About me

Welcome,

my name is Valerio and I am, among several other things, a music photographer based in UK. My pictures appear here, there and wherever people wants them. On the web, on some magazines, even framed hanging on some walls. Someone recently thought I am among the music photographers you need to know, which is quite flattering.
If you want any of my photos, all you have to do is contact me or if it is one of those I selected for my Portfolio, you can order them online.

me

I also enjoy writing about music, so I often complete the images with articles, which helps to spread them to wider audiences. This blog in the years added about a band a week and has now over 200 bands reviewed and photographed. You can browse them from here or simply google the name of your heroes + 35mm you might be lucky. I also add a tip on concert photography at the end of each post. Which means I wrote about 200 suggestion to improve your concert photos. You’re free to browse these too, here.

To differentiate and complicate my life, in this digital world, I started photographing artists using a couple of heavy, old, manual cameras loaded with rolls of 35mm black & white film. Yes, those silver halide emulsions posed on acetate that allow only 36 frames; that need to be carefully handled, developed, fixed, printed in a lightproof darkroom using smelly eco-unfriendly chemicals. All of this to get to a monochrome image, in an era where on digital cameras the same can be seen instantaneously, sent wireless and printed in seconds, eventually in splendid colours.

That must sound quite a serious form of self-harm. It was!
After about 7 years of nights spent in the darkroom I had to gave up, sadly. So the first part of this blog from 2007 to 2009, contains only monochrome images of artists shot on 35mm film, the other half, from 2010 to today is on digital.

Everything started at the end of the century, those days I could still see few photographers loading films, probably as frequent as seeing someone putting a CD in a portable player today, you know it is not going to last, I knew it wasn’t. Digital era moved so fast that I have been for a long time the only one left with 35mm boxes in the pit. I also was the last one swearing f… word (an the many colorful Italian alternatives) the many times the roll ends when the best moment finally arrives. Around me digital equipped troops enjoy the images on colorful displays and showing hundreds shots to friends and young fans.

I tend to convince myself I must be seen as a mixture of romantic-naive-retro’ sort of person but, judging from the way people stare at me when I open the back of the camera, I must probably look like someone landed from a remote, primitive planet. And I adapted.

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Reflecting on this I concluded that, quite possibly, I still own the biggest archive of contemporary live music on B&W film. Together with the digital I have live portraits for more than 500 bands.

Being the kind of person who can’t relax watching TV, I thought that when I have something unpublished, curious, that fits with me, I will put down few words and some old-fashion grainy images of modern music to share with you. Bookmark this site, follow me on Facebook or Twitter or sign up to the newsletter to receive updates. Most important, don’t be shy to comment.

Thank you
Valerio

PS-a last, important thing, if you are interested in any of the images you see, please contact me, blogs are open discussion, don’t steal anyone photos online, beyond your monitor, there are people and I am happy to discuss your needs.


28 Responses to “About me”

  1. Hey great idea and beautiful pics. I saw your Maximo Park shots at The Line of Best Fit.

    Would you mind if I added you to my blogroll?

    Perhaps you could add me to yours. Be great to use some of your pics to maybe one day!

    Best wishes Vic x

  2. Hi Valerio,
    johnpeel, or better, Luca here. Just thought I’d drop a line and say hello.
    Great photoes and good piece on The National, now I am getting really curious.
    Funny thing is, I notice you’re based in Cambridge. I was there this summer visiting friends and to check out the Palimpsest festival (a friend of mine played there last year). It’s a small world, eh?

  3. Great to see another photog shooting concerts with film. I just started concert photography a couple months ago and am having a blast with my Tri-X. Everyone in the pit looks at me funny when I pop open the back of my camera…

    However, I must admit I shoot using a Canon EOS. How’s shooting manual at concerts? I’ve thought about bringing my manual along for the ride, but haven’t yet…

  4. Now that’s quite a sympathic intrcduction. ;) Though I don’t usually shoot concerts, I’m also one of the few people out there still shooting film (especially in my age, I’m 19), mostly without using any automatic. I started with one digital camera – now I still got one digital camera, but several analog ones. I don’t know why, but it’s just more enjoyment to shoot film!
    Though I mostly use colour film, I want to start using B/W film as well. The problem is that I don’t do the processing myself (yet) and the costs for processing in a shop are far higher for B/W-film. So I just bought myself some rolls of Kodak BW400CN, that should be good just for a start.

    So keep up your work, as long as we use it film will (hopefully) not die!

    Cheers from Germany
    Daniel

  5. could you please send me your e-mail? i would like to ask you something.
    thanks,
    dana

  6. Very cool site! As a photographer who shoots a lot of film I really appreciate that you go out of your way to continue shooting it, even as you are drowned in a sea of digital slrs. Paradoxically, monochrome seems to capture something colour simply does not. The feeling, emotion, and atmosphere portrayed here is superb and impactful. Great job, keep it up!

  7. Very nice coverage and review of Fleet Foxes. I missed the ULU show but was lucky enough to catch them in Dublin, Royal festival Hall and Glasgow. I’m the father of Robin, the front man and also the unofficial band archivist and I just wanted to tell you that your approach; 35 mm B&W definitely works! You have captured the band in a very appealing and classic style. Also, your writing is unique as well. As you know, much has and will be written about these guys. You have captured what is special about them in your own special way. Thanks and keep up the great work!

