Monday, 11 July 2011

Website Redesign...

Over the last one month I've shot three festivals and while doing so I was thinking that I wasn't really happy with my website. It was ok as a portfolio website but the problem was that all my new work was going on to Flickr and my blog is here. All of which was directing people away from my website.

I wanted to make a site that I could make the focal point of what ever I'm doing.

I think I'm going to use this blog and Flickr less and less while moving everything on to the new site.

I'm still going to be using Twitter and Tumblr as a place for announcements of my work so it would be cool if anyone that follows this blog followed me on those sites.

New website...

You can click the screenshot to be taken to the site.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Download Festival

Just over a week or so ago I shot Download Festival. There is so much to say about the weekend that I don't really know where to start or how to get it down (so I've been putting off writing this despite desperately wanting to do it). I'm finding it hard to know what to write.

Download was very much a weekend of extremes... I felt extremely scared, overwhelmed, happy, humbled, proud and frustrated with myself. I was pretty much jumping in at the deep end and I didn't really know if I was ready or good enough but the opportunity was too good to pass up and it out weighed my anxiety and self doubt/loathing.

It wasn't just a case of shooting a festival, I was shooting the festival as part of a team of photographers doing the official photos for Download. There was a level of quality I needed to deliver and as one of eight photographers, I felt going in as the weakest link.

I like to plan in my head how things are going to go and I couldn't really do this as there were so many unknowns going in. I also felt like I was going to be pushed (for the best) out of my comfort zone by myself and by the team.

From the minute we got to the festival site we began working, going out and shooting people and atmospheric shots. This is the sort of thing I've always wanted to do but shied away from because of my anxiety and fear of people telling me to get lost. I didn't really have a chance for the anxiety to kick in because I just had to crack on and deliver. I also had the mental back up of doing it for someone and something.

Normally these types of situation go like this in my head (similar to the Rolo Tomassi situation)...

"Can I take your photo?"
"Urrr what for?"
"Um.... just for me"

or I worry that if I try the sneaky approach I'll get...

"Why are you taking my photos? Don't do it."

As I was taking photos for Download it gave me a valid reason for doing it. People didn't need to know or care who I was because they'd know who I was working for. It's an amazing confidence booster and a massive difference to if it's just me. As well as doing crowd shots I pushed myself to do some band portraits.

I learnt a lot leading up to the festival and over the weekend. The other photographers were incredibly supportive and seeing everyone nailing amazing shots was inspiring. It made me want to take better photos (I totally thought it would have the opposite effect).

I'm happy with a good chunk of the photos I took, there's a load that I think could have and should have been better but it's given me a lot to think about. I really need to carry this standard of work forward and need to work on my focusing and shot selection. There's not really any excuse for putting up photos where the focus is off. Seeing your photos online full size really shows the flaws in them and I want to cut those down.

Some of the highlights were Japanese Voyeurs (as usual) on the Friday and Letlive., Trash Talk, Versaemerge and Your Demise on the Saturday.

I just hope this is the start of some good things happening rather than just a one off.

You can see the rest of the photos I took by clicking here. It's worth checking out the rest of the photos as there are some superb shots in there.

I'm sure this post is pretty garbled and missing lots of thing I probably should have said but this is what I can think of. I have some concerns about how I've been shooting which I may come back and address but I'm going to see how the next few things I shoot go.

I'm really hoping I can carry the positiveness I gained from Download through with me. The real test will be the LRG Roller Derby season championship bout. I want to do more portraits and as they will be just for me, we shall see how it goes (or doesn't as the case may be).

Monday, 30 May 2011

On a more positive note..

That last blog post was a bit of a downer but I thought I'd put up some stuff which was a bit more on the positive side.

I've officially caught up on all my editing which I'm really happy about and I've managed to upload it all.

