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Projects

The Necessity of Excess

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Projects

The Necessity of Excess

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Defqon 1 is Australia’s largest outdoor hard house trance festival held during October at Sydney’s Penrith Rowing Regatta Centre. The opportunity to shoot this event came only days prior to the festival start and I quickly came to the realisation this could challenge my photographic ways and routine.

The photographic intent was not technical but rather focused on communicating a taste of what its like at a huge trance dance festival. I kept the equipment to a minimum, a single camera body and a wide angle zoom forced me close to the subject, allowing me to introduce myself, compose, direct and shoot a couple of frames and then move on. At night I used a torch to light the subjects faces which was a mistake in hindsight as the ravers eyes were extremely dilated and subsequently were blinded by the 1 watt beam.

I wanted to make the ravers look hyper-real and statuesque while documenting the hard-core exhibitionism and overt fantasy with all the highs and threatening traps that are all part of this party style. The energy was contagious, artificially enhanced and “duff duff” driven. At times I reminisced on my younger days and was glad I had an “inner governor” to keep the excess in check.

The day was partitioned into three sessions. The late morning and early afternoon was fresh, tentative and bleached by the overhead sun. the afternoon was warm, hyper and building in atmosphere and intensity, while the night was explosive, messy and exhausting. My overall observation was that the festival wasn’t overtly sexual but rather spending time partying and dancing with your mates. There was no agro or compliance really. The police kept an eye out for opportunistic drug dealers, the SES were dancing on top of their trucks, the hired security was bemused while the medics were shouldering through the crowds with justifiable intent as the occasional raver dropped to the ground suffering from consumed excess.

In summary I was left with a moral tug-o-war, “party hard while you can but don’t threaten your future” and ” what’s normal anyhow and the necessity of excess”

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