Sunday, 28 February 2010

London Rollergirls

I was pretty lucky and got the chance to go to a private/season ticket holders only London Rollergirls bout between the Steam Rollers and the Suffra Jets. It was the first time i'd shot a Roller Derby and was pretty nervous. Photographing people and performers is one thing but people speeding round a track is another. I knew it would be tough to shoot, as they are going round a track i'd have almost just one chance per lap to get the shots along with trying to shoot fast enough to get clear photos but not too fast to take away all of the energy from the shots.

The lighting was quite bright but it was high so it cast quite a few shadows and my current set up meant I couldn't get right up close into the action due to my lenses not being long enough.

I really wanted to get some good photos and really wanted to impress the London Rollergirls because I wanted the opportunity to shoot this kind of event again. I came away feeling like i'd cocked up this opportunity and felt like i'd been knocked down a peg or two. It kinda reminded me how much about photography I don't know and much I stay in a little comfort bubble with the stuff I currently shoot. Safe to say I felt pretty dejected.

There are a few shots I liked and thought came out ok but I felt I should (or could?) have done better. I just hope the LGR like the shots. Guess we'll just see.

Everyone should check out a London Roller Girl event. Seems like a great community.

More information on the London Rollergirls can be found here.

The other photos from the night can be seen here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rise Against

Just got round to uploading some photos I took at the end of last year. I took them for a website which hasn't as of yet used them. I can kind of understand why. I'm pleased with some of the shots but they aren't very commercial. They are quite expressive but due to the lighting, faces aren't very clear.

I was shooting at Brixton academy which is a great venue, its pretty big with a great lighting set up and large pit at the front. The only problem tonight was they seemed to flood the stage with light without really front lighting it very well. It also can be difficult getting good coverage of everything down to the size of the stage and it's hard to react and get from one side of the stage to the other.

It's always a joy to shoot in any of the larger venues and it's not every day I get to shoot big bands like these.

Poison The Well


Rise Against

I also Shot Escape The Fate and Hollywood Undead at Shepards Bush Empire, it was a pretty decent show and the lighting for Hollywood Undead was a dream come true. It was just spot on and I was pretty happy with my shots. Unfortunatly my laptop died just before christmas and i'd already backed up every thing except those shots. I've got one shot left of each band that I had emailed which i've uploaded.

Rise Against photos are here.

Thursday and Poison The Well photos are here.

Escape The Fate and Hollywood Undead.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Cupids Cabaret

I spent valentines day editing Gallows photos during the day and nursing my wounds from the night before. I had so much to do and was so shattered that I had to bail on taking some photos for 'Words and Pictures'. Sorry Julia.

Sunday evening I went down to what was meant to be the last show put on by Keith Suave. I think it's been hard for Keith because the shows have been great and it's a good venue but because it's Croydon not many people ever want to travel out, they'd rather go into town. The line up was more of a mixed bag of performers which I think worked very well. Banbury Cross and Beulah Bell are stunning and always put on a great show and Major Suttle-Tease would have stole the show had it not been for Banbury.

One of the performers was Frank Sinazi. He's a comedian who looks like Hitler but sings like Frank Sinatra. While being quite funny and clever it was very close to the mark and photograph-wise, it was too close for me. When you see his performance it's very easy to see that it's very tongue in cheek with a lot of comments on George Bush and Tony Blair but a photo could be so easily taken out of context and cause a lot more offense than his routine would. That made me feel quite uncomfortable.

The lighting was a little softer and different to normal but it was still good.

Banbury Cross

Banbury Cross is simply amazing. She is stunning and has a superb look. Her routines are so well done and really I don't think there's anyone doing what she does better at the moment. I'm really happy with how the photos of her that came out and one of the photos from her finale I think I nailed. Banbury is fast become a big muse for me. A lovely lady and easy/a pleasure to photograph.

Photos from the night are here.

The Banbury Cross photos are here.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Gallows - Kingston Peel

Second Gallows gig was at the Peel in Kingston. It always amazes me how two shows by the same band can be so different. The peel is such a small venue and with a band like Gallows, that just leads to an insane show.

