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Behind the lens: 20 photos of musicians in Manchester by Chris Payne

Chris is one of the people you see at the front of gigs, who have just the first few songs to capture the event on camera. Here are some of his favourite shots of the Manchester music scene
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Behind the lens: Bez at The Ritz
Chris Payne

Bez from Happy Mondays at The Ritz

Behind the lens: Darren Partington of 808 State at The Ritz
Chris Payne

Darren Partington of 808 State at The Ritz

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Behind the lens: Delphic at Parklife
Chris Payne

Delphic at Parklife

Behind the lens: Don Letts
Chris Payne

Don Letts at BBC6 Music Festival

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Behind the lens: Elbow
Chris Payne

Elbow at Manchester Arena

Behind the lens: Everything Everything
Chris Payne

Everything Everything at Parklife

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Behind the lens: Gary Barlow
Chris Payne

Gary Barlow at Manchester Arena

Behind the lens: Shaun Ryder at The Titz
Chris Payne

Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays at The Ritz

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Behind the lens: I Am Kloot
Chris Payne

I Am Kloot at Ramsbottom Festival

Behind the lens: Jake Evans
Chris Payne

Jake Evans at Ramsbottom Festival

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Behind the lens: Jimi Goodwin
Chris Payne

Jimi Goodwin at Ramsbottom Festival

Behind the lens: John Cooper Clarke
Chris Payne

John Cooper Clarke at BBC6 Music Festival

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Behind the lens: John Ellis
Chris Payne

John Ellis at Manchester Jazz Festival

Behind the lens: Johnny Marr
Chris Payne

Johnny Marr at Parklife

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Behind the lens: Larry Gott
Chris Payne

Larry Gott of James at Castlefield Bowl

Behind the lens: Peter Hook
Chris Payne

Peter Hook at The Ritz

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Behind the lens: Ren Harvieu
Chris Payne

Ren Harvieu at Spirit of Salford

Behind the lens: Rowetta
Chris Payne

Rowetta at The Ritz

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Behind the lens: Tim Booth
Chris Payne

Tim Booth at Castlefield Bowl

Behind the lens: Tim Burgess
Chris Payne

Tim Burgess at Band on the Wall

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Behind the lens: Chris Payne

'I’m a freelance photographer based in Manchester, and head photographer at Northern Soul. I use a Nikon D610, but most of the shots here were done with my first camera, a D3200. 

I’m a musician, but the saxophones went into the loft when I picked up a DSLR for the first time in 2012. Photographing live music seems to give me the same buzz I get from performance – and my background in theatre and film (I worked at Cornerhouse for eight years up until the birth of my son in 2010) has given me an eye for the theatrical. I love going for something a bit different – an extreme close-up, or a weird framing. Although I try to make sure I get as much done “in the camera” as I can, I really enjoy the editing process, where it’s possible to wrangle the shot into something special. This is often a necessity where gig photography is concerned, as the lighting can be unpredictable, with strobes and the dreaded red or blue floods. In addition, you tend to only get to shoot the first three songs (without flash) so you take what you can get!' 

'Photographing Johnny Marr and James have been real highlights this year – Tim Booth doesn’t hold back on stage, and Johnny is always good for a wee rockstar pose. I suppose the selection here shows the wide range of music still coming out of the UK’s great music city.' 

You can view more of Chris’s work at www.chrispayneimages.co.uk, his articles for Northern Soul here and you can buy some of his work online here.

You can find him on Twitter at @xtofallabout and on Facebook

See more photo galleries of Manchester

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