Portrait

POP EVIL IN BIRMINGHAM AND LONDON [UK TOUR] 2019

The last time I seen Pop Evil was about three, maybe four years ago when they supported 3 Doors Down at the O2 Academy Birmingham. That was my first time seeing Pop Evil and still to this day I remember the energy the band had that night and their interactions with the kids at the show; I even recall Leigh getting one of the kids up on stage and getting him to sit next to Hayley’s Drum kit while they played a track before returning him to the barrier to his parents. I can honestly say I’ve seen no other band be that interactive with such young fans at their shows so I was looking forward to the next two days.

O2 ACADEMY 3, BIRMINGHAM

I arrived at the o2 Academy Birmingham for about 3:30pm as the band was setting up ready to sound check. I met with Shelby and he introduced me to Davey and Nick as I set up my lighting in their dressing room. I was later introduced to the rest of the band before doing a couple of individual portraits and some BTS shots in the dressing room. I was amazed by how quick Matt could solve a Rubix cube no matter how much I mixed it up he solved it in minutes; now if that was me I’d be there for hours trying to figure that thing out. As I headed out to Front Of House (FOH) I could feel the heat! That room already was so warm and sweaty but then again what do you expect from a sold out show! The night went well and considering the restrictions of shooting (mainly room to move about) I was happy with the results I managed to get.

O2 ACADEMY, ISLINGTON

The next day I caught the train down to London arriving for near three o’clock in the afternoon, I made my way to Islington then found a cafe to refuel in and do a few more edits from the night before. I headed to the venue for about 4:30 then hung out backstage till Leigh had finished with his interviews then we headed out around the surrounding area to capture some shots before heading back to the venue to shoot a couple more.

I then bumped into Hayley in the hallway and mentioned to her the day before that if I brought one of my drum sticks would she be able to sign it for me; as I collect drum sticks. So luckily enough I remember to pack one in my bag and Hayley signed it for me. This meant a lot to me as when I started to have drum lessons when I was about 16, there wasn’t any (not that I can think of) female drummers in Main Stream music apart from Cindy Blackman. The drummers I looked up too were Travis Barker (Blink182), Zac Farro (Paramore) and Aaron Gillespie (Underøath). So fast forward a few years its great to see so many amazing female’s behind the kit and I just feel so lucky that i’ve got to work closely and shoot Hayley herself and recently Kortney Grinwis (Chapel). Its amazing to see so many females coming forward now in what was a male dominated sector and it makes me want to start my lessons again and really learn about drums to eventually get behind a kit one day.

I then headed back to the dressing room where I left my equipment to prep what I needed for the show and then headed straight up the stairs, pretty quickly as I forgot show time was earlier then the previous night. I headed out to FOH to start the night off, there was plenty of running around from FOH, Onstage and too the balcony above but as you know heat rises so the floor was pretty slippery up top and there were a few near slides across the floor but luckily I managed to stay on my feet.

The two days I spent with Pop Evil was an amazing experience and I’d like to thank them and their crew for being welcoming. Thank you to Hayley for your kind words about my photography it honestly meant a lot to hear that and to Leigh for sharing your knowledge and insight. Im grateful to you all and your team.

FROM INSIDE " A Winter Without You" UK Tour [2019]

A few weeks ago I was tagged in a post on FROM INSIDE’s Facebook page; It stated they needed a tour photographer at short notice, after applying and a stressful few hours of reorganising things I was going on MY FIRST TOUR (I was a little excited).

That night I didn’t sleep well as I was “flapping” what I needed to pack and what equipment to take with me on the road, luckily for me my pick up wasn’t till 1/2pm so I did managed to get a quick nap in before loading up into the Van.

SURBURBIA, SOUTHAMPTON

Now it was time to drive from Birmingham to Southhampton for the first show. We were slightly behind on time but we made it, loaded in and set up and was ready to rock within a few hours of being at the venue.

Also this was my first time seeing FROM INSIDE live and hearing their music so knowing how they moved on stage to each track, how the audience responded to each track I was going to have to learn very quickly in order to get the shots.

