Back in 2010 I made a video with one of my favourite bands Brilliant Mind at their practice room ( an old meat storage facility on an industrial estate. I have seen and photographed Brilliant Mind at loads of gigs and even done their first photo shoot.
Before the shoot we had a rough idea of how it would look and shot the video live with me in the centre getting the footage ( we did not have any shot list but I was familiar with the song so done everything intuitively). In hindsight there are loads of things I would change but I am still proud of what we achieved – especially considering we done four takes with one camera. It has a great D.I.Y. feel similar to some videos shot by bands in New York in the late 1960s.
Once I shot the video neither myself or the band had the knowledge and/or software to edit this. So it has been on a hard drive since I shot it. I am pleased to put it out there and make it public.
I did not attempt another music video until 18 months after this at then of 2011 – The Union Choir Your Melodica
Well I thought I would put together a review of my year in 2012 – mainly for my benefit to reflect on the things that I have done, and to judge how far I will have progressed when I look back next year. I have been lucky to work with some super talented and creative people in 2012- for that I am forever grateful
This was my first full year as house photographer at Newcastle o2 Academy – during the year I shot over 250 gigs there and at other venues. I have also done an array of music videos and photo shoots. I will try to put some of my highlights below.
The year started with me getting busy finishing the edit of the video for the single Your Melodica by The Union Choir. A year later and I still feel very proud of my first music video. I am looking forward to their album this year
Later in January I took on a commission to film Bridie Jackson and the Arbour album launch at their sold out gig at Gateshead Sage . It was a real test we used five cameras and a load of memory cards. We even filmed the two support acts Matt Stalker and the Fables, and Nathalie Stern. I spent most of January, and February editing this. It was a challenge and has led to more people commissioning my work.
Later in the month I did an impromptu photo shoot with Bird Island
At the end of the month I done the last ( for the moment) of my live acoustic High Bridge sessions with Tusk. Which we filmed in my studio – I love this band. I stopped doing these just because of limited time – I would like to do more of these in 2013
During the month I was busy shooting bands
February kicked off with Howler at The Cluny – where I got hit by of all things an apple thrown from the stage
It was a pleasure to do the first promo shots for Symphonic Pictures. I done the last Detroit Social Club photo shoot with Johnny and Dale, it is nice symmetry that I have done the first photo shoot with their new band. I can’t wait for their new EP later this year – they work so hard and have some fantastic tunes.
They were also the first band to take part in my AAA project ( more details of this project can be found in a earlier post) – here is an image from the shoot
In February I also started work on the Natasha Haws video for her first single Stepping Stone. It is a beautiful song. It was a real pleasure to work on this
Some of my live shots from February
March was a relatively quiet month – I was shooting a load of gigs and editing videos. The highlight being at the end of the month when the summer came to the North East coast and we filmed a live session by Fantasy Rainbow ( I just wish we could have better sound ). We were all blown away by the sheer talent of his performance. All the videos from this session are from one take. Ollie just got out of his car played his songs and left
Some pictures from March
In April we filmed a gig at historic Morden Tower featuring the mighty Watchers and the Chapman Family. It is great to have had an opportunity to film at a venue that is steeped in history . It was great that two of the best live bands around kept it loud for their sets. I am especially proud that the NME picked up the Watchers video for their powerful song Cut The Ribbon. Looking forward to more great things from them in the coming year.
I also filmed the last song of the night Kids by the Chapman Family
This was also a fun shoot with Darren Hubbard of Distraction Records for Narc magazine. Outside the public toilets on the Bigg Market.
