In celebration of ten years of the X Mount system, Fujifilm South Africa is featuring photographers from across the country using our gear. Living and breathing South African music, Wayde Flowerday joins us to tell us more about his passion for band/concert photography. (Photo by Evan Cummings)
Why do you love photography?
I came from a background in music journalism, so the quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” never resonated with me. I used to be somewhat convinced that through the medium of writing, you could conjure up an image just as good as a photo (if not better), and really paint a picture in someone’s mind. Until I picked up a camera.
Concert/band photography is a way of capturing an event that words seldom do justice. You can’t adequately articulate the immensity of a crowd, the power and emotion of an artist, or the energy of an event as well as you can with photography.
I love the challenge behind it all. I love waiting to try and capture that perfect moment – the perfect illustration of the artist that I am photographing. With fast moving individuals, erratic lighting (or lack thereof), and often more smoke in the venue than what a coal power plant produces in a year, you really have to work for your shots. You need to act on the fly, be paying close attention, and be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.
What it really boils down to is the fact that band/concert photography is never the same. No two shows are alike, and each presents their own challenge. That challenge is what makes me love photography – especially when you manage to nail an image.
What made you switch to Fujifilm and when did this happen?
In late 2020, my wife gave me a Fujifilm camera for my 30th birthday. I had wanted something powerful, yet smaller than my DSLR. Primarily I intended on using the camera for travel, everyday images, and the like. Additionally, Henry Engelbrecht (RIP) was my mentor and taught me most of what I know about photography. His passion for Fujifilm made me want to give it a go, and see what he kept telling me I was missing out on.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit shortly after I received it, so I mostly got to play with it around the home during lockdown.Finally, we had a brief respite, and “The Sound of Fokof Unplugged” show happened at Loftus. I took my usual gear that I had been using to shoot shows with, as well as my new Fujifilm with its 18-55mm kit lens. I assumed I would test the Fujifilm out, while relying on my old workhorse to do the heavy lifting.
From the first snap with the Fujifilm, I was hooked. The colours, the vibrancy, the autofocus, everything just clicked. I didn’t touch my old gear for the rest of the day, and honestly haven’t touched it since.
Which Fujifilm camera do you use?
The camera I was gifted was an X-T4. Immediately I had to get hold of an X-T3 too, as I like to double strap when I shoot. That allows me to move seamlessly between my 16-55mm F2.8, and 50-140mm F2.8 without missing any of the action. I have a small collection of primes, as well as my newly acquired 8-16mm F2.8.
My most relied upon gear for any show will be my X-T4, X-T3, and the so-called Holy Trinity of lenses.
What do you love most about the camera?
Most people would go on about the sensors and inner workings here, but I’ll keep it simple. I love the versatility of the camera. I love that it is small and discrete enough to not make you stand out in a room when you are quietly snapping away photos of people. However, I also love the fact that it packs a massive punch and can handle anything thrown its way – especially in a concert setting with its lowlight capabilities and focus tracking features. Since switching to Fujifilm, I think I have caught some of my most impressive photos to date (some of which I have included here).
Tell us a bit more about your photography and what you would like to achieve through this.
I mostly focus on concerts, bands, and musical artists – as mentioned earlier on. I think what I would mostly like to achieve is to showcase that South African artists aren’t just on par with international artists, but that they are in a league of their own, and should be given the accolades they deserve.
A lot of our larger artists do have many great pictures of them performing, and I love being able to contribute images to those portfolios, capturing historic moments in the lifetimes of the bands – such as Van Coke Kartel’s final tour, Fokofpolisiekar’s birthday shows, and Francois Van Coke en Vriende, etc. However, I also love being able to photograph smaller bands, ones that are fresh out of the gate, and seldom have pictures of them performing besides ones taken by some of their fans with cellphones. I like to think this helps kickstart their media packs, and get taken a bit more seriously by event organisers, growing them faster, and giving them more ways to promote themselves at a professional level.
I also love being able to capture images of international bands for them to share on their platforms, showcasing what performing is like in South Africa. I hope that this helps contribute to the idea that South Africa is a place worth touring, and that it opens other bands up to the notion that South Africa should definitely be on one of their touring cycles.
Ultimately, I live and bleed for the South African music scene, and being able to use my photography to help document it, and (hopefully) grow it, is my ultimate aim.
Looking for more of Wayde’s work? Join him on
His website: https://www.waydeflowerday.com/