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Behind the scenes with Lucire photographer Paula Sweet at the Ubud Village Jazz Festival

The Ubud Village Jazz Festival presented more than just the usual behind-the-scenes moody musician poses. Stanley Moss talks to Lucire’s Paula Sweet about her favourite shots from the event
Photographed by Paula Sweet
August 13, 2018/11.07

The typical offering of festival photographs usually includes moody musicians bathed in surreal light and smoke, enthusiastic crowds making the peace sign or holding lighters, and backstage views of musical instruments and equipment cases. Normally you don’t see the artistry from the photographer’s eyes.
   Lucire’s Paula Sweet covered the Ubud Village Jazz Festival and we asked her for her favourite images which went beyond the usual cookie-cutter images which might be seen. We asked her to tell us how she knows what to shoot.
   ‘I really like the ambience,’ she says. ‘First I like to get the whole feel of the place up close, the on-stage character of the musicians, the way they hold their instruments. But I also like to get the audience reaction. I ask myself, what type of crowd is it? Are they intoxicated? What age? Are they straight? I like to see if the musicians are relaxed. If the musicians are having fun, really enjoying it or if it’s just something commercially planned. Are they doing it for money or pleasure?’
   Sweet was particularly intrigued by the venue of the Ubud festival, the city’s art museum, which is set in sprawling grounds. She said she appreciated the gardens, sculpture, plantings and ornate terraces. ‘Outside in a jungle, hearing jazz under the bamboo stands, you could feel the earth under your feet, you could hear the wind in the trees. It always felt like it was about to rain, you could feel the tension. What’s going to happen if it starts pouring? Are the musicians going to be OK? It wasn’t the usual stuffy concert air. This was music we heard in the middle of nature.’—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Paula Sweet

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