I’ve had quite a year this year. It’s only my second shooting live music and I’ve been afforded so many I know and love and some I have grown to since seeing them live. Below, for various reasons which I will explain below, are my favourite 10 shots from my work this year in no particular order.
1. Michael from Little Comets’ customised guitar
This shot, taken for Slate the Disco, generated interest from a correspondent in LA for the website XSNoize, namely Julie Blore-Bizot who was following Catfish and The Bottlemen around the states. It was used in her 5 part article to link a photo of the word “Why” on Van McCann’s guitar headstock to Little Comets with whom they toured in support the year before. Thanks to this contact, I now photograph and write for XSNoize which has borne a mass of photographic fruit for me this year.
2. Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator at The Portland Arms, Cambridge
Photographing one of my musical heroes in a tiny venue for the second time this year? Yes please! Having no pit made for interesting angles and this one, with the top of the mic fully inside Nick’s mouth was an instant personal favourite.
3. The Half Earth at St Pancras Old Church, Kings Cross, London
Low light when the light has a strong magenta cast can be a nightmare for sharp shots. Even more so with an energetic act like The Half Earth. Fortunately, keeping both eyes open I managed to catch a sharp shot while panning i.e. moving the camera at his speed. The resulting shot has blurring the background and his fretting hand with movement adding loads of drama.
4. Sleaford Mods at The Cambridge Junction
Sleaford Mods weren’t a firm favourite before I photographed them, but their simple stage set-up left no distractions and forced the audience to have all eyes and ears on them and their simple brilliance. I love the simplicity of the photos that resulted from it, particularly this one showing a little of the nervous-tick like movement in Jason Williamson’s hand. I left The Junction as a fan.
5. Courtney Barnett at The Cambridge Junction
Having 3 songs to shoot in was tough with Courtney as she’s so energetic, this shot shows that off beautifully. Because it was hard to catch a shot with the amount she moved about, I blitzed my cards I swallowing up 8Gb of space on the body I had with my wide angle lens i.e the entire card, with 30 secs left to shoot! This forced me to switch to my 70-200mm lens thus shooting closer than I would normally have done at this range and producing this. I think the technical term is “happy accident”!
6. And So I Watch You From Afar at Islington Assembly Hall
I fell in love with this band’s music as a direct result of this gig. They produced such a formidable wall of sound I was left flabbergasted. This shot was my best to date too so left well pleased and even better, it was favourited by BBC R1’s Daniel P Carter. Not bad for a night’s work!
7. Lucy Rose at The Cambridge Junction
I love the atmosphere of this shot, a result of the dry ice and lighting above all else. Furthermore because Lucy is obviously enjoying herself, something that’s true of all the times I have seen her live.
8. Rae Morris at Norwich Arts Centre
Again, atmospheric lighting in an intimate venue makes this a favourite but it’s not this that makes it a firm favourite. For me it serves as a reminder of making my first solid contact – her tour manager. As a direct result of this I have shot another 4 of my favourite gigs this year, 2 of which already featured in my top 10. Need I say more?
9. Maccabees at Cambridge Corn Exchange
Up close with one of my favourite bands, thank you very much! Plus, when you get a nice portrait of Orlando Weeks doing what he does best, it’s well worth it. P.S. Orlando – if you’re reading this my sister Becky said Hi!
10. Du Blonde at The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston
A trip to a tiny pub in a Dalston Backstreet produced this, one of the Jewels in my crown for this year. Why particularly? This shot was published by The Guardian to accompany their review.