Monday, 30 August 2010

Lights & Reading Comics In Public

Well this has been a pretty shitty week. It seemed to all kick off after my last blog post about my problem with Banquet Records and although I had a lot of supportive comments, there was also quite a few negative comments. I don't take compliments well but I take anything thats negative to heart. I know I shouldn't but I'm very hard on myself and don't have a lot of self confidence/esteem and negative comments just reinforce everything.

The whole situation couldn't have come at a worse time, I've been struggling again and insanely low in general and this seemed to be the icing on the cake. I saw that Lights was playing the Water Rats in Kings Cross and I had pretty much decided that if the gig goes well I'd carry on with photography and if it didn't then I'd take some time out from photography.

I felt like I'd hit a bad run of gigs and was really struggling to get reasonable images, let alone anything I was really proud of. With everything that had gone on I felt like it was all too much and didn't really felt like it was worth it.

Lights sounded great as she always does but the whole situation was terrible. I got there at a decent time but it was pouring with rain and the queue was huge. They opened the doors late so I was soaked and when I got inside they hadn't opened the main room so everyone was squeezed into the small front bar and once I got into the main room I couldn't get a decent spot. I got stuck and the person in front let two other photographers in front of her/me and I tried shooting round them but it just wasn't working. I ended up taking about 4 photos in the first 3ish songs and decided to leave. It's one of the worst gig/photography experiences I've had. It was so frustrating and just added to all the shit I was feeling. I'd pretty much had enough and had decided a break was the best thing.

This was the only remotely ok photo from the Lights gig...

Lights - Water Rats

I was pretty ok with my decision but the next day I got a message from Craig Burton about some photos we were meant to do together and I told him I think we'd have to leave it but totally regretted saying it. I don't really know why and I can't really explain what had changed as I was still feeling shit but I was actually excited about taking photos again.

I had planned to photograph some people for International Reading Comics In Public day and decided to try and do it anyway. I mentioned a while back on here that photographing people reading comics was a project I really wanted to do and I thought this would be a good starting point.

Thanks to rain and Craig being unwell I only got to shoot Mark Gamble. I've arranged to shoot a couple more sets of photos this week, so hopefully this all goes well.

The photos of Mark aren't amazing but it was nice to be out shooting again.

Mark Gamble - Reading Comics

The other photos of Mark are here.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Banquet Records & photo usage

Before I get started with explaining whats happened between myself and Banquet Records, I would like to say that I know I'm not the first person this sort of thing has happened to and I won't be the last. I'm sure this won't even be the last time this happens to me.

The second thing I'd like to say is if you don't know me or haven't had any dealings with me when it comes to photos and photography but I hope this is something that comes across in my blog. I love taking photos, I love going to gigs and I'm not in this to get paid. I do it because of how it makes me feel. I don't watermark my photos and I try not to be too protective over them. I want people to see my images. I happily give bands, performers and venues my photos if they ask for them. It means a lot when someone wants to use my photos. I've turned down paid jobs because I don't believe my photos are worth the money. Most people I've given my photos to credit me or link back to my website/flickr/blog. This is all I want but by the same token I don't want people to take the piss and walk all over for me.

A couple of months ago I found that Banquet Records had used one of my Gallows photos for a poster to promote a Gallows gig they were putting on. I sent them an email and asked for a copy of the poster. Although I wasn't overly happy they had used the image without asking but it was Gallows so I was happy to see a poster with my image on.

At the start of August, Gallows were playing another show which was put on by Banquet Records and I saw when buying tickets that not only had they used another photo of mine (without asking) on this new poster but they were also selling copies.

I emailed them again and said that I wasn't happy about this being used again without permission and that I thought the selling of the poster was going a bit to far.

They sent me a few emails saying sorry and that they weren't making money on the posters, they were doing it for the fans and as something to take away. After a few emails back and forth I got them to add my name and website onto the poster and thought this would be the last of it. I could have demanded money or demanded the poster be taken down and not sold but what was the point? At least people were seeing my name on the poster.

