Keith Ainsworth is a Liverpool based photographer specialising in concerts, music festivals and promotional portraits. He has taken images for Bido Lito! Magazine, and has also been published in Mojo, Classic Rock and NME. We recently called up with him….
Liverpool Noise: What first drew you to the art of photography?
Keith Ainsworth: I remember a gallery exhibition of black and white photos I saw abroad. It was mostly images of pebbles on a sea shore and I could almost pick them out of the picture. The artistic skill with which the photographer chose each composition was astounding. There was obviously more going on than a quick snap.
LN: Whose work has most influenced you, to date?
KA: With music photography I’d say Gered Mankowitz and Eric Watson have influenced me. Journalism wise I admire Jane Bown who shot for the Observer newspaper. For street photography Vivian Maier found wonder in the mundane.
LN: How would you describe your photography style?
KA: My only job with musicians is to make them look cool and ‘rock and roll’. If my photo makes you stop and read an interview them my job is done. Similarly, if my gig photos make you wish you had been there then I’ve achieved my aim.
LN: Out of all your works, which is your favourite?
KA: I took of photo of Foals singer Yannis Philippakis at the Arts Club in Liverpool. He dived into the crowd and was being supported by the audience on his back while still playing guitar. I particularly like that I captured the expressions of a couple around him who seem to be loving every minute of the performance.
LN: What type of cameras do you shoot with?
KA: I shoot with Canon DLSRs but I have also Canon and Pentax 35mm film SLRs. I used to shoot landscapes with a medium format Mamiya and sometimes shoot with a 3D digital camera.
LN: What tools do you use for post processing, and why?
KA: I use Lightroom for a few tweaks as post processing. I don’t heavily edit my work. It’s more useful from a productivity angle, enabling me to resize a large group of photos quickly.
LN: To date, what has been your favourite subject to photograph?
KA: I appreciate that being in front of a camera is unnatural for most people. A musician may be comfortable on stage but not with a photographer they have just met. But if they are interested in collaborating, I can give them great images. Actors or professional models make my job simple as they are comfortable with the process and know what to project.
LN: What is the best bit of kit you have ever bought?
KA: For live gigs you always struggle for enough light. Any fast lens with an aperture of f2.8 or wider is an essential piece of kit.
LN: What is the worst bit of kit?
KA: I had a lens that would never quite lock focus in time to get the shot. That was so frustrating as I was missing great images I could see through the viewfinder. You always regret the ones that got away!
LN: Projects for 2021?
KA: In 2021 I just want to get back out in the world again and see what inspires me!