Monday 18 December 2017

Snapper's lens gets stuck in a moment

U2 at Glastonbury last year
U2 at Glastonbury last year
Imelda May at the first Arthur's Day celebration in Dublin in 2009
The cover of the book featuring French band Babylon Circus at the Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, in 2009
Photographer Barry Delaney

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

IT was one of the most anticipated gigs of their entire career -- and a photographer who got up close and personal to U2 in Glastonbury said he could see the fear in their eyes.

Rock photographer Barry Delaney doesn't use long lenses or stepladders which means he sometimes goes on stage with the stars to get the picture he wants.

"My other hat is as a boxing photographer and something you capture, being up so close to young fighters and performers, is the fear in their eyes, just as they go on," he said.

"I photographed U2 from the pit in Glastonbury, and Bono was genuinely scared, but it's a good thing to be scared. It showed U2 weren't just going through the motions."

The Friday night UK festival headliner was a long way from the last show Mr Delaney saw U2 perform, at a small bar gig in Dallas, Texas during 1982.

"I'd moved to the US and this was before U2 were famous over there. I remember Bono was fascinated to meet a guy from back home, and wanted to buy me a drink," said Mr Delaney, who took up photography while living in America, and returned to Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, six years ago.

But if the snapper praises U2 for "always being helpful", he doesn't always find other music stars so appreciative.

"The photographer is the unwanted guest at every gig but the moment an act comes off stage, they will be asking for your pictures. Coming from a punk background, I'm not that bothered. I don't believe in putting musicians on a pedestal," said the snapper, who cites The Ramones as an influence alongside French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson.

He said he made a decision a long time ago not to use long lenses.

"It's not about stomping on fellow photographers. It's about getting into the right position early on, which means I'm always the first photographer into the pit at gigs. Half the battle, getting the right shot, is knowing where to stand."

Mr Delaney's book 'Dim the Lights, The Show Must Start' is available from selected bookshops and at for €21.

Irish Independent

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