I bought tickets for the show and they arrived on Saturday and inside there was a flyer for a Banquet Records run club night (New Noise) which had the same image on as the one used for the second poster. I felt like the fact that this was the third usage of one of my photos without asking was just going too far and felt like I was being walked over.

I emailed them and said...

I hate the fact that I'm having to write this email again but I just received my Gallows ticket and inside the envelope was a flyer for New Slang which has my photo on it (the same one used on the Peel gig poster) which once again has been used without my permission.

If the flyer was made before I emailed and complained then I feel let down by the fact you failed to mention that you'd used it more than once (are there any more instances of this image being used?). If those flyers are printed again I want the same credit line from the poster added to them.

If the flyer was made after I emailed, how could the same mistake happen again?

I am happy for you to use my photos if you let me know what they are being used for and ask permission (as well as provide credit).

If one of my photos is used again without my permission then I will take this matter further.

I don't think I've said anything wrong in this email but again, as this was the third usage without permission, I felt like I needed to say that if it happened a fourth time that I wouldn't just roll over and let it slide.

These were the two emails I received from different staff at Banquet records...

The New Noise flyers have rotating images at the top and are used for maybe a few weeks at a time when there is a memorable show that's appropriate for the club night. These were made the week after the show, long before you mailed originally. I've made so many variations of this flyer and they are such a small deal that I wouldn't have even thought about mentioning it. If it ended up in your ticket order it's probably just because the mail order flyers are the more out of date ones. I'm pretty sure it's not the one we're currently using but as I say...I do so many and they're used for such a short amount of time I don't know.

The poster was amended with the credit and hasn't been printed without it since.

As your last line suggests you will take further measures if this happens again...well obviously that won't happen again as we won't use any of the pics. We'll re-do the flyer tomorrow (when I'm actually at work, it's my day off right now). Also although as the photographer you do own the copyright to the image itself - on the same token the subjects of the photo have as much right to tell you you can't use it / profit from it unless you were issued a photo pass or given permission. The band were stoked on the pictures as it was one of their favourite ever shows and that's why they were used.

We simply do not have the time to go through every picture and credit it, which is why we have our own photographers at a lot of these events. As much as I appreciate you're just standing up for your art it will only serve to restrict the ability for anyone to bring cameras to shows in the future without approval / being issued a photo pass in advance, which is obviously not something we want to do.

And I mean jeeze, this would be different if we were Live Nation or any of those multi-national corporate promoters (who will have lots of small print about photos, model release stuff) but I mean...what exactly would be the point in taking anything further, If you want the broken chair with no back or the recycled garden furniture...sorry, workstation I use in our office you're welcome to it... :)

As I said, we will remove the photo and use the official one for the tour ASAP. Obviously we can't do anything about the ones that are already in circulation.


Hi Derek

Yeah, just want to re-iterate what **** said really.

First off, genuinely sorry that you’re pissed about it… but as Dave said this flyer was done long before that Gallows Peel show poster was done. . You were probably sent a NN flyer with Frank Gallows on specifically because you’d ordered a Gallows ticket. Other than that, this flyer isn’t in ‘ciruclation’ as such. We have, for years, used different images on an otherwise generic New Noise flyer. Recently there’s been some sick shows at the cocks, and its to show that off and celebrate it... Currently we’re using the New Found Glory picture here

I wasn’t at that cocks show as I was at a stag do. And maybe this is why something wasn’t clear at the time, but the general gentlemen’s agreement we have is that if we’re letting someone use a camera, at New Slang, at The Cocks, at anywhere we do shows, then they’ll always let us use the pictures for promo on our site etc. I really don’t know what to do about all this. Its left a bad taste in my mouth about why people would want to take photos at our shows. Shows that, in more cases than not lose us money. Punk shows, by punks for punks. The whole ethic seems to be missing through the tone of the ‘taking this matter further’ comment. As I said last time this came up (which is the same issue for us, but understandably not for you), I don’t want to get to a point where we have to make people with good cameras (does an i-phone count?) sign contracts for release of photos… Do we ban cameras entirely? I dunno.

