Music photography at Photokina

Pep Bonet

Two things made a visit to the imaging fair Photokina a must this year.  The announcement of a concert photography ‘game changing’ Camera and the presence of two World class music photographers.

Here is my report on  Z7, Pep Bonet and Guido Karp.  Fear not, all will be revealed…

On the Communities stage and Guido Karp is unquestionably Germany’s top music photographer.  His portfolio slideshow lasted five minutes and featured pretty well every superstar you ever wished you could have photographed (at least every one that I would love to have before my lens!  Jagger and co, Elton John, Tina Turner, Prince.  A man that spent six years shooting Take That and then backed their singer to make good in a solo career – resulting in a close association with one Robbie Williams.  A man too with many anecdotes about the stars.  Was Eric Clapton really terrified of having his soul stolen by photographers?  Who was the mysterious lady that had Karp on-board as a photographer yet refused to let him take pictures for almost a month on tour?  A fascinating man with many an equally fascinating tale to tell – and an equally entertaining photoshoot with the help of actress Madeleine Niesche.  Worth a visit to Photokina in itself.

Guido Carp finishes off the image of an up and coming Rockstar in Lightroom..

After Karp’s morning forum I chanced across another familiar name on the Nikon stage.  Pep Bonet spent some seven years on the road with Motörhead and Lemmy Kilmister creating a unique visual document of the band.  Today he introduces shots from  an assignment of Rock musicians in Africa that are a part of Noord NOOR, headquartered in Amsterdam.   Noord is ten photographers from seven different countries: Nina Berman, Andrea Bruce, Stanley Greene and Jon Lowenstein (USA), Bénédicte Kurzen (France), Yuri Kozyrev (Russia), Francesco Zizola, (Italy), Pep Bonet (Spain), Alixandra Fazzina (UK) and Kadir van Lohuizen (the Netherlands), Arko Datto (India), Sanne De Wilde (Belgium), and Léonard Pongo (Belgium / D.R. Congo). The NOOR photographers produce in-depth photo-essays and pursue longer-term projects. They believe, as their website defines, “that some things simply need to be seen, and unite their individual visions to facilitate this”.  Certainly it’s an intoxicating mixture of poverty, enthusiasm and creative skill that Bonet presents.  He captures perfectly too black and white images of the Worlds biggest Rock Festival at Wacken on the new Nikon F7 mirrorless camera.


Which brings me to the third reason for my being in Cologne today – the appearance of Nikon’s first ever mirrorless full frame cameras.  The Z6 and Z7 would, if Pep Bonet’s images are anything to go by, be a gamechanger for many a photographer – include concert ones.  A camera and lens not too much bigger than a large compact camera, but with the low light capabilities of a dslr, the weight of a mere compact, and – for all you classical music photographers out there – a mirrorless, and therefore silent, shutter.  Yes Nikon, I’m ready to be your ambassador in Bonn.


Oh, and in case you’re saying this article has nothing to do with 3 songs and music directly, I caught exactly three songs by the band Like Snow in the Photokino corridor…

Like Snow

Finally, a short film made by Pep Bonet about Motörhead



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