Turnmills… Where I got
I had sat down this week to write about the evolution of my work over the last
5 years. A brief discussion on my fanpage had put me deep into thought about my
style and how I have pushed myself in a certain direction of late, but suddenly
it struck me that if it wasn’t for this one weekend all of this would be
The closing party of an icon 21-23 march 2008. Now many people ask me how I got
started in the industry, and I personally feel this is the key weekend in being
where I am now. I learned a lot about professionalism and networking but
ultimately got lucky. I had shot the Friday night in the venue for someone and
managed to get chatting backstage to someone who has been instrumental in my
career – A mr Paul Stix. Now ill be honest I have no idea what the discussions
may have been about but come Sunday Paul knew my face and as luck would have
it, the photographer he had hired to cover the event was a no show. Following
on from this weekend Paul approached me about moving over to Ministry with the
flagship brand ‘The gallery’ and coming up 5 years on I have been lucky to
spend many a happy night shooting the shows.
So that’s really how I
got my big break, but the thing that has struck me today going through the photos
is just how many other people I met that night not realising just how important
they would be to me over the next 5 years on both a professional level and a
personal level. I guess it shows just how small this industry is in reality and
that there really are some incredible people who have been involved with it for
a number of years. Turnmills you have a special place in many peoples hearts,
there were memories for me as a punter but it also means much much more….
Now we have all seen
the pics of how the building now stands and it saddens us all. But lets
remember it for what it was, not bricks and mortar but memories, the
foundations of friendships and to some of us our working lives.
So less talking and
Alex Anderson and Paul
stix in the background
Mr Anderson again and Nik Wilson (who I had the pleasure of working with for a number of years before he went onto huge things in America)
Ed Coward (on right) – The crazy guy who has over the years turned my photos into art
The people of the moment, we went on till much longer than planned. It really was a special night. (Bernard 5 years on and you still dance the same way! HAHA)
The line up for all 3 nights, I still have posters in my collection.
Danny rampling + some swirly nonsense which to this day I hate.....
Last weekend saw me down a venue which I really love shooting – Electric Brixton. Now this was my
first trip to the venue in 2013 after shooting a number of shows there last
year for a long term client who puts events on there. It’s always nice to take
a step back from venues I cover on a weekly basis just to keep the mind fresh, add
to the portfolio work which has slightly different sight lines and just
generally try something a bit different.
blabbering on about that – the show was one I was looking forward to, with the
theme being ‘super you & me’ I expected lots of people in daft outfits
ready to party the night away and I wasn’t disappointed there. One thing which
I did find slightly annoying was that I felt the incredible production was let
down a touch by a massive over use of the smoke machine, smoke machines and
events come hand in hand but sometimes I feel on a personal level ‘less is more’
and having a venue filled with the stuff im not the biggest fan of.
Now as photographers
we all love to show the killer shots, you know those moments when we nailed it
and want to make other photographers weep with envy, whilst fueling our own
fragile/inflated egos. But I think that sometimes its important to show when it
goes wrong, like here with luke when he jumped back a long way swinging his arm
nearly taking my face off. Personally I always try to make sure the artist has
space, the dj booth/stage is their work area and this is something as
photographers we must respect. However on this occasion the big void in space I
had left proved not to be enough and luke managed to clip me in the head by
accident. No major harm done but it just shows that no matter how we prepare
accidents can still happen.
So now we have a whoops moment on the table we can go back to the ego shots of a mixture of pyro, lasers, hands, strobes and that whole heap of smoke I mentioned earlier. Fairly standard shots by now on my 1DX and sigma 15mm fisheye & canon 16-35 set ups but they're important to not neglect no matter how often we may have shot them.
This week saw me catching up with one
of the icons in the Dance industry Mr Paul Oakenfold (notice I said Dance not
this current EDM fanboy bandwagon). Now I was hoping to have this updated with
a piece on a recent press shoot I had booked in with Paul but sadly we had to
reschedule due to a clash in scheduling, so instead its about last years shoot
and the weekends show at Ministry.
Something I have always tried to stick
to with Paul when shooting him live is not to use flash when he is on the
mixer, now not only do I actually prefer this look but my current kit has
really made this much more fun to shoot this way. So expect to see more and
more shows where I simply leave the flash in my bag.
Here is one of the shots from the 2012 shoot. It’s something that I am incredibly proud of, not least because I grew up listening to Paul’s music but also because it is on display in the Hard rock hotel in Las Vegas.
I am a big fan of location work and I have invested heavily in portable lighting solutions so I can shoot this way. White backgrounds in studios just really do not quite entice me as much as going into a fresh location we have discovered to create something different. The location we had here is actually the rooftop terrace in the hotel Paul was staying in which was quite handy for any outfit changes/equipment storage.
The shot is simply lit with one large 95cm Octabox on my Elinchrom ranger.
Well 2013 is under way for me and the blog is now here.
I wanted to finally start to write more about the thoughts I have in relation to my work and the questions I get asked by fellow photographers and music fans. January is always a month I take time off as outside of this period I don't really have any time to get away from it all and give both my body and cameras the rest they need.
This january was a touch different though and instead of going for my usual winter break and sunshine I decided to finally venture to a place I have wanted to visit for a long long time - Berlin.
Now it might seem strange to go find a
climate colder than the UK on a break but there was something interesting to me
about this particular city in the winter, and I really wanted to just go and
listen to some techno and not worry about having to worry about what shots I
need for clients. The trip was meant to be 4 days but somewhere along the line
I ended up with some chest and back pains, which meant an additional 5 days in
a Berlin hospital. Ok so a great way to relax away from the UK stuck in a bed
in a strange place, machines strapped to me with food which wasn’t what I had
anticipated when I booked my weekend away.
Away from this I did however manage to
find some time to relax and just shoot some pieces for me. The plan was to
shoot the mix of architecture Berlin had to offer, however after only a few
hours of being in the city I became more fascinated with its people and they
way they interacted with their surroundings. So I spent several hours a day
wandering about the city, jumping on and off various forms of public transport
simply shooting people in their natural surroundings.
Full gallery can be seen on my facebook page here.
Back to work on the 25th Of January saw me take on the task of shooting both the opening night at ministry of sound and Hospitality DnB at Brixton academy at the same time. Now in hindsight shooting two of the biggest events in town that night on my return may have not been the brightest idea, but I really enjoy a challenge and it was a great way to kick my year off. I was shooting the production at Hospitality for Rob @ zeroDB live and continuing my residency at Ministry as the in house photographer for another year.
Whilst away in Berlin I managed to shoot more black and white work and this is something I have tried to push more of initially since being back covering shows in London. I am a huge fan of colour however sometimes I just really like to have something a bit different to what I usually shoot thrown into the mix. Wiping out the colour and simply working on capturing a moment of pure emotion can be really special.
Anyway that’s enough for now from the start of the year. I would like to thank my good friend Tom who has put many an hour into both building my website last year and also integrating the blog so that it is a part of it. For those who like the look of what they can contact tom on facebook