Hearts Under Fire - Islington Academy

Hearts Under Fire - Islington Academy

MiMi Soya & Scarlett Girls - Facedown

MiMi Soya - Facedown

Scarlett Girls - Facedown May 2011

London Rollergirls Season 3 Bout 6

Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes - London Rollergirls

Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets - London Rollergirls

Miss Led - Big Chill House

Miss Led - Big Chill House

I photographed Miss Led painting a section of The Big Chill House in Kings Cross. She worked on it over two weeks at the end of April. We talked about the idea of doing a video and although I can't film anything on my camera I thought about editing a series of photos into a stop motion video. It was a lot different to shot. I spent less time thinking about each individual shots and tried to shoot a bit looser. I'm fairily happy with how it came out and I know how I would do it differently if I do it again (which I would like to do). Miss Led has another edit of the video with some shots of the finished rooms but I'm more interested how the work gets done than the finished pieces.

Rolo Tomassi & my anxiety

I'm just about getting back on my feet and getting on top of all my photography work. I managed to get a load of stuff I shot at the start of the month finished today. It means I can relax a little as it's not nagging me in the back of my mind.

I've been shooting a lot of shows over the last few months for Photo Pit and I've been pushing myself into situations I would never have gotten myself into because I want it to work and I want to be a better photographer. For the most part, it's been good and I'm glad to be pushing myself but it has backfired on me.

I was on Twitter a while back saying how much I wanted to shoot Rolo Tomassi playing at the Relentless Garage and they tweeted me back saying to email them and they'll see what they can do. I emailed and asked if it would be possible to go down and photograph their day (load in, sound check, backstage etc...) and they said that if I wanted to, to just come down and find them around this time.

So on the day I got all my stuff together and went to the venue but the band were running late so I just waited out the back. When Rolo Tomassi arrived they turned up at the same time as the two other support bands. There was probably 15ish people around who were all unloading vans and bringing the stuff into the venue. It suddenly dawned on me that I didn't know which one of the band I had been emailing (as it was a generic band email address). I assumed it was James but I couldn't really see him around to approach and when I did he was with a group of people. I thought about introducing myself to someone else in RT but I was overcome with anxiety and a feeling of dread.

All I could think about was the fact that if I spoke to someone else they wouldn't have a clue who I was and why I was there. The longer I stood there and the more I felt like a massive dick and a weirdo and the worse the feeling of dread got. It's the worst sinking feeling you could ever get.

I struggle really badly in social situations with introducing myself to people in general but if I think they aren't going to have a clue who I am then it becomes almost impossible. Once I get that sinking feeling and anxiety I start thinking:

"How the fuck am I going to achieve anything if I can't do something as simple as say hello? How can I expect Photo Pit to be a success if I can't grasp basic human contact?"

"Why would they know or want to know who I am? I'm not a good photographer, I am a nobody and won't ever amount to anything. I had an opportunity that I consider to be a big one and I've fucked it. I doubt I'll be able to work with them."

I go over all the other times I've been in this kind of situation and think of them all as failures, which brings out every other form of failure in my life. I start self loathing really badly and start getting really depressive. It all becomes one big downward spiral and I just feel so low. At that point, the biggest thing that runs through my head is the fact that I have to get out of this situation as fast as possible.

I started to have a panic attack and had to leave. Thankfully Ben Gibson was in Central London and was shooting the show in the evening so I bailed and went to meet him. I was even lame enough to have a little cry on the tube on the way into town. Ben did an amazing job of cheering me up and calming me down without even realising he was doing it.

It was after this that I realised that most people don't realise how hard some things can be for people or that someone can struggle with stuff that is just natural like social interaction. I'm sure most of this just reads like "BOO HOO" but it is what it is.

The show itself was amazing, Rolo Tomassi absolutely blew my mind and I am incredibly grateful for them sorting me out with a pass and for the opportunity I kinda screwed up.

The show itself was pretty hard to shoot which you can read about on the Photo Pit blog as well as see more photos from it.

Rolo Tomassi

Friday, 20 May 2011

Back from the dead

Is this thing still on?

It's been over three months now since I've updated this thing and I've only put up three blog posts this year. The longer I left it the harder it felt to come back and update it. So much has happened that I just didn't where to start and it was starting to make me anxious thinking about it.

I do want to make an attempt to update this more regularly but maybe not to the extent I was doing so last year. Maybe fewer updates but longer and more detailed? Who knows.

