These days, everyone is a photographer. With our digital cameras and smart phones always at hand, we’re constantly snapping away, adding filters and borders and effects, and uploading the results all to see, in one never ending virtual exhibition.
Some of us might even splash out on fancy kit, and start going to gigs, thinking it will be easy to break into the world of concert photography. But then, inevitably, we realise that to make it in one of the most competitive commercial fields in photography, more than just a good camera is needed. That’s when artists like Carrie Davenport come into the picture.
With her distinctive shock of red hair, Davenport has been a familiar face on Belfast’s live music scene for many years now. After developing an interest in photography at school which eventually overlapped with her love of music, she has integrated herself into the thriving music scene, becoming one of the most recognisable and enthusiastic photographers in the city.
Whether it be for Northern Irish websites and magazines – or, indeed, in Kerrang, the UK’s most distinguished heavy music weekly – Davenport brings a visual flair and quality to her subjects that instantly transports the viewer into the thick of things, to the front row of the best concerts, drenched in sweat, with the music ringing in their ears.
Bringing an artists’ eye to the camera, Davenport possesses that all-important essential that a great many of today’s would-be photographers lack – training. Before striking out as a freelancer in 2006, she studied art and design, and gained valuable work experience thereafter, offering her services for free, in many cases, in order to gain experience, network and develop an impressive contacts book.
Today, she has many high profile clients. Indeed, any Northern Irish band worth their salt has turned to Davenport to help cement their visual style – from rock stalwarts like Therapy? to emerging artists like The Wonder Villains – and the results are frequently spectacular.
Naturally, therefore, Davenport has travelled all over the world with her work, from concert halls in Spain to the backstreets of Austin, Texas, where the South by South West creative industries festival and conference takes place annually, and she shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Outside of her music photography, Davenport has carved out a niche as a commercial and PR photographer, and also offers her services as a fashion and wedding photographer – check out her bespoke website to view her extensive portfolio.
Through it all, her signature style is always evident, that inventiveness and attention to detail that marks her out as something special. So, whilst we all might think we’re photographers, it’s no exaggeration to say that we have a long way to go before we can live life behind the lens in the way that Carrie Davenport does.
Carrie Davenport's An Introduction to Digital Photography course continues at Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, on May 10.
By Steven Rainey