Music photography and the documentation of bands go hand in hand with a certain style and certain subjects that, to this day, have been reproduced a thousand times: pre-gig rituals and band huddles, sweaty faces right after the show, backstage drinks, little jokes in-between shows, live footage. These photographs are rarely ever art since they mainly serve the purpose of promoting a particular band image and therefore only allow intimate moments in a set frame.
Annika Weertz turned this concept inside out when she joined the band Pacific Swell on their summer tour through the Basque Country. With KISS ME I’M GOLDEN, she wants to shed light on the emotional connection and individuals that a band is constituted of and so her photographic gaze is directly fixated on the individual members and in no way interested in fostering the band’s already existing public image. After all, the situation on stage distorts an essential part of the musicians. The individual and their neuroses and little quirks, mundane everyday occurrences, thoughtless expressions and gestures disappear behind instruments, performance, sound and spotlights.
The essence Annika Weertz is trying to find in the exhibition’s footage exceeds the authentic portrayal of a band. It is the genuine perception of connections. In what ways does the social atmosphere manifest itself among the band members, what are their relationships with each other like and what type of connection do they have with the photographer? By putting together numerous images, Weertz tries to create a mosaic of interpersonal relationships, which obviously and ultimately remains unfinished. It is an artistic attempt that also reveals its own perspective, as the artist’s personality and presence contribute a vital part to the documentary and have a significant influence on the outcome of the project. Just like a Gonzo journalist, Weertz comes closer to a truth that lies beyond objective documentation and unfolds a tension of its very own for the viewer.
Photos © Annika Weertz