Glassjaw - HMV Forum

I've also started to think about shifting the focus of my blog slightly. I've written about it a few times but I suffer from depression (I hate saying that, it sounds so cliched) and have (at times) severe anxiety. This majorly impacts my life and my photography. When I have bad spells which happens a lot, I struggle to find outlets for it. I used to moan and whinge on Facebook but stopped because I was worrying too much about what people thought about me doing that. I moved it to Twitter and now regularly whinge and moan on there. The problem is I feel like on Twitter and Facebook it has no context and just looks like I'm all "WAH WAH WAH I HATE MY LIFE WAH WAH WAH". There are loads of 'friends' on Facebook and followers on Twitter who I'm sure won't want to read that so on here I can vent and rant which will do me good and people have more of a choice about reading it.

So... the idea is as well as writing about what I'm up to, what I've done etc... I want to write about how my depression and anxiety effects my photography directly so that maybe people can understand what it's like a bit more. Sometimes I think people don't appreciate how hard small and simple things can be and the kind of situations I get stuck in which mentally spiral out of control. I'm not sure how well I will be able to achieve this but I'm going to give it a shot.

Kevin Smith has been doing an excellent podcast with Jason Mewes which started by focusing in on his battle with drug addiction and after explaining all the things had happened, said that the podcast was a weekly intervention to make sure Jason Mewes was ok. This is my own personal intervention.

I'm in the middle of a very weird, scary and tough time at the moment which I'll explain soon.

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows - Underworld

Saturday, 19 February 2011

February Update

A lot seems to have happened since the A Day To Remember blog. Myself and Penny are still working on getting things ready for Photo Pit magazine and I've managed to shoot a couple more shows for it as well.

The first thing I shot was MiMi Soya at the Purple Turtle which was pretty cool. They've said they are interested in being involved with Photo Pit which is great. The show was good and they were so easy to photograph.

MiMi Soya - Purple Turtle

You can read more about the MiMi Soya show and see more photos on Photo Pit here.

I also got to shoot Versaemerge who were supporting We The Kings. I love VE and I've been pretty desperate to shoot them since Warped almost two years ago. They were my only regret from Warped last year. The night was pretty stressful and I could have done better with the photos but I'm happy with some of the results.

Versaemerge - Electric Ballroom

We The Kings - Electric Ballroom

You can read more about the show and see more photos on Photo Pit here.

About two weeks ago I spent the evening with the Fuel Girls again at Proud in Camden. It was a good night and it's always nice to spend time with Teta, Vanessa and Leonie. They are a good laugh and awesome ladies. The lighting was pretty strange and the photos are pretty hit and miss but I really like a few of the shots of Teta and Leonie while they were doing their hoop routine.

Fuel Girls - Proud Camden

Fuel Girls - Proud Camden

The other photos of the Fuel Girls from the night are here.

Last Saturday was the first London Rollergirls season 3 bout of the year and it was great to get to be there again. Both bouts were so close and really hard hitting. There were some pretty big slams and I was pretty lucky to get a shot of Kamikaze Kitten flying although it could have been sharper.

Suffra Jets vs Steam Rollers - London Rollergirls

Ultraviolent Femmes vs Harbour Grudges - London Rollergirls

The photos of Ultraviolent Femmes vs Harbour Grudges are here and the photos of Steam Rollers vs Suffra Jets are here

The day after the Roller Derby I went to photograph Miss Led who was being filmed doing a painting for a new Lynx campaign. It was a long day and it was lovely getting to watch Miss Led working again. We've been talking about working more closely together and I'm hoping this is the first step. I did feel a bit weird though as the person who was filming the day (Martin, from Stitch That) was very talented and professional. He had a lot of ideas of things that could be done with the video and I felt the total opposite. I felt very unproffesional and amatuerish. I was extremely worried about how the photos would come out and if they would be good enough.

You can see the video here...

Miss Led - LYNX Angels Will Fall campaign

There's more photos of Miss Led here and you can read more about the campaign here.