Some of my live shots from April
May started with a trip to London to shoot the Dan Sartain at The Lexington – which was wow. One of my gigs of the year
I made a video for the Greeting Committee single Show Me The Lights of Home. It was a real fun shoot in adverse conditions – it was a rainy bank holiday weekend when we shot the outdoor footage. We all made the most of it and we made a mad video – of which I am immensely proud. We all put a lot of time and effort in planing and making the video on a very limited budget. I should also thank again Dan Horn for teaching me so much during the location shoot – and doing a great job as the man in the cow suit
A promo shot we took during the second day of the location shoot
I visited paris at the end of the month and got to see and shoot the mighty Howler – I think the shot below my favourite live shot of 2012
The first weekend of June was the weekend of Evolution Festival on the banks of the Tyne my image of T-E-E-D featured in the NME
T-E-E-D NME June 2012
Summer is a perfect time for outdoor location shoots – even in the North East of England.
We turned the inside outside with So What Robot to tie in with their single release Work and Play
We also got lucky with some early morning sunshine for a shoot with Tusk who have since signed with local innovative label Tiny Lights
You would think it was sunny on Tyneside during June – this shot is from a sunny June morning with Gem Andrews. I was also privileged to photograph Gem’s debut album Scatter cover in 2011
I also done a shoot with OFF! – it was such a buzz to be in the company of such legends – a little nerve-wracking but mainly very exciting
They also took part in my AAA project
Some Live Shots from June
July was the month I restarted my Instamatic for the People project of casual portraits of individual musicians taken with an instant print camera. One of my favourite bands Howler
relaunched this project .
They also were happy to take part in my AAA project – here is the contact sheet
I also done another shoot with So What Robot I love working with these guys – we come up with ideas – then workout how to make it happen. They are always willing to take a risk
Some live shots from July
August was a surprisingly busy month with photo shoots and video making, but not so many live gigs to shoot
The first Sunday of August was spent in an Italian Restaurant doing a location shoot of the band Bison Hunting served up on a plate. It was such a fun shoot . I am so happy that our ideas worked practice as well as in theory here is one:
They also took part in my AAA project
I also done a shoot with The Watchers – we done the shoot at sunrise hoping to catch some golden light – but all we caught was some clouds and rain. However that did not stop us and we got some strong images.
So pleased they have taken part in the AAA project
For the shoot I did with Retriever – we did get that golden sun we were hoping for
They also took part in my AAA project on a different day at their practice room
Ollie Catt or Fantasy Rainbow also took part in my AAA project – he liked the images so much that he used them as his press shots and were featured in magazines and on websites
On the same night I took some shots of the Jacuzzi Boys – who were super friendly and definitely wanted to do some interesting shots. I photographed them for my Inatamatic for the People project and took a band portrait which is one of my favourite shots of the year and when writing four month on they are still using the shot as their Facebook page profile picture
I also done some shots with Franz Nicolay – the last time I saw him was when he was playing with the Hold Steady.
He also took part in my AAA project
I also made two videos in August the first for Sonner for their epic We Go Forth Tonight single – it was great working with them and I hope you like the video we made.
I also made a video with a completely different style and as much fun – super proud of this
Some live shots from August
September was mainly about live gigs and editing videos.
I did take this promo shot of Sonner when we were filming extra footage for their video in early September
Some live shots from September
During October I was busy with photographing and filming gigs.
I took this shot for Narc magazine of Fearbox
I took this shot and others from the Soundcheck before The Union Choirs gig at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle.
Some live shots from October
November was my busiest month of the year for gigs.
This is a digital shot used to test the lighting ( a modern day Polaroid )
I am also excited by a series of themed portraits that we have done with the super creative Peculiar Disco Moves. Here is one image from the series more will follow in 2013
I also made a video with The Prison Library of their song Certify which is part of their No Fireworks EP release. It was a challenging shoot as it was in a working studio so we were limited with the space and how we could light the room. However I love the energy of the song and the way that we have captured it.
You can see the video here
As it was the end of the month it was also the last gig for Sonner . They played a storming set at Plugged Inn in Sunderland. Here is their goodbye picture
In December Rizzle Kicks were kind enough to stop their sold out gig O2 Academy Newcastle while I changed my memory card and pose for some shots… busted. Super cool guys. I never knew that I could still blush
Some live shots from December
Well that is my year in review – certainly fun, and very proud of my work . Thank you to everyone that has helped me out and worked with me throughout the year.
