Capturing Port Eliot festival with iconic photographer Jill Furmanovsky
BA (Hons) Commercial Photography student Luke Frost has kick-started his creative career with an enviable summer capturing festival-goers at one of the UK's top annual art and culture festivals, Port Eliot.
Working alongside famed photographer Jill Furmanovsky, whose catalogue of works include iconic images of the world's leading rock musicians including Led Zeppelin and Blondie, Luke sought to capture the spirit of the Cornish festival. Port Elliot festival is the original free-ranging festival of ideas, bringing an unmatchable collection of creatives to one of the most beautiful corners of the country. A celebration of words, music, art, culture and exploration makes this a festival like none other.
Luke reports back on his experience exploring the festival, and working with one of the most respected names in the industry...
Port Eliot Festival - or just 'Port' as it's known by the locals - has always been one of the most loved festivals by myself and my friends. We attend each year knowing we'll be going again the next. And so, when the opportunity to shoot Port came about, I leapt at the chance. A good friend of mine put me in contact with the production manager of Port to make the arrangements.
The build-up towards Port Eliot was slightly nerve-racking, because despite my previous work for clients, photographing a festival was something new to me. Luckily, I like to challenge myself and experience new events. Although I was unsure about the process behind festival photography, I was more excited than anything. It helped that I was lucky enough to work with Jill Furmanovsky because of LRS arts - a programme encouraging artist development, with a live performance programme that identifies, supports and actively promotes young artists like myself. With her guidance, all my nerves became a want to take the best photographs I could, because having the opportunity to photograph a festival is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I love the atmosphere of festivals, especially ones like Port Eliot.
Port has some fantastic scenery. Its aesthetic is something alone that people come to enjoy, with a mixture of stages, from dark but glowing indoor tents to outdoor stages with natural, gloomy Cornish lighting. They each offer different atmospheres for the wide range of performing artists. As a photographer, you're being challenged on your knowledge and skills, to adapt to these different settings. You're not only having to consider the changing levels of light, but also the difference of shooting portraits outside, to shooting larger bands inside. You have to come prepared to be able to adapt as you work.
It's hard to select one moment that stood out for me, because my entire time at Port Eliot was a highlight. I've gained so much from the opportunity of working there as well as working with such a prestigious photographer such as Jill. It was amazing and something I will never forget. Making these connections within industry is something you can't put a price on. I've learned a lot from shooting at Port. I've always been interested in shooting what's natural and a festival is a perfect place to practice this type of photography. This has been massively beneficial to me and I enjoyed working within the buzz of a festival atmosphere. I am so grateful for the opportunity.
This September I'll be starting a BA (Hons) in Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial at Plymouth College of Art. I don't think it can come soon enough! I will also be returning to Port next year, as well as another of Cornwall's bigger festivals, Boardmasters. I can't wait to see what else the next year holds in store for me.
Follow Luke's photography on his Instagram page as he continues his studies at Plymouth College of Art.