MENU

FILMING AND PHOTOGRAPHING ROCK GROUP U2

A personal story about how Bono’s words influenced my photography and my experience of filming and photographing rock group U2, four of the nicest men I’ve ever met who just happen to be in the biggest rock band in the world!

 

Celebrity music photographer
Behind the scenes photo of Rock group U2 with TV presenter Cat Deeley at Manchester Etihad stadium by Wes Simpson

 

FILMING U2 UNCOVERED DOCUMENTARY

They say ‘you should never meet your idols’ because all too often after having met them in the flesh, your idealised image of them gets replaced by that of a nice normal person. However looking back at the time I worked with rock group U2, this was refreshingly true; especially now that we in an Instagram influencing, social media liking hungry world were talent can be small and egos big.

Before I was a full time photographer I worked as a freelance camera-man on a number of popular TV shows. One of the craziest experiences I had in this roll was when I got the opportunity to work with iconic rock band U2 on a television documentary called ‘U2 Uncovered’ with TV presenter Cat Deeley.

Filming for the ITV special involved spending time on the road with the mega stars which was one of the coolest work experiences I’ve ever had. The ITV documentary showcased the build up and promotion of the bands world tour with location filming taking just over two weeks. The finished documentary was based around a one-hour special from a behind the scenes point of view of the ‘Vertigo Tour’ with presenter Cat Deeley leading the way.

The programme featured in-depth interviews with the band reflecting on their life from schooldays to becoming global super-stars. It was an incredible opportunity because we had ‘full access-all areas’ and I got to witness all that goes on, both on stage and behind the scenes. The climax of the filming came to an end when I got to see the band in their element as they prepared for the ultimate high, performing live in front of thousands at The Etihad stadium in Manchester.’

U2 documentary by Wes Simpson
U2 interview, Bono and Adam Clayton with Cat Deeley by Wes Simpson

MEETING ROCK GROUP U2

Filming and photographing rock group U2 and getting to hang out with them during the making of the ‘U2 Uncovered’ documentary was a fantastic experience. Like with most people, U2 (at times) have provided a backing track to my life, from classic songs such as “One”, “Wild Horses” to anthems such as “It’s Beautiful Day” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” With this in mind, I take immeasurable pleasure in the fact I have met, worked with and filmed one of the biggest and most iconic bands in the world!

On the first day of filming I remember the producers and the ‘big wigs’ from the agency gave out over- inflated strict instructions not to look at the band or interact with them without prior consent and anybody that did not need to be in the room had to leave. The band walked in ‘as cool as you like’ and each in turn came over and introduced themselves… First came Bono, arm outstretched to shake my hand, he said “Hi! I’m Bono, nice to meet you.” and I was like… “yer, I kinda know who you are… I’m Wes!” ha ha.

Bono, Larry, Adam, and The Edge are four of the most charismatic, incredibly funny, self deprecating men I’ve ever met… They just happen to be in the biggest rock band in the world.

Photographer Wes Simpson with U2 and Cat Deeley
Wes Simpson with TV presenter Cat Deeley

HOW BONO’S WORDS INSPIRE MY PHOTOGRAPHY

Filming and Photographing rock group U2 was ‘bucket list assignment’ that combined my passion for music with my love of photography and film. I regularly draw comparisons between music and photography because I have witnessed that both have the power to soften hearts and bring people together. A photograph, like a song has the power to transport you back to a time and a place and can make you laugh, cry and hold your breath.

During the interview Bono said,

“We shrink stadiums into clubs, we want to bring you closer to the song. It’s important that we brake down the barriers between stage and audience.”

He was talking about the importance of connection and this is something that still inspires me to this day, especially when storytelling and capturing emotion with my photography work.

U2 lead singer Bono live on stage. Manchester Etihad stadium by Wes Simpson

 

U2 UNCOVERED DOCUMENTARY

Below is part 5/5 of the final production that was aired on ITV in the UK, with my favourite clip coming at 7 minutes 21 when you get to see my name in the credits inline with the band.

U2 UNCOVERED

ITV Documentary

Decorative Image

I'm always on the look out for new projects and to work with cool like-minded people

LETS TALK ABOUT YOUR STORY
CLOSE MENU