And here we are – 5
Years. That’s how long I have been lucky enough to be working on events at
Ministry of sound as of this weekend.
It’s amazing what can
happen in 5 years, friends meet their life long partners and start a family
whilst others lose everything. Ok so enough of the philosophical crap (for now
anyway). For me this has been an incredible period in my life, I grew up with
ministry. I bought the magazine religiously (RIP the best music magazine ever)
the cds, heck I even managed to get myself into the album artwork in the 2002
annual. Some may like to try and slate the brand but in reality there is
nothing bigger in club land as a global entity and with the way brands are
being wiped out overnight in the current market I doubt there ever will be.
Over the years I have
spent many an hour in the box, and when the place is going nuts it really is
special. Now in my former career I was fortunate enough to compete in a couple
of large athletics events, and you know what the buzz of the box on a weekend
really did replace the hole in my life from losing the thrill of competing in
front of thousands.
Through ministry I
really have been lucky enough to evolve not only as an artist but as a person
and I have made friends who I feel utterly honoured to have in my life now. Ok
so those who know me may know I sometimes like to moan when things are not
right but part of that is because to this day whenever I am in this place I
want to keep pushing myself to create something that represents a brand that is
so close to my heart.
This brings me onto my
work. There might be some who don’t agree with how I shoot events, but I
guess being around for 5 years in the same place says something right? My style
has evolved massively in that time, and you know what it’s had to. When I first
started I didn’t really have a clear vision like I do now, but in a short
period of time I really understood certain things about what I wanted to
achieve and how I could achieve it. Back then I was on a 30D and some cheap
sigma glass, which I still have to this day. I love that camera it was my 21st
birthday present from my family and it was a real workhorse for me. I am lucky
now that I have been in the position to massively upgrade all of my kit but I
still need to be able to read light with how I shoot.
Many thousands of
pounds and many hours of studying the lighting, watching the crowds has really
helped me push my look into something which I feel is clean, simple and
elegant. Now im not saying people need to buy X/Y/Z kit but in reality some
shots I have got in the last year or so were simply unobtainable on my old set
up. Anyway im wandering off on a whole other tangent here when this is about
achieving a goal I set for myself when I first started. I always wanted to make
it 5 years here.
The funny thing about
writing this and going through my old image libraries is I can really notice
change, and sometimes cry/cringe at a shot that I used to think was cool…… I
guess tastes change, but our focus shouldn’t.
Anyway enough waffle for
2008 - and my first
few shows at the club.
2009 - where a shot
that to this day is still one of my best. Its featured on album artwork, event
flyers and even is the base for the design of the Ministry of sound headphone
A big beautiful smile,
I don’t know why but this smile just makes me smile whenever I see this photo.
It’s real and honest… No dodgy fake orange skin and ‘TOWIE’ style here…
2010 – In 2010 I
started to get addicted to low light non flash work, my kit struggled compared
to these days but the Richie Hawtin shot to this day still lives on and
features on the wall in the ministry of sound office.
2011 – Looking into
new looks 2011 saw me testing off camera flashes, now id still love to shoot
more of this, but the sheer ferocity of the sound system caused flashes to
vibrate all over the place, and not all djs are happy with flashes going off
when they’re working.
My angle… I never got
tired of shooting the strobe and showing the club going off.
2012 – When from the
middle of the year and I had got my new shiny Canon 1DX I could start to do
less and less flash work. For me it works, some might not agree but that’s the
beauty of the world we live in.
One of the last shots
ever on the old VIP balcony (RIP)
And so that brings us
to 2013 – Now I’ve not made it a big secret that I have once again been trying
to hone my look again. I was in a dark place in my life and managed to find
something on a trip in Berlin that just seemed to work. Im more happy than ever
with some of what I am creating, yet I have to be careful not to overuse it.
So there it is… 5
I would like to thank each and every person who has supported me, the friends I
have made, the moments I have shared…. Its been amazing. Who knows what will
happen over the next 5.
Following on from part
1. Days 3 and 4 were where I really got to kick things into gear. With Sasha
having his album launch at ministry of sound and Loco Dice finishing off easter
at Electric Brixton.
