Oliver Pooley Freelance Photographer
Your favourite Free party photographer, Oliver Pooley, the perfect gentlemen to visualise your epic moments and capture those through photography
“I work as a freelance photographer, videographer. I cover events/ performances at nightclubs and gatherings all the way up to festivals. I also like to cover free parties (Illegal raves) as they are often a hive of creativity and unique individuals. No matter the venue or event my role is to combine the documentation of the DJ’s and ravers that are at the venue as well as trying to capture the vibe of the night. I like to mix documentation with artistic expression as it gives me the opportunity to document the moment-to-moment action while also giving me freedom to capture the events, as I perceive them.
My work enables people who weren’t at the event to feel like they were there and also highlight aspects of the night that, even if they were there, might have missed. Dance music has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Whatever form or genre it takes it brings people together and has inspired countless generations. Taking photos for me is another aspect to the music. Trying to fully realise, visually, the sensations that everyone is experiencing in a specific moment through a camera lens is extremely rewarding“
How would you describe a free party?
A free party is a collective of like-minded people who want to express their love for dance and music but don’t have a space to do it. A lot of the music at free parties used to years back was very underground and personal. With the shift from vinyl to digital formats free party music is a lot more accessible than it used to be but is still considered to be far from mainstream. This is part of what draws people to free parties. They want to hear and experience things they wouldn’t normally be able to experience anywhere else. It’s kind of organised chaos on the night but that’s what makes it so fun. Every single free party has its own personality depending on where it’s located, the people that are there and the DJ’s attending it.
Do you prefer a festival to a non commercial free party?
They both have a lot of the same elements but are presented in completely different ways. A free party would typically only last one night while a festival on average would run for three nights. They are both great in there own ways. I tend to prefer festivals these days as the organisers don’t have to worry about confrontation with the police as well as losing equipment and have more time to create amazing stages/ décor.
Are you a spectator or someone who indulges in free party?
Anyone that goes to a free party chooses how much they want to be involved in it. That’s kind of the beautiful thing about it. You can show up and just spectate or bring your tunes and possibly be playing music you are passionate about to a crowd without to much trouble. I tend to mix between the two. When I’m taking photos I’m technically a spectator but at any moment I can still enjoy the music and often have tunes ready to go if the chance to get on the decks presents itself.
when do you think the scene was at its peak?
Each raver’s perception of the peak of the scene is constantly changing from year to year. After speaking to multiple generations of ravers, whatever time you get into the scene the early years will always seem bigger and better. Purely in terms of numbers of ravers in the same place at one time the late 90’s early 2000’s were where the scene peaked. It’s a lot different these days as dance music has split into so many subgenres. I liken it to TV where in the past we used to have 4 channels fighting for ratings and these days everyone has their own TV programs catered for in a multitude of different mediums. It’s the same with dance music. With everyone’s tasted so diversified it’s harder to gather people together with the same exact tastes in music. The one part that is interesting is that I’ve found there is a lot more cross over in terms of what genres people listen to than there used to be as well. So now you get a lot more diversity in the type of music that is offered at free parties and festivals to keep the crowd engaged. Parties like Exodus as well as the Moot’s in the early 2000s had record numbers of raver. These events inspired many of those ravers go on to create their own systems and have massive followings.
what’s your favourite event at a free party culture so far?
Storm Moot party from 2005. It was one of the hottest days of the year so the weather was perfect and had at least 15 sound systems. This is when I was still using a film SLR and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a lot of good photos that could truly capture what it was like to be there.
Whats your favourite festival so far?
It has to be a draw between Illusive Festival, Symmetry and Boomtown Fair. All of these festivals have been simply incredible to cover and experience.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Email – Oliver Pooley – Oliverpooley@outlook.com
Instagram – http://instagram.com/oliver_pooley_photography