So, the line-writing I set myself previously didn’t work and this blog updating business failed miserably. Consequently, I’ve set myself the punishment of STILL writing everything up. That’s right, all 14 months of it. That’ll learn me.
To make it slightly less of an epic, I’m splitting it into three month sections and writing by category rather than date order. That way, if you get atrociously bored of my waffling, you can skip ahead until you find something that possibly sparks your interest a bit more! Hopefully. No promises, mind. To start things off, here’s what happened between April – June 2012…
I had the privilege of photographing lots of lovely musical types in this sector. After returning from a little excursion to Brittany, myself and that nice Lucy Ward (I know she’s a muso, but she also doubles as a fabulous assistant) took a trip to Sheffield to photograph The James Brothers (AKA James Fagan & Jamie McClennan) – a duo whose biography opens with the line “The James Brothers are not really outlaws, neither are they brothers and only one of them is called James.” I probably don’t need to tell you that this shoot heralded some of my favourite out-takes in the entire universe. Think glam-rock poses avec mandolins and cowboy hats. Silliness aside, they were a delight to work with. Check it out:
Next up was an album photography session for the brilliant Blair Dunlop who, incidentally, has just won the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Folk Award this year! Huge congratulations to him. The shoot involved black and white facepaint, handprints, re-arranging a living room and a large volume of make-up wipes:
I was also tasked with piecing together the artwork for Blair’s rather gorgeous album, entitled “Blight & Blossom”, which you can listen to right here: http://blairdunlop.com/media/music/ Give it a go, he’s ever so good!
Next up was a promo / album shoot for local Nottingham singer, the lovely Marc Block, for his upcoming album entitled “The Hawthorn Spring” (more on that later). Conveniently, it was the perfect time of year to catch the hawthorn trees in full beautiful blossom. As if that wasn’t enough, the sun came out and lit everything with the most beautiful hazy glow.
Finally, on the official music photography front, I had a rather chilly outdoors shoot with three rather nice chaps who have just realised their album “When our Grandfathers said No” on Navigator Records. Kudos to The Young’uns, they did a sterling job of pretending to hold blackboards and not giving in to the decidedly bitter weather. There was flat cap doffing and waistcoats and tea drinking and everything. Give ’em a listen / buy the album here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Younguns/222947223019?sk=app_190322544333196
There were two notable fashion / beauty shoots in this sector, the first being a salon shoot with the phenomenal stylists at Sally Montague in Derby. As it turns out, they’d heard about me via a Radio Derby interview I’d done with the fantastic Aleena Naylor following my front cover image and feature in Practical Photography Magazine. It was an incredible day with a huge variety of looks, and what they managed to with the models’ hair will never fail to astound me. It’s always a pleasure to work with such a talented team, models and stylists alike.
Next up was another collaboration with stylist extraordinaire, Sam Barker, and print designer Lucy Davison. Our model for the day was my favourite chameleon in the universe, the wonderful Heather Forknell, and the location was a gorgeous little summer house just outside of Nottingham. With the aid of a reflector and some flash bouncing (the weather was unfortunately a little too suspect to risk trailing electrical cables through the garden), we got the shots we were after. I’ve always loved working with Sam, and combining her creative brand of styling with Heather’s quirky modelling was an absolute joy.
