In this series, we are catching up with local music photographers to give us the stories behind their favourite pics and what made them so special.
If you’ve ever been to a gig in Newcastle or surrounds chances are you’ve seen Central Coast-based photographer Kevin Bull happilly snapping away in ‘the pit’
As publisher of Reverb Magazine Kevin has been documenting music culture in our neck of the woods for years – from local bands to the biggest names in the biz, Kevin has shot them all.
And here are Kevin’s top five shots (in no particular order) he has taken throughout his career.
1. Tony Iommi – Heaven And Hell
Newcastle Entertainment Centre – August 8 2007
“One of my first pit shoots, and still one of my favourite images. I had just purchased Reverb mid- 2007 and my first request for access was Heaven and Hell (Ronnie james Dio fronted Black Sabbath) at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
I could not believe it when it was approved. At the time I was using an entry-level Pentax with a fast 30-year-old 50mm manual lens, so no autofocus happening here.
For years I had been shooting gigs from the crowd and wished that I could be in the pit with the other photographers. This image documents the night I truly began shooting gigs. I saw this one image and said, “yes, I can do this”.
The next month I was shooting Silverchair and Powderfinger also at the Ent Cent, and travelling to Sydney weekly. Happy days, indeed.”
2. Paul Stanley – KISS
Newcastle Entertainment Centre – 12 October 2015
“Who would have thought that KISS would play Newcastle in 2015.
A few years earlier KISS had toured, playing Sydney on the same night as Neil Young in the Hunter. I went to the Hunter, loved the Crazy Horse show, the images I captured were shit, and I have always regretted not shooting KISS that night.
Now they are in my own backyard.
KISS felt like no other shoot. The band practically gave you the images, you didn’t have to go hunting. They were right in your face, tongues out, asking to have their photo taken. And shooting at the NEC has always been a godsend with a lot less shooters in the pit than a Sydney show.”
3. Chris Cornell – Soundgarden
Sydney Entertainment Centre – 25 January 22012
“This was a shoot that was not planned to happen. I had requested access to the show but was knocked back, and was then offered the shoot by the Sydney Entertainment Centre photographer who could not make it.
This was my first and only time shooting for the SEC, and it produced what is possibly my favourite image. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was on the opposite side of the stage to Chris Cornell, away from all the other shooters who were jostling in front of him.
Cornell then walked towards me, just past me, and then came forward to the crowd. It all happened in the space of a few seconds, leaving me with this one.”
4. Peter Garrett – Midnight Oil
Hope Estate – October 21 2017
“Another show that was not going to happen. There was little photographer access given to Midnight Oil’s ‘Great Circle’ tour, and after being knocked back through my usual contacts, I went directly to the Oil’s publicist.
Bingo! I was about to shoot a band that was massive to me through the ’80s. I really do like a good shoot in the Hunter…. on a non-rainy night – a big pit when not shooting from the soundboard, a handful of photographers. and a lovely outdoor setting.
It was a memorable show, powerful, and delivered many lovely images. GO THE OILS!!
5, Melbourne Ska Orchestra
Cambridge Hotel – March 12 2020
“My last shoot before lockdown.
I have had many a night at the Cambo over the decades, and it has been in only the past few years that lighting has not been a problem for photography. I have been getting some beautiful images from the venue in recent times. MSO is the ultimate party band with too many people on stage to fully capture.
We always enjoy a night at the Cambridge and look forward to getting back in their pit once all has been dealt with.”