But yeah, both Dave and I failed to inform you of a flyer that was created about 2 months ago, as, quite honestly, we have other stuff going on in a day we have to deal with. We should have told you and for not doing so I’m sorry. But that’s about it.

It wont happen again, and I wish we’d never had that Gallows show for the hassles a poster and flyer has caused

I found both their responses to be rude and disrespectful considering they were in the wrong. I found the fact they have said in several emails that they are to busy to ask photographers if it's OK to use their images. It's just bad practice as a company and a designer and I think it's quite unprofessional. I know quite a few designers who would never do this as it could get them in serious trouble.

I found the last line about how he wished he hadn't put on the Gallows show because of the hassle I've caused to be both rude to myself and the band.

I don't like the fact that they think that because they don't have a camera policy at the gigs they put that it automatically gives them to the right to use photos without permission. I don't understand how you can have a 'gentleman's agreement' without actually agreeing it with photographers.

I really didn't feel like I was going to get any further with them through emails and just felt all that would happen would be that we'd carry on arguing. I emailed back to make sure they were aware that I thought they were being rude and disrespectful.

This was the reply I got...


Leaving aside the fact I find the talk of ‘taking this further’ also disrespectful against one of Gallows’ biggest supporters over the last decade, I’m sorry you feel this way.

Like I said below, genuinely sorry you’re pissed and sorry we both forgot that those NN flyers were even made

The irony is that we do all this stuff to please music fans such as you…

Nothing has been done with that image since the first email, and it wont be at any point again.

Up until now I've always said good things about Banquet Records and had a lot of respect for them as they've put on good shows and seemed like one of the good guys. I don't think they've acted like it in this situation.

I'm a big Gallows fan and the last thing I want to do is cause trouble for them. I am always grateful of the opportunities they have given me. If I have annoyed you guys or you would prefer that I don't take photos of your band I'll understand. I just want to be treated fairly.

I'm not sure what I would like to happen from all this. I feel like they don't really get where they've gone wrong and I feel uncomfortable at the idea of photographing any of shows now because they've made me feel like I'm the bad guy for complaining and wanting some credit/acknowledge/respect. Not money. I'm not trying to screw the shop over.

If I've done or said something wrong or handled this situation badly then please feel free to let me know Hopefully some other photographers can learn something from this as well as maybe some bands, record labels and venues.

Asking a photographer for permission doesn't take much and a little bit of effort to credit photographers goes a long way.

Thank you my friends and other photographers who have been very supportive on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Gun Rack? - Islington Arts Factory

My good friend Mark Gamble, played his last gig A Gun Rack? gig for the forseeable future at the Islington Arts Factory last night.

It's a shame because Mark has a great voice and insanely talented but he doesn't have the time to dedicate to his music as his graphic design work is really taking off.

Mark's been a great friend and the gig was a good send off.

I took a few photos which aren't great (I never did get to take a good photo of him live) but it was nice to take them.

A Gun Rack? - Islington Arts Factory

The other photos of Mark are here.

I've been having a really weird time as of late, my heads a mess and a bit all over the place and I just can't really deal with everything at the moment. I've been incredibly low and fed up this past week.

One good thing thats happened (I guess) is I entered a photography competition through Vice and I wasn't chosen as one of the ten finalist but I made it as one of forty runners up and my photo was exhibited at a Vice party. On one hand I'm over the moon that one of my photos was on the wall (and projected on another wall downstairs) in a public place epecially as it's a life goal to be part of an exhibit but I also felt really strange about the whole thing. I hate the idea of competing or trying to catch a break through entering a competition. It doesn't feel like I've worked for it. I guess the only way I can describe it is like entering a music talent contest rather than working away and being noticed on your own merit.

I wish it felt like the start of something good but I just don't get that feeling. I feel like it's a fluke and won't happen again. I was thinking of entering the NME photography competition but I just don't feel like I can put myself out there like that again. The building your hopes up and being disapointed is hard for me. I want to win but feel like it's cheating.

These photos from the night were taken by Zoe Jenkin ( ) and are on the Vice website.