Small venues can be a bitch to shoot in. Unless you get down the front early it's hard to get a decent spot to shoot from and for busy shows I find it safer to pick one spot and stick with it. It means you might not get decent coverage of the stage but at least you can get something without having to shoot over the top of peoples heads.

I think i've shot enough shows like this to kind of go into autopilot, it may not be the best way but I find a setting that works and stick with it. You have to be so aware of everyone around you as you get knocked about by the crowd, stage divers and crowd surfers. Changing settings a lot just doesn't work for me as I try and shoot quickly and try and protect yourself and your camera.

I came away from the gig with a swollen cheek, brusied knuckles, thighs and knees but it was worth it. Gigs like this where it's a struggle make me feel like i've achieved something and like i've worked for the shots.

Sharks and Blackhole


It's rare for me to get photos of Lee.

Lags and Frank ended up crowd surfer at the same time and ended up on top of each other and I think Franks smile is priceless. Think he was glad to make it back to the stage in one piece.

On a personnal note:
I've mentioned before on here that the last year or so has been a struggle for me and how important my trip to New York and Warped. I've got through most of it with a lot of support from friends and family but before New York I was in a pretty bad way and felt pretty hopeless. Music and photograph were what I held on to, to keep me going and give me something to work on. It's an escapism I can't really do without. What I haven't really gone into is how important Gallows have been for me. Through Gallows i've met some great people who have become good friends. Gallows playing warped was one of the main reasons I decided to go and I really think without them and without that trip I think I may have ended up doing something stupid because they gave me hope, it made me happy and gave me something to be proud of again.

Things are better but its still hard keeping my head above water and seeing this band give me a boost I really need. With both sets of photos from their shows and the other photos from this week (including the ones i'm editing from the last Glitter Room show), I'm actually proud of what i've done for the first time since last summer. I feel like for a moment that i'm winning a little.

(I may delete this last chunk out depending on how I feel as i'm not sure it reads quite how I want it to or conveys what I want to get across. I'm pretty sure it comes across quite cheesy and drama queenish.)

Sharks and Blackhole photos are here.

Gallows photos are here.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Miss Led / China town

Friday night I had the pleasure of photographing the amazing and talented Miss Led paint a wall in the offices of Secret London.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed watching people paint and draw, Miss Leds work is so smooth that its facinating watching her work.

It was a little difficult shooting as there was barely any decent light, it's also hard trying to do something that was different to the last time I photographed her.

On Saturday while in central London I had a walk through China town as it was the eve of the Chinese new year. It was so busy and lively. Didn't shoot as much as I would have liked but I got a couple of shots I liked. I wish i'd been able to go up and see the actual celebrations.

There should be another couple of updates over the next couple of days from Gallows at the Kingston Peel and The Glitter Room's valentines day show.

The Miss Led photos are here.

A couple more from China town are here.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Gallows - Watford Colosseum

If you haven't seen Gallows live then you're really missing out. More important than being one of my favourite bands, they are possibly my favourite live band and a massive muse for me. They have pretty much given me my passion back for taking photos at gigs and last year they were very crucial for me for personal reasons.

The thing that does it for me at Gallows shows is for energy and passion i've not seen anyone better than them. They give all of the shows everything they have. Frank is such an intense performer but there's also quite a few times where he seems so calm with so much going on around him, I like taking photos of those moments and I don't think i've seen anyone throw them and their guitar about as much as he does.

I also feel pretty fearless at times when photographing Gallows, I feel a lot more prepared to get into the middle of things to get some shots.

I was meant to see them at a charity show just before christmas but Steph was ill and several shows had to be postponed till now. After a bit of a mission of a journey involving loads of closed roads, snow and a sat nav trying to take us down bus lanes.

The venue was massive with a really high stage. The monitors on the height of the stage made it a little difficult at times to get a decent vantage point. The lighting for the support bands was really great, really strong lighting but when Gallows came on it became quite flat and a little harder to shoot.

The photos aren't great but i'm pleased with some of those. So thankyou to Gallows for constantly reminding me why I love taking photos of bands time and time again.

None The Less and Spy Catcher photos are here.

Blackhole photos are here.

Gallows photos are here.