This image is The Script playing at the O2 Arena, London, which I took on 29th February 2020. It was one the last gigs I photographed before the world shutdown. This image signifies something that has been missing from life for over a year. It is actually a multi-image panorama that I shot handheld with my Sony Alpha 7R III and FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens, with the aperture set wide open.
I wanted to have a shallow depth of field, as it isn't something that you see with a panoramic shot. Usually, panoramic images are shot with a wide-angle lens, so you can never really get this shallow depth of field, and it comes across as quite a cinematic-looking shot.
As I have worked with The Script since 2011, they offer me the freedom to be on stage during a show. Being on tour gives me the luxury of taking creative risks like this shot; you can't risk trying something this creative if you only shoot the band for a few songs or one night of a tour.
After a few shows, I become aware of when certain moments will happen, so I make sure that I am positioned in a great place to get the shots. For this image, I stood still in a spot, took a picture, then turned on my hip, took another shot, on my hip, etc. In total, I shot eight portrait orientation images in 5 seconds. They were then automatically stitched together using Adobe Lightroom. I worked for a further 10 minutes in Adobe Photoshop to touch up a few bits that weren't perfectly aligned.
The band loves it. I haven't had the chance yet because of lockdown, but I have a long-standing arrangement with Danny, the lead singer, to go around to his house and measure the space where he wants it to go on his wall and then make the biggest possible print of it that will go there.
I have worked with bands in the studio during the lockdown, but it is nothing like a live concert; For both myself and the musicians, a band is only half a band without an audience.
"Peter Neill is the strongest Photographer we have found yet. We simply don't use anyone else anymore - Mark Sheehan, The Script"