The photographer shooting the frenzy of raves and protests

The photographer shooting the frenzy of raves and protests

Follow the leader — Aiyush Pachnanda comes alive in a crowd, documenting visceral, kinetic meet-ups with in-yer-face precision.

As a photographer, Aiyush Pachnanda has always found himself drawn to visceral, kinetic events: mass meet-ups where anything can happen. 

It should come as little surprise, then, that he ended up documenting raves and protests. It began during 2016, when he started shooting anti-Brexit demonstrations, before falling for the magic of rave culture shortly after. 

He believes both settings share a certain quality. “There’s a lot of similar emotions that I noticed that transcend above and subsequently join the two,” he explains. “Both groups almost fall into a trance-like mood when together, having a shared mob mentality that motivates people – for better or worse.” 

“Both groups follow a leader too,” he continues. “Be it a speaker system at a rave, or a speaker at a protest. Even the way people move, it’s almost like a shoal of fish. Getting from one end to the other is always a struggle.” 

These images come together in B2B, a book that chronicles Pachnanda’s work documenting protests during the Covid-19 lockdown, and the reopening of clubs after it was lifted. 

For Pachnanda, who initially wanted to be a writer before picking up the camera, shooting these kinds of events brings a certain kind of danger. He was always interested in these kinds of scenes, he says, but as a kid was never allowed to express it. 

Now that he’s able to, there’s no looking back. In this respect, despite the frenzy of the moments captured, B2B illustrates a photographer at his most comfortable. 

“I am attracted to the feeling of danger and adrenalin that comes with being in a big crowd, and the feeling of being on edge a little,” he says. “It makes me feel alive.” 

B2B is available to order now. A launch event will take place in London on 14 December 2021.  

Enjoyed this article? Like Huck on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.