Nick Hollywood - Freshly Squeezed label boss and totallyradio DJ
As well as photographing Juice 107.2 presenters on my last photographic trip to Brighton, I was asked to shoot a set of photos of a large number of presenters on its digital sister station totallyradio.com. Given I needed to shoot 20-something varied portraits over two days I decided to do something I rarely do - I shot them only with ambient light.
It’s a rarity that I step out with nothing more than a camera and diffuser/reflector, but this time it was the best way to go. And I was really pleased with the experience and the results. The photos still look like ‘my work’ thanks to some pools of nice light (cheers, weather gods) and the speed with which we could move around was really liberating.
This was my favourite of all the shots. Nick runs the record label Freshly Squeezed (home to acts such as The Correspondents) and presents a show of the same name on totallyradio, mixing electro-swing, jazz and all sorts of other “vintage influenced but contemporary” sounds. Whether he has appeared in any Sherlock Holmes films, I failed to ascertain.
As a side note, the assistant for this shot, holding a diffuser to camera left, was none other than ‘chap-hop’ legend Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer. Only in Brighton…
Derby City Centre from Derby Cathedral
Pano shot of my home town from the top of the cathedral, from Full Street and the River Derwent on the left round to St Werburgh’s and Uttoxeter New Road on the right. Hover and click the right hand icon, then click on the pic again to see the photo larger (that’s how you do it on a Mac at least). Sadly, tumblr won’t upload the full res version for you to explore.
The version in this gallery comes up a little bigger if you click it and drag the window out as big as your screen (it’s the first shot in the gallery).
Juice 107.2 Breakfast Team - Dan Gasser and Hanna Neter on Brighton Pier
Last autumn, the good folks of Juice 107.2 radio station in Brighton invited me back to shoot more portraits for their website and advertisements. We wanted something nice and bright, but quirky, for the very funny breakfast duo of Dan and Hanna. We ended up getting permission to shoot at the Dolphin Derby on the end of Brighton Pier.
Click here for a piece The Guardian ran about Dan and Hanna, featuring another of my photos (from a previous set).
Shoot assistant: Hannah Smith
I’ve created www.photobrains.co.uk as a home for my own independent photography workshops and one-to-ones. In future I won’t blog about that here, but as we’ve just announced the first workshop - a beginners’ digital photography workshop at the Photo Parlour in Derby - here’s the flyer. Click here to see more info and to book a place.
Instrumental Project - Long Eaton
I realised the other day that I never blogged anything about this shoot, even though it was one of my favourites of last year. The band was an unnamed instrumental project that sadly hasn’t really seen the light of day (yet) featuring Stuart Vallans and Jamie Mitchell (both now part of the reformed Death Of Thieves) and Dave Ridgers (who plays in Without Maps).
An hour or so before this shoot, before I’d set off for the location (a lake near Long Eaton), the weather was miserable. I nearly postponed the shoot because I thought it would be a waste of everyone’s time. Stu persuaded me that it would clear up, and he was totally right. Turned out to be spot on.
Welly-wearing assistant on this shoot was Carla Mundy. That lampshade is now in her flat.
Nicolas Roeg, film director, photographed at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham during Mayhem Festival
This gentleman is Nicolas Roeg. He’s 86. And while he may look like he’s just arrived at Broadway to catch a Silver Screen showing he was, in fact, the star turn of the opening night of this year’s Mayhem horror film festival.
Roeg directed psycho-horror classic ‘Don’t Look Now’, starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a couple trying desperately to move on from the terrible loss of their daughter by taking an ill-advised trip to Venice (their little girl drowned). As part of Mayhem, the film was screened in Nottingham’s oldest church - St Mary’s. Another of Roeg’s films - Puffball - was screened at Broadway and the man himself did a couple of Q&A sessions too. A brilliantly surreal evening in all.
Roeg was also heavily involved in the music scene in the ’70s - directing Performance (starring Mick Jagger) and The Man Who Fell To Earth (starring David Bowie). It was as a cinematographer that he initially made his name though, so it was a strange feeling for me to be tweaking lighting in front of a man who may well have ‘tweaked lighting’ on ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ (he was a second unit cinematographer) and Roger Corman’s ‘The Masque Of The Red Death’ (one of his most distinctive pieces of work).
