2018 has been good to me, It’s been one of those years full of development and growth as a photographer and personally. I feel I’m in a better head space and growing in confidence with my work daily which I feel has shown in the work I have produced through out the year. So lets have a recap and look at some special moments from this year.
Now anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love this band and how long I’ve admired their work. This was my second time shooting the band which blows my mind to even think I even got to photograph them once never mind twice. When I first picked up a camera back in 2012 not having a clue how to use it, I set out writing a list of artists, bands i wanted to shoot; My top four were Paramore, P!nk, Anberlin and Bring Me The Horizon. I used to tell everyone If i ever make something of this “Camera Thing” then It’s got to be shooting those individuals and if that ever happened i’d die happy knowing I achieved what I set out to do.
So this band holds a special place in my heart, in my drive and passion to continue being a photographer even at those times I’ve come close to putting the camera down for good they always seem to keep me going.
G Eazy was an interesting show; I arrived slightly late to the venue due to traffic and once inside I soon found out I was the only photographer covering the show and the stage was already covered in a thick smoke hoovering above the stage floor. Now honestly hadn’t heard much of G Eazy’s solo work and only the collobration tracks. The show was wild and the lighting was insane strobe’s constantly flashing so my hope of any decent photographs was non-existent but too my surprise I managed to capture some little gems.
Models: Ryan Davies-Hall [ @ryandavieshall]
Natasha Lawer [@tasha_lawer]
Shawna Leigh [@shxwnaleigh]
Kesha Edwards [@keshieboo]
Alex Abnett [@alexabnett1]
When arriving to see Demi I wasn’t sure if it was pit access or sound desk as the shooting point; it turned out to be sound desk and luckily enough I brought my telephoto lens along with me just incase but one thing I didn’t bring was my foot stall to stand on, so I would have a little height advantage over the audiences heads to get the shots I needed. Demi’s sound team could see the “oh s**t, what am I going to do” look on my face as there was no ledge for my to stand on and the other photographers had brought their step stools; luckily they were super kind to me and let me stand on top of a flight case which would usually contained all their gear giving me loads of height advantage above the other photographers and audience. So Shout out to Demi Lovato’s crew for helping me out and being so kind to me on the night.
Slamdunk Festival Midlands
Highlights: The Faim, PVRIS, Twin Atlantic, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes, Palaye Royale
Slam Dunk Festival is by far one of my favourites to attend for many reasons and I’ve been lucky enough to shoot it for five years running. I always find it a great way to discover new bands, like this year I ended up seeing The Faim, Palaye Royal and Knuckle puck all for the first time live. I was introduced to Palaye Royal just a day before the festival as a friend sent me some tracks to check out on Spotify and straight away I knew I had to add them to my shooting schedule for that day. So here are a few of my favourites from a handful of bands I captured that day.
CKY I grew up listening too and who doesn’t know who CKY are?. This was my third time seeing the guys and I was lucky enough to talk to the guys backstage after their set as at the time I was working with Sumo Cyco. I was shocked to find out the guys knew who I was and recognised me for my previous live images of them; So we ended up shooting a couple of portraits together; Also may I add they were so welcoming and genuinely awesome people.
Florence + The Machine
One of my highlights for the year was defiantly getting to shoot Florence + The Machine finally. I was so excited I actually felt sick, mind you I was also panicking as I thought my camera was on the way out as I had a few technical issues the night before using it but thanks to a fellow colleague he reassured me my camera was fine after checking it over before Florence was due on stage (see not everything runs smoothly). Florence took to the stage and I was in awe of her, her voice, her presence and there I was singing along quietly to myself behind the camera and I snapped away quickly (this lady moves fast on stage). I came away from the show filled with joy I couldn’t stop smiling, I felt like i personally achieved something.
Josh Raven ~ The Faim
Location: Camden, London & Custard Factory, Birmingham
After seeing The Faim at Slam Dunk Festival I couldn’t stop listening to their music and whilst I was in London for the day I happened to notice they too were also in town. After talking with Josh I arranged a shoot with him for later that day after the band had finished with rehearsals for their Reading and Leeds festival performances. Unfortunately when Josh had finished I was already on route to Islington Academy to see Fever 333 headline show but we organised a shoot for the following day so it was another early get up and a trip down to London for me the following day.
Upon meeting Josh in Euston station we decided to head to Camden as it was close by and Josh had prior engagements with the band for later on in the day so this was the perfect location as it was close to everything. Straight away we “clicked” and talked about an array of topics and had a laugh in the process.