I am working at something I love doing and I hope I can keep moving forward in 2013
I was reading an article recently about how music photographer’s should promote themselves. It made me realise that I should do more, although I do feel people will get sick of hearing the usual just shot this, done that etc. However if you do not promote yourself people will think that you have nothing going on.
Currently I am very busy with my photography I am shooting live gigs, doing promo videos, editing a five camera live video shoot that I directed, and doing album covers and press shots. I will be adding more information about these soon
This week I have photographed seven bands over three gigs. Some of the images are below:
I did have one disaster I shot a gig by Nero – who are DJ duo who stand at the top of a 7 metre plinth – and all you can see are there two heads above the parapet. Before the gig I tried without successa to get permission to get access to the balcony or stage so I could get some interesting shots. I have sent them to Newcastle Academy – but I doubt I will put them anywhere else. As ever I was prepared and knew what to expect and tookj my 70mm-200mm lens for the close up shots. I will learn from this and move on.
Here is one of the better images:
They say you should end on a high. Back in January I done a video session with Tusk in my studio. I was pleased with the lighting and the black background, and the tight composition. I think they sound fantastic. We also done some photographs – here is one of them below:
I am very proud of the video and the camera work of my team Daniel Robson, and Jill O’Donnell. I finally edited the first song this week.
Thank you for reading this – I will hopefully be updating with more things soon
The people from Teenage Cancer Trust have dropped the buckets and some branding for the gig on Wednesday.
Although it is a free gig I am confident people will give generously on the night. I always think the best of people and I know that my friends and people visiting will donate what they can on the night – that is all you can ask for.
At last ,I am pleased to announce that my Instamatic for the People exhibition will be at The Cluny in Newcastle. There is an opening on Wednesday 25 May between 6pm and 7:30pm with a gig from 8pm in The Cluny. In the spirit of the exhibition everybody is welcome, it is a free concert but there will be collections for Teenage Cancer Trust – please give generously.
The project has been about the musicians of the North East and is a way to document how our music scene is in 2010/2011, I hope to revisit the project in a few years to see how everyone has progressed. It has been interesting looking at the images and seeing the seasons change some pictures in the sunshine at Narc fest in The Ouseburn in July with people in t-shirts and others taken on snowy December night in Sunderland.
This is a totally democratic project where everybody has the same status – all bands are featured equally and all members of the band are featured equally. For the exhibition each image will be drawn at random and displayed in the order they are drawn.
I spend a lot of time at The Cluny and it is an honour to have an exhibition at the venue where I regularly photograph gigs, and where many of the images from the exhibition were taken.
There will be a book featuring the images from the exhibition available to buy online with all proceeds going to Teenage Cancer Trust.
The opening night gig will feature bands that have taken part in the exhibition
I am so proud that The Greeting Committee, Brilliant Mind, and Gem Andrews have offered to play the gig. They are all acts that I love and their musical styles are quite different – it will be a fun night.
Simon Donald is someone who I have known for years and it is an honour that he is going to host the night in his own inimitable style. He is a long time supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust.
David Burn from Detroit Social Club is doing a DJ set -I am grateful he has taken time to support this charity event even though Detroit Social Club will be playing at Evolution Festival a few days later.
Some of you may know that I have been taking instamatic images with my Fujifilm Instax camera for the past few months. I aim to document primarily local musicians in 2010 and have an exhibition towards the end of the year or in 2011. It will be interesting to reflect on our vibrant local music scene in years to come ,and all being well I plan to make this a yearly project.
I do not direct anyone for these images in the way they pose I just want to document people as they want to be represented in 2010
A big thank you to everyone that has participated so far.
I will be putting the images in the gallery very soon
So far I have over forty participants, but will be adding to this in the coming months.