Fuel Girls - Unholy (Aug)

There seems to be a theme of disapointing photos at the moment and especially after my photos of The Fuel Girls from the Unholy club night at the Scala I really wanted another shot at taking photos of them as I knew I could do better.

Thankfully they sorted me out with a pass for Unholy again which was going to be the last one and when I turned up there were two acts on before The Fuel Girls.

One act was a guy just making random noises on some sample machines and shouting nonsense down a microphone.

The second act was equaly bizarre (especially considering it was a metal night), it was a deadly serious, non ironic Britney Spears tribute act. She looked and sounded like her but it couldn't have been more out of place if it tried.

Britney Spears Tribute Act - Unholy

You can see more of Britney here.

Last time the venue had kept the lights really low and thankfully the lighting was a hell of a lot better this time. I got covered in champagne more than I ever had before and although my camera was soaked, I'm really happy with the shots.

The Fuels Girls are great and I can't wait to photograph them again. Not sure if I mentioned this before but I really want to shoot their aerial act.

Hopefully the girls will like these photos especially as they are so much fun to take.

Fuel Girls - Unholy

Fuel Girls - Unholy

Fuel Girls - Unholy

Fuel Girls - Unholy

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

Gallows - The Horn

The last two times I shot Gallows I thought my photos were pretty poor and really wasn't expecting much from the shots I wanted to take when I saw them on Thursday.

I went out to see them at The Horn in St Albans and they had Spy Catcher and Feed The Rhino supporting. Spy Catcher are good and I've seen them before but Feed The Rhino were a band I was really looking forward to seeing after their set at Hevy and they were a great band to photograph. The singer spent most of the set jumping in and out of the crowd and most of the band ended up joining him for the last song.

Gallows were great as usual and they had a pretty rowdy crowd. I got totally battered at the front and really struggled to take photos between getting pushed onto the stage and my camera steaming up. I ended up moving to the side of the stage for half the set and on stage by Steph for the 'Orchestra Of Wolves'.

I had a great time and the band seemed to really enjoy it.

The photos were better than I was expecting but still aren't anything special but at least I'm not unsatisfied with them.

Spy Catcher - The Horn

Feed The Rhino - The Horn

Feed The Rhino - The Horn

Gallows - The Horn

Gallows - The Horn

Gallows - The Horn

The rest of the Spy Catcher photos are here.

The Feed The Rhino photos are here.

The other Gallows photos are here.

Hevy Fest 2010

Recently I've been very behind on photo editing. I've moved house and between that and work I've just really struggled to find time to get down to photos. This has stressed me out quite a lot. Thankfully I'm all up to date and I've got about four blogs lined up which I need to get through and get up.

A couple of weeks ago now I had a photopass for Hevy Fest. Firstly I'd like to say that the line up was fantastic and I saw some great bands over the weekend but I thought the organisation was pretty poor.

Transport to and from the festival was a joke, there were barely any buses and the festival didn't put on any shuttle buses or extra services like pretty much all festivals that aren't close to anything. They hadn't made the campsite big enough so there wasn't enough room for everyone when I turned up on the Saturday.

The most unorganised part of the festival was the security. The festival organisers had stated that the photo pit rules were three songs with no flash. This is pretty standard and I think everyone expects to have those rules but the security changed the rules for every band and just made it up as they were going on. We were allowed three songs for the first band but every photographer was told that we 'didn't have the right type of photopass' to shoot the second band. This resulted in at least 25 photographers going to the box office and complaining. They restated the three song rule and sorted it with the security. During the third band of the they kicked us out after half of the first song.

The security were saying they were kicking us out because of safety but virtually every time they did there were no crowd surfers and no rowdy fans or anything like that. They just seemed to ignore everything they were told and did what ever they were felt like. I know we were 'press' and 'in the way' but I just think if you are going to make rules then stick to them. Don't mess us about as it just makes everyone elses life hard.

There were two smaller tents with stages and because of the high number of photographers they were limiting how many photographers could be in the pit at one time which meant I had to make sure I got to the stages early to avoid being turned away.