A few months later The Faim were supporting Against The Current on their UK/EU Tour. Once again I met up with Josh before the show to capture some images then later met the rest of the band for the first time and they were so welcoming and genuine nice people. I watched them soundcheck before photographing their performance and Against The Current’s. While Against The Current were still playing I took the time to grab some photos of Sam and Sean. I then explained an idea I had to the band about doing a wire-wool photo and that I’d do my best to not set them alight (this was my first time trying something like this), Thankfully they were up for the idea and trusted me enough to try this out. Overall I learnt a lot from the experience and the wire-wool photo can be found on my instagram IG: @loveandlightimages
Getting to work with Josh this year was an absolute pleasure; he’s such wonderful individual to work with and allows your to express your creativity and try new ideas. 90% of the photographs I have on file is either Josh smiling or laughing; He has an amazing positive, supportive energy about him and I’ve noticed this too with his interactions with the fans just like the other band members, I have a lot of respect and love for them all.
Now what can I say about Lady Gaga; Firstly I was just attending the show I wasn’t there on photo grounds even though I took my Canon G7X MK II in my pocket just to see if I could achieve getting at least one decent photograph from the crowd. I Attended the show with my best friend “Emlehh” who’s see Gaga countless times and told me I was in for a right treat and she wasn’t wrong.
What I found strange was there was no support act, the support was her Documentary DVD so entering the arena to see people just sitting on the flat floor beers in hand watching the screens was very bizarre to me. Start to finish everyone was dancing, singing and there was just a huge positive vibe and major support for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The show ran over as Gaga was filming for a DVD and wasn't happy with “Scheibe” as there was a lighting issue during the first performance so she continued with the song to the end; said to the audience do you mind if I do that again and so she did. I was over-joyed by the time the show finished and just want to go out and continue having a good time but I didn't, I ended up back home just before midnight and crashed right out.
I discovered The Aces music via Spotify recommending them to me as I listened to something similar and then It wasn’t long after this I noticed they were doing their first UK Tour, so naturally I had to attend. I think these girls will go far and it’s one of many new artists I discovered this year.
Years & Years
This was a special show for me as my friend Rob had brought me tickets to the show for my birthday back in August; So it was an evening of Birthday Celebrations considering we didn’t get to see one another for either of our Birthdays this year, so safe to say we celebrated that night and are plaining on having “coded” matching Years & Years tattoos.
This was my fourth time seeing Jessie J live but my first time photographing her and again just like with Florence I was full of excitement. Her setlist was split up into four sections to spell out her album title R.O.S.E;
Realisations, Obsessions, Sex and Empowerment and with each section came an outfit change meaning we got to shoot the first two songs of each section which was amazing opportunity as usually its the three song rule then your out.
Rayne’s Baby Brain Cake Smash
This photoshoot was by far one of my favourites this year, I love how out the box the idea is compare to your traditional “pretty” cake smash photoshoots. The contrast between Minnie Mouse and the gore was something I initially thought “how was I going to make this work” but the client and myself are super happy with the results and I loved the challenge. Can I get some more “Out of the box” shoots?
Fever 333 Headlining Islington Academy
Fever 333 Supporting Bring Me The Horizon
FEVER 333 call their gigs demonstrations because they’re about much more than just a band playing music on stage. They’re about something much bigger than the room they take place in, or the three people onstage. It’s about spreading a positive attitude about change and that 100% came across when I seen them at Islington.
Then I found out they were to support Bring Me The Horizon on their UK/EU Tour and I was ecstatic to see them again within the same year.
I’m looking forward to hearing “ Strength In Numb333rs” in January and to see where else this band goes.
Many times I’ve tried to see Sumo Cyco live but for one reason or another it never happened but this time it did. I headed down to the Asylum Birmingham where I was met my Oscar who introduced me to the rest of the band before I watched them sound check. Shortly after we did a little photoshoot before I ended up shooting their whole set and captured some video footage; which hopefully at some point you’ll get to see once I get my head around video editing as this is something I’m trying my hand at. I had an amazing time that night working with them, sharing stories and joking about; I look forward to seeing them again soon in the future.
So that’s it 2018 is nearly over with and as you can see I’ve managed to tick off two amazing female artists off my “bucket list” that I written out in 2012 when I first picked up a camera not having a clue how it functioned. Those moments I will cherish for the happiness I felt when standing feet away in the pit with my camera at the ready as they took to the stage.
I’d also like to thank the publications, bands and individuals that have allowed me to work with them this year and for being super supportive of me. Lastly I’d like to say Thank You, too you reading this for supporting me, commenting, sharing, liking and even drawing your own versions of my work; I’m forever grateful for the love and kind comments I receive from each and everyone one of you.
Here’s to 2019.