Now Sasha is a lot
like John Digweed in terms of how he likes venues to be lit (yes - dark!) but I was more prepared than ever for this, renting another fast prime
from the guys at lensesforhire for the weekend. This meant along with my 50 and
85 1.2 lenses I had a 35 1.4 to play with. Now the Dj booth at ministry is
tight at the best of times, let alone when a dj and all his mates are in for
the party, and if it wasn’t for the wideness of the 35 over even my 50mm I
would have found the night a lot, lot, lot harder to deal with. Ministry is a
club I obviously shoot often, but its not often that we have a night that’s quite like this in terms of darkness anymore and so I felt that it was
perfect to really push the new look I had been working on recently and used to
good effect at Bedrock a couple of days previously.
Early on in Sashas set I could see a lot of people using their phones
with lights on to film, this along with a heavy presence of smoke instantly
made me think about a shot with a lot more depth and atmosphere I could
achieve, utilising the light from the mobile phones as a backdrop against a
dark Silhouetted Sasha.
One moment which I had
never seen in the venue before, was when Nic Fanciulli was playing and a girl
decided her heels were too much and that the DJ booth would make a nice place to
‘hang’ said items, much to the amusement of all of us around at the time.
So with Sasha complete
the finale was going to be a corker, with a sold out show at Electric. Having
shot here many a time I know the lay out but I was absolutely amazed with the
amount of stage production on show whilst on my pre doors walk about. I could
tell from what was set up that this was going to be a real joy to work on, and
you know what it was superb. The music and the vibe really got me into a zone
with which I wanted to keep pushing the new look further and further, going
darker and darker on what I felt I could achieve with each shot. After months
of creative blocks I was free, I could just let loose and my camera was an
extension of my thoughts.
Personally for me my
stand out shot is one below, one which has divided opinion on my fan page and
with my friends. Its something many could argue is a poor photo in terms of
‘technical’ output, but the feel of it for me is what makes it so special.
There are rules many think I should adhere to, but I have never had this
mindset and have always wanted to create my way.
The response from this
show has been phenomenal with shows being booked and requests from clients to
keep pushing the new style I have evolved. I will keep on pushing it as far as
I can go, and I am absolutely loving doing so right now.
Many thanks to www.lensesforhire.co.uk - Personally
their service is one of the best I have ever dealt with, with a personal touch many
business seem to have ignored. I recommend them highly for anyone in need of
Ok so Easter was a few
weeks ago now. However I have been very busy with deadlines, which have to gain
priority over any of my self obsessed mumblings that might be considered this
Easter always is a crazy few days for me, usually chasing my own tail whilst
getting from event to event with little or no sleep. This year wasn’t any
different with the added pressure of the rearranged shoot with Oakenfold on the
first day of the run. With Paul flying back
into England from LA for a few days it of course made sense to fly him in a day
early to reduce costs and fit a shoot in. The location was something myself and
his management had put together in order to be able to create a number of
different looks that can be used over the following 12 months press releases.
Now many would say just rent a studio, but there’s something a lot more fun and
potentially iconic in renting a strange location, lugging in several pelicases
of lighting kit and just shooting solid for an afternoon.
For now I am having to
hold back on releasing the images from the day due to how the staggered press
campaign has been set up. But here’s a little behind the scenes shot of me
looking as stupid as usual with the rest of the team.
So after I had loaded
the kit into the car it was a short drive across London for some grub and prep
for the second instalment of day 1 – Bedrock. Now bedrock is one of those
events that has an incredible following, Mr Digweed really is a true gentleman
and honestly I find him a true pleasure to work around. Now this might sound
fantastic and easy, but even though John has brilliant people skills he likes
one thing with his events and that is DARKNESS… I used to approach this
differently, but now I am shooting on my Canon 1DX I really get excited about
what I can create. This was the first real opportunity to push the evolution of
my new darker black and white look, which I got hooked on whilst going through
my images from Berlin. Now this was a big risk as Bedrock isn’t a small event
to go changing things but I trusted my instinct on this one and produced
something in my opinion that reflects the atmosphere of what went on that
Overall after day 1 I
was feeling like id hit it hard but was feeling incredible about what I had
already achieved in 24hours.
Day two saw me back
continuing my residency as the in house photographer for The gallery at
ministry of sound. Now with this line up being a real vibrant trance affair the
images I felt couldn’t be shot in a similar way to Bedrock, I needed to keep
the shots bright and colourful but retain the elegance that I strive for with
my look. Super 8 & Tab being the headliners I knew I could get away with
not only getting in close but also generally just enjoy some really uplifting