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Yesterday Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told her people not to "give up hope", after her release from house arrest. And that is exactly what I found last night in the pit while shooting an amazing gig. I was at the Brixton Academy to shoot the Goo Goo Dolls. Truth be told, I’ve always loved Rzeznik’s voice so I was kind of curious to see how they would do live. Let me wash away any doubts you might have straight away. They were awesome, just legen...wait for it...dary!
I was in the pit with the usual suspects of photographers except for one. And it’s that one photographer that “gave me hope”. Let me explain you why. This photographer doesn’t really belong to the usual line up of photographers that I know and meet on a regular basis on the gig circuit. Actually I have only seen him once before. His name is Joe Bangay and he is 80 (!) years old. Yes you read that right, 80 and still shooting. Imagine that. He comes in to the pit walking with a cane in one hand and his camera bag in the other. A brave old man who comes to shoot the Goo Goo Dolls at the age of 80, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. Let me tell you, my hopes for the future just went into overdrive right there and then. Imagine I can do this job for that long? And Joe ain’t stopping any time soon as he said he is planning to keep on shooting till he is 90 and then he will hang up his kit. Joe has been shooting for 50 years now with another 10 years to go. Joe Bangay got his photography schooling when he joined the Royal Air Force where in later years he was an intelligence expert and a camera became part of his kit. He was on active service in Borneo when he helped the Daily Express team out of trouble and as a result they offered him a job when he retired from the Air Force. He left the service in 1968 and started as a freelance photographer on the Daily Express. He never stopped shooting since that day. And yesterday it were the Goo Goo Dolls which he added to his massive collection of photographic material. Respect!
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