You know, I don’t know what I’d do without my Mum & Dad. Seeing that I was doing quite a successful job of running myself into the ground, they were kind enough to whisk me away on two little holidays last year and my goodness was I grateful for it! First up, myself and Mum hopped on the plane over to Brittany for a few days to visit some old family friends in their gorgeous cottage. There was felt-making, films on a projector, incredible food, hours of playing tunes, French music sessions, a cat called Hugo and the most vocal labradoodle in the universe, AKA Lara the Wonder Dog. It looked something like this:
Next up we headed down to the south coast of England with my Dad for a weekend of steam railways in Swanage & Corfe Castle, National Trust Tea Rooms, bottles of beer called ‘Piddle’ (yep, you read that right), fish and chips and searching for wildlife in the sand dunes. I met my first ever sand lizard (see below) and went AWOL with a macro lens. It was magic.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Couples & Weddings
In June I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph the wedding of the impossibly lovely Heather & Joe over on the Isle Of Man. I met these two back when I used to play in and photograph the Derby metal scene as a teenager, so it was an absolute delight to photograph their big day! And in such a beautiful location too. Myself and my assistant (the terribly clever Ocean Hampson) discovered we definitely don’t have sea legs, it rained, it stopped raining at precisely the right moments for photos, there were flip-flops on the beach, we stayed in an adorable little B&B and my hair didn’t stay well behaved for very long. Heather had my favourite selection of wedding shoes to date, the bridesmaids all looked incredible, there was a photobooth at the reception and, all in all, it was a thoroughly beautiful event. I could have happily slept for a week when I finally got back home, but it was totally worth it.
Just prior to their wedding, I did a little couple shoot for Heather & Joe at Belper River Gardens to celebrate their engagement. The weather was perfect, they’re both ludicrously photogenic AND it was even vaguely warm. Always a good combination.
I had two lovely family shoots in this sector, one decidedly warmer than the other. The first was with the Rainey Family up on Black Rocks in Derbyshire. It was overcast and involved hats and scarves aplenty, but the windswept-and-interesting look was totally in and the shoot even ended with a mini picnic. Perfect. Big thanks to Jade Higman for her assistance!
Next up, and in something of a warmer climate, I spent a lovely evening photographing the family of one of my old schoolfriends. There was talk of folk music and festivals and how glorious it was to see the sunshine again.
If you’d like to see some more family photos, check out the “Families” page on ellylucas.co.uk!
Still with me? Well done you! There’s not much left now, I promise. Until the next blog, anyway…
March heralded the start of me working for the brilliant Going Digital, alongside the mighty talented Ash Bird. Going Digital run a series of different workshops for those looking to improve their skills with a digital camera, ranging from absolute beginner level right the way up to more advanced specifics. The workshops run all over the UK, so if it sounds like something you might be interested in, check out www.goingdigital.co.uk.
Along with the GD workshops, myself and the lovely Rei Bennett managed to go on not one but TWO little photo adventures! The first up to Stanton Moor (nr Birchover, Derbyshire) and the second to the old wireworks factory in Ambergate Woods.
My snaps of Rei:
As well as adventures with Rei, I also met up with the gloriously pink-haired photo wizard Hannah Millard. We wandered around Black Rocks in Derbyshire in the gorgeous sunshine and attempted not to melt. It looked something like this:
FINALLY, last but not least, here’s a mini update of all the musical happenings!
Myself and David decided to make a little music video for one of the tracks off our debut album. “Uncle Joe”, about a man who goes to see wearing a bowler hat, obviously required some very silly footage of the two of us in a variety of ridiculous hats. I sporadically looked like a kissogram and totally failed to keep a straight face, but it did the job.
MUSIC: Mills & Chimneys
Mills & Chimneys, the Derbyshire collective that I’m part of alongside David Gibb, Lucy Ward, Sarah Matthews, Julian Butt and Mike Smith, began a collaboration about the mills of Derbyshire with the phenomenal Sinfonia Viva orchestra. The initial phase involved a series of ‘Discovery Days’ at the museum at Masson Mill, encouraging school children to think about how life in the mills might have been, and to start piecing together ideas for songs, poetry and instrumental pieces based around emotions and rhythms. This was followed by workshops in schools to cement some of the pieces which were then, much to our delight, performed by ourselves, the kids and an 18 piece orchestra in the main hall of Derby Assembly Rooms. It was such a privilege to be part of such a fantastic project, and I’ll never quite get over hearing 160 school children singing two of my songs at the top of their lungs. Not going to lie, it totally made me cry. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara.
Right, that’s it for April – June! I can officially inform you that I’ve already learned my lesson. Only seven months to go…
Until the next episode,