THE PIPELINE, BRIGHTON

The next day we drove from Southampton to Brighton; Unfortunately it was Brighton’s Tattoo Convention and the weather was beautiful so every Tom, Dick and Harry was out and the traffic was horrendous. Once loaded into the venue we all went off around the town to explore; Now the last time I visited Brighton was in 2016 to see Ruby Rose do a DJ set which she cancelled on the day (Insert sad face here) but I’ve always loved Brighton so I was super happy to be back. We visited the Brighton Pier to try and do some photos but it was too busy and decided we’d go back later on to do a photoshoot when less people were around.

We took a trip to The Royal Pavilion to do a shoot outside of there instead and found out it was built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV.

The venue was situated above a bar and it was packed and in-between change overs people were having to go outside for a breather because it was getting hot up in there. After the show we then had a two hour drive to Reading to the place where we were staying for the night and I couldn’t wait to get some sleep after an eventful day.

FUEL CLUB, CARDIFF

The next day after having a beautiful lunch cooked for us by Sarah we headed to Cardiff. To my excitement when we arrived the venue was a five minute walk around the corner from the Rugby ground that England VS Wales played the day before so I felt like a five year old at Christmas. (Yes, i’m a huge rugby fan).

Now by the time we arrived and loaded in we were all starving and luckily for us there was a Wetherspoons right next door. 80% of us ordered food from there and that in itself was a bad idea, we all pretty much felt sick after eating but as far as I’m aware no one threw up; we all just felt terrible.

The gig went really well with people stood down the front head banging along and just immersing themselves in the music.

(Side Note: Weatherspoons do you call it “Spoons” or “Weathers”)

THE PEER HAT, MANCHESTER

We stayed over in Liverpool the night before so we only had a short journey to Manchester for the final night of the Tour. We arrived at the Peer Hat, sound checked then hung out with friends and family while the other bands played. As a lot of the bands Family and friends had travelled to Manchester to see the show as this was the nearest “Home Town” show.

While the band hung out before the show I went off to meet fellow photographer Samantha Guess and got myself pretty much “kicked out” of Starbucks; No I didn’t do anything wrong!!! The member of staff just decided to direct what she was saying solely at me “telling me she was closing up and I needed to leave” so everyone else could have stayed she didn’t tell them. (Laughs)

Again the show ended on a high with loads of support from everyone that came to watch; many stayed around once the show had finished to grab “selfies” with the band and converse with them.

PHOTO: SAMANTHA GUESS
(@samanthajguess)

Finally I’d just like to say a massive Thank You to FROM INSIDE for taking me out on my first tour and being so welcoming. I had a real fun time out on the road and learnt a lot in those few days and I can’t wait to hit the road with you guys again and watch you all grow as a band.

POUND FOR POUND!

NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL 2018

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.

Paramore

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

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.

Model Photoshoots
Models:
Ryan Davies-Hall [ @ryandavieshall]
Natasha Lawer [@tasha_
lawer]
Shawna Leigh [@shxwnaleigh]
Kesha Edwards [@keshieboo]
Alex Abnett [@alexabnett1]

Demo

Demi Lovato

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

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.

IMG_0734.jpg

Lady Gaga

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.

The Aces

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.

Jessie J

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
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.

Sumo Cyco

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.

Photo: Drw-Images

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.

Soph

SUMO CYCO AT THE ASYLUM BIRMINGHAM [06.12.2018]

Sumo Cyco at The Asylum Birmingham supporting CKY.

JOSH RAVEN

Here is a small selection of portraiture images taken with Josh Raven of The Faim in London ahead of his appearance at Reading and Leeds Festival 2018.

KESHA EDWARDS

Here is a small selection of portrait images taken with Kesha Edwards; Miss Top UK Model Finalist, 2007 at River Studio in Birmingham. *Contains nudity

RYAN DAVIES-HALL

Here is a small selection of portraiture images taken with Ryan Davies-Hall at River Studio in Birmingham. There will be a music video coming soon in collaboration with Love And Light Images X Ryan Davies-Hall X IAMQUESTIONED X Lovesick London so stay tuned for that.