I managed to shoot Glassjaw, The Subways, Lower Than Atlantis, Throats, Devil Sold His Soul, Young Guns, Bury Tomorrow, Gallows, Comeback Kid, The Computers, Rolo Tomassi, Hearts Under Fire, Trash Talk, Santa Karla, Dead Swans, TRC and Feed The Rhino.

The lighting for Gallows was terrible and once again we were kicked out after one song and this resulted in me taking the worst photos of Gallows I've shot. Was so disapointed. Getting to shoot Glassjaw was a dream come true and I'm thankful for that experience.

Another band I loved that weekend was The Subways. Having seen them before there were several things I was hoping and waiting for. The first was Billy has a habbit of doing massive jumps off the drum kit and the second is he tends to get in amongst the crowd or stage dive during their last song which is normally 'Rock & Roll Queen'. I manage to get a good spot in the middle of the stage and I managed to nail the jump and I made sure I had my camera all set up and ready for the last song and the minute I saw him getting ready to jump in I made a quick dash straight into the middle of the crowd and got some nice shots of him crowd surfing. I was also reminded of how much I love photographing Rolo Tomassi. They have this really nice swagger and stage presence and are just so easy to shoot.

I had a good time despite the trouble with security (I'm very thankful to Hevy for giving me a pass) and I got to hang about with some good people including some fellow photographers Ben and Penny.

I feel a little disapointed in some of the sets of photos as I've stressed over these photos for at least two weeks and once I got them sorted I felt a bit like 'is that it?'.

Glassjaw - Hevy Fest

The Subways - Hevy Fest

Throats - Hevy Fest

Rolo Tomassi - Hevy Fest

Trash Talk - Hevy Fest

Larry - Hevy Fest

All the photos from the weekend can be seen here.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Bryan Lee O'Malley

I started reading the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels about 4 years and loved them straight away. The creator, Bryan Lee O'Malley was one of those people I never actually thought I'd get to meet unless I went to a convention in the states.

Thanks to the Scott Pilgrim movie (which is great) we managed to get him for a signing at work.

He was a really nice guy and I had a great time at the signing. My photos from the signings at work tend to be pretty standard but there's one where he looked straight down the camera which I think has come out really well.

I'd strongly advise you to see the movie and read the books.

Bryan Lee O'Malley - Forbidden Planet

Bryan Lee O'Malley - Forbidden Planet

Bryan Lee O'Malley - Forbidden Planet

The rest of the photos from the signing are here.

I've moved house and am without the Internet, both these facts mixed with being very busy in general means I'm still editing photos from Hevy fest and reckon I may have them done and online this weekend.

I entered a competition through Vice and although I wasn't chosen as a finalist, I made it as one of 40 runners up and there's a party tonight showing all the finalists and runner ups photos. It's going to be weird seeing one of my photos up on display in public. Not sure how I'm going to react. It's something I've always dreamed about and I may have a little panic attack or something as the tiny bit of attention I may get is something I'm not used to. There's an NME competition as well which I may enter but there's two categories, professional and amateur and I don't think I fit into either of those so I don't really know what to do or if it's worth entering at all.

I'm seeing Gallows again tomorrow night and I'm not expecting much photography wise as my photos the last two times I've shot them I've been disappointed with my photos.

Recently I've been looking more at other photographers work and I've found it a little soul crushing. I find it hard thinking about the fact I'll never shoot to the same level as these people.

I've also spent a lot of time daydreaming about shooting Warped next year for the whole tour. A guy can dream right?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Read comics in public day

For a while now I've wanted to do a series of portraits of people reading comics and a friend just sent me a link to an article on Comics Alliance about a 'Read comics in public day' on Sat 28th Aug.

This would be a great chance to start this project and do something cool to promote a medium I've spent 10 years involved in.

I'm looking for comic fans who are free on the 28th August in London, who can spare me 5 minutes at some point on the day for a couple of photos.

Depending on the response i'll either try and organise a time for each person or if there's a big response it might be cool to try and organise a big group/gathering in Trafalgar Square.