As well as doing all of this I've had to work at my day job. Between work, going out photographing and editing I'm shattered at the moment. It's been hard trying to get the photos sorted and online quickly. I feel like I'm falling behind. I've got a couple shows next week and I think I need to more organised before and after the shows.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Day To Remember & Photo Pit Magazine

It's been a busy week(ish) since I last updated here. Myself and Penny launched our project 'Photo Pit Magazine' and it's been quite intense getting our site up, sorting out email addresses and trying to organise passes.

Things are slowly starting to fall into place and we are making progress. The website is still a bit rough around the edges but we just wanted to have something up to try and get people aware of what we are doing. I wrote this on the Photo Pit blog which hopefully makes what we are doing a bit clearer:

We are aiming to create a music based art photography magazine. It may not be what people expect but I think we've got a concept which could really grow.

"We want to cover and promote the bands, events, festivals and club nights which we are passionate about as well try and showcase a different side to music photography. I want us to create photographic editorials which will push ourselves to create better images. We love music are going to attempt to convey the whole experience of being at a show and if we can do this you won't need to read a review. The photos should tell you everything you need to know.

We want to be at as many shows as possible and will be blogging about what we are up to along with images a head of the release of each issue."

Last Friday was the day we shot our first shows for this. Penny shot Facedown and I made my way to Brighton for A Day To Remember. I was pretty stressed as it was out first show, having to rush to try and make sure I got down there in time to make all the bands, also stressing incase something went wrong with the passes. I was also worried what would happen if I couldn't deliver on the photos. I got through the support bands (Bayside & Pierce The Veil, who were both amazing in helping to sort out a pass for me) but I was told due to having too many photographers (SEVEN!) that I would only be able to shoot one and a bit songs. When ADTR came on I just tried to shoot as much as possible and I feel like that screwed me up a bit. As I thought I was going to get kicked out any second that my focusing was off a bit and I screwed up a lot of potentially good shots by making simple mistake. The photos overall weren't bad and it was a relief to get the first show out the way.

We are still trying to spread the word about Photo Pit and we've got a long way to go but I feel a bit more positive.

I had a good meeting with Penny at the weekend.

After spending January with nothing to shoot, I'll have shot four things in eight days by the weekend (which may not sound like a lot but with a full time job and having to do editing, it feels like a lot). I photographed Fuel Girls on Saturday and am at MiMi Soya tonight. I've also hopefully got the next London Rollergirls bout this Saturday. Hopefully I'll have news of some other exciting shows soon too. Fingers crossed.

Bayside - Brighton Dome

A Day To Remember - Brighton Dome

Click here to see more photos from the show on the Photo Pit Magazine website.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

New year. New plans. New fears. No photos.

Last year I felt like I made real progress and I think I took more photos and covered more events/shows last year than I've ever done before. I was quite proud of that but this year is off to an incredibly slow start.

I didn't shoot anything in January which made me feel kinda shitty but I've been trying to plan, arrange and get some things started.

I'm hoping to be doing some work with Miss Led soon. She's got some great projects coming up and I can't wait to get started things with her. She is constantly a big source of inspiration and positiveness that I need.

My website went down for a while due to my hosting running out and not being able to afford to renew it but Andrew Kendall did me a massive favour and helped me set up a site on his Digital Photo Gallery website. I'm pretty happy with how it looks.

Check out my new site here.

I guess the big reason I haven't touched my camera much is my project 'Photo Pit Magazine'. Penny Bennett and I started talking a few months back about our frustrations at not being able to regularly shoot shows because we weren't working for anyone, so we decided to try and start something ourselves. It's taken a lot of conversations and thought about the best way to go about things and we are slowly starting to get into a position where we can start putting stuff out there.

It's been hard though because I feel like I'm hitting all the walls and closed doors I had when I wasn't working for anyone and for every step we make I feel like there's something else which keeps us from moving any further.

