The Essence of a Band is Friendship

Local Sale band, Saida, looking towards a bright future from the beach at Seaspray, Australia.

Having played in several bands over the years I speak with experience when I say that the essence of a band is friendship.

We’ve hear about major bands who have become almost as famous for their infighting as their music.

I think that’s sad and I just don’t see the point in playing together if you don’t share a genuine bond of friendship.

I guess it’s the music, the fans and, perhaps, the money that keeps them together. That and the fact that, without the band, they might well lose their identity, their sense of significance.

Four friends from the Sale based band, Saida, in a park by the beach at Seaspray, Australia.

Saida was an exciting young band from the town of Sale in Gippsland, Australia. I enjoyed my time photographing four of the five band members while visiting Sale.

There are many ways to photograph bands, including the following:

  • Live gigs allow you to portray the emotional power of their music and performance.

  • Environmental Portraits provide a way into the personality and character of individual band members.

On this occasion we arranged to make the short drive to the seaside town of Seaspray for some fun, candid photos.

This approach allows for a collaborative approach with the band and, as the images in this post show, often produces light-hearted and life-affirming results.

The essence of friendship on the beach at Seaspray, Australia.

I wouldn’t normally think to photograph people from behind. That’s because when the face is hidden from the frame the subject/s lose their identity in the photo.

However, out of that loss of individual identity a more iconic image is produced. For example the photo becomes more about notions of friendship, youth and the future than about the individuals depicted.

I often enjoy a collaborative approach to people photography. In this case it was Saida’s lead singer, Leah, that suggested I photograph the group from behind.

I was immediately interested as one of my all time favorite bands, The Band, was photographed from behind by Elliot Landy for the August 1968 Rolling Stone magazine front cover.

While the images in those post aren’t based upon Landy’s classic photo of The Band, it was out of a sense of mutual cooperation and enthusiasm, in addition to my love of that quintessential North American music, that fired my imagination.

Four great friends on the road out of Seaspray, Australia.

But what really blew me away was that, no sooner had the guys from Saida gone out into the water, that they linked arms and embraced each other.

I immediately sensed the camaraderie these guys have for each other and I wanted to make an image that would stand as a memory of that moment, for many years to come.

The moment expressed both tenderness and solidarity and showed their determination to face whatever the future holds together.

We are all made stronger when united in a common cause and friendship is at the heart of the best collaborative ventures.


The four members of the band Saida at a derelict house in the town of Seaspray, Australia.


I understand the name Saida is one of those all encompassing words that translates from Swahili as peace, love and respect.

One of the band’s guitarists and didgeridoo player, Josh Cashman, has South African ancestry, which explains the band’s exotic name.

The band also featured Leah Radatti on lead vocals, Daniel Luhrs on guitar, Jon Doolan on drums and Brendan Doolan (absent) on bass.

The band travelled to Sydney where they reached the top five in the Sony Music Australia my school act competition.

The winning band received a $50,000 Sony record deal.

Jon’s older brother, Brendan, having left school at that stage, was ineligible for the competition. That was a shame as a bass guitar would have added to the depth of the band’s performance and, of course, underpinned the songs with a solid beat.

Four young friends having a fantastic time on the beach at Seaspray, Australia. As the years pass memories of that day will fade. But my photos will bring those memories back into focus.

Nevertheless, the remaining members embraced the challenge and performed well which, considering they were only 14-15 years of age at the time, is particularly encouraging.

Daniel and Josh have continued to explore their interest in music. Both play in Melbourne, from time to time.

The opportunity to photograph members from the band Saida proved to be a fun experience. Best of all it allowed me to create images that these young folk will be able to look back at, with fondness, for years to come.

And what a great way to remember their time together and the bond of friendship that united them at such an important time in their lives.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru