Thursday, 29 April 2010

London Burlesque Week 2010

Last week was the London Burlesque week and despite being exhausted and pretty much out on my feet I made it down to three shows.

Burlesque is something over the last few years I've really grown to love. I've been interested in it for quite some time but didn't know really where to look for good shows or how (if at all) it was possible to take photos at them. The first burlesque show I ever took photos at was the 2008 London Burlesque Festival Newcomers show. Straight away I loved it and thought that this was a community I really wanted to be a part of.

This year's festival was extended due to growing popularity and looking at the line ups that I was going to go to the Newcomers Battle Royale show and the VIP Closing Party. I had a friend coming down from Scotland who was in the Newcomers show and the line up was filled with most of my favourite performers.

I was emailing Chaz Royale about coming down and taking photos at the shows I'd bought tickets for and he asked if I'd come down on the opening night and take some shots. I said yes obviously.

The opening night was very nerve racking and great at the same time. They had a big press session before the show and I was given a little brief of what they wanted. This put me out of my comfort zone but I really wanted to nail it.

Something not a lot of people know is I am insanely shy and find 99% of social situations unbareable and awkward. I find it very hard to talk to or approach new people and often don't. I'm sure I can look like a dick as there's always loads of people I've spoken to online but can't say hello to in person. I just get very flustered and panic and just can't do it. On the opening night though I spoke to Ivy Paige who I've spoken to before and Kiki Kaboom, Chrys Columbine, Maleficent Martini and a few others. Also took photos of some of the performers who were around too. This is a big deal for me and a big step forward.

The Newcomers show i've been to three years running and is always worth going to. You see some great up and coming acts but it's intense as there's normally a lot of performers. It was great to get to see my friend Hettie Heartache, she had a great performance and we got to chat quite a bit as well as take some quick pictures backstage. The photos I took back stage aren't brilliant as I really got flustered and rushed things.

Before the closing show on Sunday I spent some time around central London with Hettie and we got to talk photography and burlesque which is always good. We had a quick peek around a couple of galleries and I obsessed over this massive escalator in the National Portrait Gallery. The show itself was probably my favourite show of the week. Everyone was on top form, I got to see Banbury Cross again, Cici Darling, Catherine D'lish and loads more. Finally said hello to Cici Darling, she was really easy to talk to and I really should have done this sooner.

Over the week as well I spoke to a few photographers who shot the shows I was at and that really added to the community feel of the week. Beneath all of the backstage drama that can happen, I love the burlesque world.

One of the photographers I didn't speak to but saw his work was Boris Conte, his work was breath taking and I would seriously advise everyone to track him down and check it out. It kinda got me a bit down as this last month or two has been a big photography high and his work reminded me how far I've got to go to be where I wanted to be but I think I am making progess. I'm very happy with my shots from the week and I'm still recovering.

I got covered in Champagne three times, water and a massive amount of glitter but it was all worth it.

Opening Night

Newcomers Show

Closing Night

The escalator

I'm kind of on a big come down at the moment, thinking a lot about friendships that have fallen away (some are for the best) and things like money. I find it hard balancing everything and everyone.

I made a big school boy error last night, my good friend Mark Gamble was playing an accoustic show at Pure Groove for his birthday, I wanted to take some shots but left my camera battery at home. Whoops.

More photos from the LBW Opening Night are here.

More photos from the LBW Newcomers Battle Royale are here.

More photos from the LBW VIP Closing Party are here.


  1. Some killer shots from closing night!

  2. Cheers Keith, Those are the ones I was most pleased with.

  3. All Killer no Filler. Wish i had your eye sir.