We have a lot of ideas and things we want to work on/happen. Our website is almost up/ready (just waiting for something to resolve with the web domain) but I am just starting to feel like this is all going to come to nothing. I am worried that we won't be able to get anything released or we will struggle for content etc... I worry about letting Penny down and I worry about all the people I've been contacting about this thinking it's bullshit or a waste of time. Part of me deep down wants to fold now and not go any further as I'm genuinely shit scared about this. I'm not going to though, I guess it's easier to crash and burn than to give up now. I have a LOT of things I'm worried or fretting about. It's taking a lot of planning and sort things out for the next few months which I'm not very good at. I want us to expand our team but it's another person to try and keep in the loop and keep up with what they are doing. Everything feels like another spinning plate and I'm waiting for it all to drop.

Mark Gamble has been a massive help with the design work for Photo Pit and he's also been incredibly supportive.

Hopefully at some point I'll have some new photos and something from Photo Pit Magazine to show around. Fingers crossed.

It's going to be a strange year.

Photo Pit Magazine

Photo Pit Magazine coming soon (hopefully).

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Edgar Wright

Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting Bryan Lee O'Malley which was great as I was a big fan of the Scott Pilgrim books. I also really enjoyed the movie and it was probably my favourite movie of the year (which meant I was pretty excited when I found out Edgar Wright was coming into Forbidden Planet). I've been a fan of Edgar since Spaced was on Channel 4.

The photos from the signing really aren't the best signing photos I've taken. It's a shame as Edgar was great, really nice and chatty with everyone and I wish I could have done that justice. I would love to photograph both Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg together signing. I reckon it would be pretty interesting.

I've said before that I struggle to keep signing photos different each time I cover them and I really struggled with this one getting the exposures and colouring right.

The signing got me thinking about how I would like to try photographing on a big film set and document a films production.

It's kinda weird thinking this was the last set of photos I will have taken in 2010.

Edgar Wright - Forbidden Planet signing

Edgar Wright - Forbidden Planet signing

The other photos from the signing are here.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Gallows - Two Shows/One Day

Gallows announced a while ago that they were going to play Grey Britain in full at the Electric Ballrooom (and they also announced shortly after that they were going to do Orchestra Of Wolves in full at the Dingwalls on the same day). I was looking forward to the show and the more I thought about it, the more it felt like an incredibly important show/day.

The band have been through it all since the release of Grey Britain ranging from parting ways with their label to playing some of the biggest shows they've ever played (supporting RATM) and I felt like these shows (especially the Grey Britain one) was the end of an era. There had been a lot of rumors and talk about them splitting up and I was thinking that if they were going to split, this would be a good time to do it or it would end up being a statement that they aren't going anywhere. One of the other special things about the GB show was the fact they would be playing with a string section.

I've always wanted to try and shoot the whole experience of a show and shoot more than just the live performance and I desperatley wanted to try it for this. I emailed the guys and pitched it too them and they seemed happy to let me come down which I was over the moon about.

On the day I joined them pretty early on for their first soundcheck and tried to shoot as much as possible. I didn't really feel comfortable shooting backstage in their dressing room as this was really the first time I've properly spoken to most of the band and didn't want to push things too far. The day must have been quite stressful and tiring for them and I didn't want to shove a camera in their face while they were trying to relax and calm down. That was a pretty big regret for me.

I found the Dingwalls show pretty hard to shoot. There was no barrier and the crowd were going apeshit. I got stuck on one side of the stage (by Steph) and didn't feel I could get over to the otherside to cover Lags and Stu so I don't feel there's as much variaty as I would have like. The show was superb though.

The Electric Ballroom was going to give me a lot more freedom to shoot as there was a barrier and I could move about a lot more. In my head I had a lot of things I wanted to try and do as well as places/angles I wanted to shoot from. The show seemed to fly by and I tried to do the things I thought about but it wasn't as easy as I had hoped and I didn't feel like I was nailing the live stuff as easily as I have in that venue before. I missed a few things like Richard Carter coming onstage for 'Black Eyes'.

They had said all day they wouldn't be doing encores and I was at the back of the stage as they were finishing 'Crucifucks' and Steph mentioned they had decided to do 'Orchesta Of Wolves' but would I take a photo of the five of them onstage before they played again. I was absolutely shitting myself. I was panicing about the photos not coming out and having blown a massive moment for them. I got up on Lee's drum stool and just shot as much as I could hoping SOMETHING would come out ok.