  8. Hi Valerio,

    I came across your website/blog because of your comment on guardian music blog. It’s great! I have a blog about music in Portuguese (I’m Brazilian) and hope you don’t mind if I use one of your photos to illustrate a post that I am writing just right now about the live on 35mm. Of course, I will put a link to it on my blogroll too. :-)

    Take care,
    Gabriela

  9. I really admire what you do, and it’s something I aspire to doing myself. This blog is inspirational :)

  10. Hi Valerio,
    I found your website through the guardian music blog. It’s fantastic, and I love your work. I was wondering if it would be okay with you if I printed out a few photos for myself? I just moved into my university residence, and I’d love to use some of your work to make it feel more homely.

    Cheers,
    exvanp

  11. Hello – great site and awesome images… I also shoot film for personal projects but shoot digital as well. I have a Tee Shirt you may like – http://www.redbubble.com/people/kskinner/clothing/1858921-1-duck-figital

    At any rate I will be checking your site out regularly…
    Cheers,
    Keith

  12. [...] I just stumbled across a really awesome blog dedicated to gig photography: Live on 35mm. [...]

  13. Nice works! I remember when i used to shoot concerts on a 35mm. I kind of miss having just 36 frames as it really makes you wait for the right moment – as frustrating as it sometimes is! Keep it up!!

  14. Dear Valerio,
    Many thanks for the valuable content of your website. It’s been an inspiration and has definitely helped me. I’ve recently supplied some shots for a local band I’ve not dealt with before. I’ve heard through the grapevine they’ve now told their regular shooter they want everything on B&W film in the future. I hope he’s not spent a lot on digital gear…
    Yours gloatingly,
    Phil
    PS. I think I’ve seen a comment from you of the virtues of Zeiss lenses. I’ve only got a couple for my RX, but I’d be interested in your experience with them.

  15. Hi Phil,
    thanks a lot for the comment.

    It is nice someone appreciates the virtue of B&W film, I spent the weekend in the darkroom and I can still assure there is no emotino as a B&W photo appearing from the developing bath. Magic.

    About Zeiss lenses, I’ve been using them on Contax cameras for 15 years, both camera and lenses still work without creating me a single problem or losing a single frame on thousands of rolls.
    Quality of zeiss lenses is unmatched, especially on colour slides, but you need to know them, their performance are tailored to the lens need some sharper some smoother some bright coloured some softer.

    Ciao

  16. Dear Valerio,
    Thank you for the reply. I’m also a big fan of Zeiss, but sometimes, I find their contrast a little too high, leading to more highlight burn-out than expected. Because of this, I down-rate film to reduce its contrast. Do you do the same?
    Kind regards,
    Phil
    PS. I like the name “Live on 35″. I wish I’d thought of it.

  17. I probably do limit contrast developing the films in a more diluted 1+5 solution for a longer time…I wouldn’t say on purpose. I am now happy with the procedure

  18. Hey Valerio
    Love your page!! YOu have some really amazing photos of gigs. It’s one of the best ways to remember the feeling you had at a gig.
    I actually work with a lot of unsigned artists under the alias Rough Sketch and wondered if you ever photographed new and emerging talent? We’d love you to come down to one of our gigs and take some photos if it would interest you, and also to hear what you think about the nights.

  19. I actually agree instead with the dancing about architecture quote.
    but, as much as his real author is unknown, it’s usually linked to elvis costello, not zappa :)

    btw… I agree but I write about music nonetheless.
    i’d dance about architecture it if was getting me in the pit or backstage with the band ;)

  20. This is a very interesting site. I’m fascinated that younger photographers favour film.

    I’m a photographer, and during my degree, 20 years ago … I studied how film works in minute detail!

    At the moment I’m going through the mental process of trying to “forget film” and move on … I used to take a lot of pride in knowing about the technique of photography … which film to use when … getting perfect exposure with a spot meter …

    I think photographic film is a delightful technology, but do I really need those ‘craft’ skills to take good photos?

  21. Thanks for the comment, Trevor, and thanks for the “young” too, which I am not really that much. Started with film about 20 years ago as well, learning digital now too, still in love with B&W film either, though.

  22. I discovered your site jumping here from some review of a gig, don’t remember which one and which site…anyway, your blog is amazing and your shots are amazing! I’ll check out your pages often! And I’ll try to learn something too!

  23. Thank you, Alice.
    I hope you keep coming!
    Vale

  24. Hi Valerio,
    I discovered your blog today while browsing through some Skunk Anansie photos on Google. On of the links led to this site.
    Your photography is beautiful. It seems by simply watching I can hear music and see motion.
    I didn’t quite understand from your charming introduction whether you started to photograph 5 years ago or just switched to film from digital?

    Ana

    P.S. I will definitely check your posts in the future!

  25. Thanks Ana,
    I have started photographing about 20 years ago. I worked on film for most of this time but the last 6 months when I embarked a digital adventure too. At present I am deciding which direction to take with gig photography.

  26. I’m wanting to use concert photography for my final portfolio in my adv. black and white class this semester. thank goodness for your blog! i look forward to learning from it!
    crystal

    • You’re welcom Crystal,
      Good luck!

  27. Hey there! I’ve been following your web site for a
    while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx!

    Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

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