you try to capture in your photos?
On stage, you you become ‘someone else’, someone other than the casual you that goes to work and then home every day. It’s important for me to find out who that person is, then try to capture it the best I can. Sounds a bit pretentious eh? Don’t worry, I fail most of the time.
Photography, like a lot of creative endeavours, can find itself in the category of ‘art’ or something a lot more commodified. What d’you think makes a photograph true art?
There has to be a special idea behind every shot. If you take a picture that doesn’t make you feel something special, or make you think about it, that’s not art. It’s the same for everything in art : it doesn’t have to be beautiful — what is beauty anyway — but it definitely has to make you feel something. Create a reaction. Make your brain work in a different way.
What’s the next project as we move further into 2015?
Photographically speaking, I’d like to try some new things, depending how my exhibition at the Start The Bus goes. I’d quite like to go back into the studio and make some disturbing portraits. Yes, I think I’ll do that…
Take the exhibition in by hot-footing to Start The Bus this spring. And to get your hands on one of these amazing (nearly A1) limited edition live shots, simply ask at the bar and leave with your new purchase there and then.
Track Laure Noverraz’s latest work via social networking, here.