While I was taking the shot I just had a realisation that this is what I've always wanted to do and this was what I had dreamed about doing. It also felt like I was part of something great. I went back into the pit to shoot the last song and felt incredibly overwhelmed and emotional. If you'd have told me six months ago that I would have been in this situation I'd have laugh at you. The GB show was truely stunning and the band over the day were amazing to be around. They've all been incredibly supportive and I still feel on a bit of a high.

It may seem silly to some people and shit loads of other photographers are in this situation all the time but this sort of thing doesn't happen to me. The band, the music and taking those photos meant the world to me and it was one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

As a whole I love a lot of the photos I took but I do think I could have done better and I could have done more but I'm hoping from this I'll get the chance to do this again and it could be the start of something good.

I really want to thank Frank, Steph, Lee, Lags and Stu along with Clare, Paul and all of the Gallows crew. I know I've done this a million times already.

Gallows - Pre-show/Soundcheck

Gallows - Pre-show/Soundcheck

Gallows - Pre-show/Soundcheck

Gallows - Orchestra Of Wolves (Dingwalls)

Gallows - Orchestra Of Wolves (Dingwalls)

Gallows - Grey Britain (Electric Ballroom)

Gallows - Grey Britain (Electric Ballroom)

Gallows - Grey Britain (Electric Ballroom)

Gallows - Grey Britain (Electric Ballroom)

Gallows - Grey Britain (Electric Ballroom)

The photos from the pre/post show and sound check photos are here.

The rest of the photos from the Dingwalls show are here.

The other Electric Ballroom shows are here.

The photos are also up on Frank's website ( and (twice as many photos) are on the Gallows Facebook page.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Quick post about the Gallows shows

I spent Friday photographing Gallows’ two album shows in Camden. I’m waiting to see what happens with the photos before I put a full set online but I uploaded this one.

Gallows - Grey Britain (Electric Ballroom)

Friday is a day I’ll never forget. I’ll write about it properly soon.

Also everyone should be reading Frank's blog anyway but there's a few of my photos from both Gallows shows on there now if anyone is interested.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

London Rollergirls Season Three - Bout Three

Saturday was the last London Rollergirl bouts this year and it was a great way to go out. Was really happy that the Ultraviolent Femmes won their first bout of the season and Habour Grudges winning really opens things up. At half time they had a Space Hopper race which was pretty fun to watch. I was quite surprised to see they'd used one of my photos in the programmes.

I got to shoot from the middle of the track again and feel I had a bit more of a grasp on it this time but I felt I struggled a bit more than normal shooting from the outside. My camera was doing it's usual taking photos when it feels like it wants too and I got a new error message which I haven't seen before. As long as my camera holds out another week then I'll breath a big sigh.

I really want to improve by the end of the season and I'd like to be taking more photos of the whole event/more candids than I'm currently doing.

I'd like to thank (again) Erin and the rest of the London Rollergirls for being very welcoming and helpful. I really love this sport and love being (sort of) involved in it in a very small way.

Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes
Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes - London Rollergirls

Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes - London Rollergirls

Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes - London Rollergirls

Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes - London Rollergirls

Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes - London Rollergirls

Half Time
Half Time - London Rollergirls

Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets
Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets - London Rollergirls

Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets - London Rollergirls

Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets - London Rollergirls

Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets - London Rollergirls

Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets - London Rollergirls

More photos of Steam Rollers vs Ultraviolent Femmes are here.

More photos of Half Time.

More photos of Harbour Grudges vs Suffra Jets are here.

I feel like I'm counting down to Friday which is going to be a massive day for me. I'm pretty fucking nervous but it's all pressure I put on myself to perform and deliver. I'll write more about it soon I guess. I also want to do an end of year 'review' of sorts. It's been a big year with lots of highs and lows. Might be good for me to reflect a bit.

I've started working on a project I've had in my head for a little while now which could open some doors and be pretty exciting. It's one thing that makes me look forward to 2011.