This is a simple photo - it’s Nicolas Roeg… in Broadway foyer. You don’t try and get a venerable gent like him to do handstands. But I did make things a bit more of a challenge for myself by deciding to change my lighting set-up about 90 seconds before he walked through the door. I’m an idiot, but I like the resulting photo.
GameCity 8, Nottingham
I had heaps of fun photographing three days of GameCity 8 in Nottingham last month. GameCity is a huge annual celebration of independent gaming, spread across lots of different venues with an arcade full of weird and wonderful new and retro games at its heart. My favourite had to be the Roflpillar - in which two people lay on the ground, looking up into a small tent with a screen in it, and rolled left and right on the floor to control virtual caterpillars. No, really.
I have to say, until this job I had no idea there was such a fertile (and often surreal) underground scene in the worlds of video and board games - it really is just like music in that sense. All the real innovation happens at the lower budget end, while the megabucks Call Of Duty type stuff just rakes in the profits. Frustratingly though, I did spend most of my time taking photos, and literally none of my time playing any of the games. Not even the Roflpillar. Gah.
For more on GameCity visit the website.
Ella Townsend - Broadway Cinema, Nottingham
This is my favourite kind of staff photography job - photographing employees of Nottingham’s super-cool Broadway Cinema in lots of the different spaces the building has to offer. Standard headshots are fine, but this is more fun. I’ve shot two sets of these photos for Broadway now and this is my favourite photo from the recent set. Poor Ella here hadn’t even been expecting to have her photograph taken on the day - she was a last-minute addition to the photo roster, and initially wasn’t happy about it! But with a little cajoling and some reassurance from the back of the camera she relaxed and this is what came of it. This was shot in the Mezz Bar of the cinema and I must admit it was only when I came to edit the photos that I realised her nails matched the colour scheme.
Biffy Clyro @ Leeds Festival 2013
In 2001, I was one of a small number of rock journalists who fell in love with this oddball Scottish band as they made their first forays on the national music scene (many others wrote them off for having a stupid name). I wrote the press biography which accompanied their debut album. The interview with Simon Neil for that piece went on about five times as long as it should have as we discovered a common musical path - from grunge and older indie rock like Red House Painters, through Fugazi and the post-hardcore scene to the ‘classic’ emo sounds of Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral and more. “You guys could do a great cover of Man Overboard by Far,” I remember saying. “We actually play that song at rehearsals,” he replied.
12 years later, I found myself at Leeds Festival with cameras in hand, shooting for Rock Sound, in the rain, and witnessing a band who have truly made it the hard way - through constant touring, growing as songwriters, taking the odd opportunity as it has come their way, and sticking out the leaner early years to earn their place as true headliners. In some ways, the scale of what they now do is unrecognisable from their early outings (extra musicians, pyro… etc). But at the heart of it, the core trio actually hasn’t changed all that much. It’s good to see.
This was my favourite photo from that amazing set. It’s barely what Zack Arias would call ‘blog sharp’ (even worse the way tumblr is currently rendering it) but it has a cool vibe.
Frankie Vu - NCS Spotlight Tour, Bury
I’ve been working with the National Citizen Service through much of the summer. I’ve blogged about NCS before, but here’s the place to go for more info.
Part of NCS’s summer schedule was the Spotlight Tour. An NCS branded bus touring the UK, putting on events to get more young people involved in its programme, with a film crew making youtube videos about inspirational young people doing cool things with their lives. Like this one.
This is Frankie Vu, who is the regular presenter of the NCS youtube videos. When an injury forced him out of pursuing a professional football career, he decided to use his ball skills in a different way, and there’s now not much this guy CAN’T do with a football. I actually split a perfectly good pair of shorts trying to demonstrate one of his tricks to someone else.
He’s also a great young presenter, works super-hard for NCS and to top it off he’s a lovely dude. He’s one to watch, I reckon.