The Libertines frontman Pete Doherty performing in 2015 during the release of the band's third album, Anthems for Doomed Youth.
London based artist Kana Waiwaiku, has spent the last decade developing his own fresh, documentary style photography. Commissioned by the major record labels to shoot artwork, for among others, The Libertines, Killing Joke, Nothing But Thieves, Asylums and The Enemy, Kana's approach is to fully immerse himself in the band's music, culture and identity before timing that perfect shot.
"When I know I’m going to be shooting a new band, I remove all music from my phone and only listen to their music for a week. I ask them questions and go into a kind of research mode. Sometimes it’s easy to work out where they are coming from, sometimes they are new it takes time. But it’s so important to be patient."
Even on the day of shooting, the importance for contextualising and understanding the band's environment play a vital role in the artist's work.
"It’s important I’m there for the whole day of a show, from sound check to the after party. When I get on location I sit in the corner for 20 minutes and just look. I want them to forget I’m there. That’s when I can get to work".
Only once fully immersed in the band's identity, can Kana begin work. He recalls this moment after getting to know Pete Doherty:
"I made the decision that I was going to photograph the artist, the person who sits in the corner and reads poetry, the man that wrote some of the best anthems of our generation. So I waited, patiently, getting pushed around by the the rabble, I hear the bombardment of shutters, snapping away with seemingly no purpose, rhyme or reason...I watched and watched then...this happened. We never see Pete looking so at peace, but that's the man I, and so many, cherish."
Photography (BA Hons), Central St Martins, London.
Awards: A recipient of The Getty Images Creative Bursary for Emerging Photographers 2018. A recipient of the Essex Cultural Diversity Project Grant. Winner of the Judges Selection - IPF Award, London.
Publications: Interview, FStoppers, Finding the Art in Music Photography, November 2016.
Solo Exhibitions: A Sonic Space Where Beauty & Chaos Collide, London 2018.
Kana Waiwaiku is the artist in residence at Metal Culture, London.