If anyone wants to take part and let me take there photo you can either leave a comment on my blog or drop me an email at

Hope this all makes sense and you can read more about the day here...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sick Of It All - The Borderline

After I left Underage Festival on Sunday I went straight to The Borderline to see Trash Talk, Polar Bear Club and Gallows supporting Sick Of It All. I wasn't sure what to expect from the show, whether I'd be able to get my camera, how packed it would be and how crazy the crowd would get. I'd also heard many stories about Trash Talk and how wild they could be. I'm sure one of these days that something bad will happen to me and/or my camera and I was pretty sure it was going to be at this gig.

Thankfully I managed to survive Trash Talks set despite the singer trying to suck/bite my throat. I'd heard a lot of good things about Polar Bear Club and they were really good and I'm definitely going to check them out again. Things started getting a bit more hectic when Gallows came on. One of the problems I have with The Borderline is that because of the shape of the venue and the way it's laid out, the crowd doesn't really get packed together tight enough to stop everyone falling about when a pit starts. Between struggling to stay on my feet, the pit and stage divers, I decided to move to the sides and even then I still got hit about a bit. It got a million times worse when Sick Of It All came on and I gave up trying to take photos after the first song or so.

I really struggled with photos at this gig, I just couldn't get to grips with the lighting (what little of it there was) and my flash gun seemed to be playing up and nothing really seemed to be working out. It's a shame really because this was a bit of a once in a life time gig.

I have to mention Paul who is Lee's (from Gallows) dad. He battled it out at the front and put me to shame. He also put in a pretty impressive stage dive too!

I feel really at odds with my photography as I feel like one day I'll be taking photos that I think are some of my best and then the next day I'm taking photos that I think are pretty disapointing. I don't really think I'm consistant with my shots. I'm not sure what to do or how to sort it out. I guess I need to find a photographer I trust to help me out so I can learn a bit more.

Trash Talk

Trash Talk - The Borderline

Polar Bear Club

Polar Bear Club - The Borderline


Gallows - The Borderline

Lee's Dad stage diving

Gallows - The Borderline

Sick Of It All

Sick Of It All - The Borderline

The Trash Talk photos are here.

The photos of Polar Bear Club photo can be seen here.

The other Gallows photos are here.

The rest of the Sick Of It All photos are here.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Hearts Under Fire - Underage Festival

Hearts Under Fire have had a really amazing run of festival shows recently and on Sunday they played Sonisphere and Underage Festival in the same day. I was hoping to shoot them at both but Sonisphere fell through because they didn't get back to the girls at all about my pass.

I headed up to meet them at Victoria Park for Underage Fest and despite some trouble getting in (thanks to a really disorganised box office and a million entrances for different people I got to catch them play. I really like shooting outdoors with natural light and I think what little style I have works in this kind of setting.

They were playing on a bandstand which meant there were big pillars blocking some of the view of Nicky and Steph but the girls sounded great.

It was really nice getting to chill out with them when they finished backstage and watched them be interviewed for the Red Bull Bedroom Jam website. I'm really hoping this is the start of something for them and they can carry this momentum on.

I think the highlight was watching and photographing Steph and Lexi having a water fight with their friend Tim (before having to do another interview soaking wet).

I'm hoping the photos of them backstage is something a little different from me.

They want me to do their next set of promos which I'm both happy about and kinda nervous. I don't want to let the girls down and leave them with a shit set of photos but I don't really want to pass up the oppertunity. I'm just not very good with models and getting something good will be a struggle. It doesn't help that the last set of photos they had done were done by Tom Barnes and were great. I loved the style. I know it's not a competition and I'm not trying to out do Tom but by the same token if the photos aren't up to scratch they will look even worse when put beside other great photos.

I'm crossing my fingers for some good news that may or may not come on Wednesday and I've got some photos from a gig I shot last night (Trash Talk, Polar Bear Club, Gallows and Sick Of It All) to edit and Upload. I'm also meant to be shooting Hevy Fest this weekend but I feel like thats going to go horribly wrong.

Hearts Under Fire - Underage Festival

Hearts Under Fire - Underage Festival

Hearts Under Fire - Underage Festival

Hearts Under Fire - Underage Festival

The other Hearts Under Fire photos can be seen here.