What’s that you say? I’ve STILL not caught up with last year’s blog failings yet? Gawd. No wait! I mean, look at all this exciting stuff I have to write about! I can’t complain about this chapter really, October to December held lots of rather lovely things and I promise to stop whinging from here on in. As with last time, I’ll be writing by category rather than chronologically so you can skip ahead to whatever takes your fancy. Hi ho, Silver, away!
October started on something of a high note on the music promo front. I was, to my delight, asked to do a joint promo shoot for the incredible Eliza Carthy & Jim Moray in preparation for their double-headline tour together this May. The tour in question is set to celebrate two anniversaries: 21 years of Eliza playing music and 10 years for Jim. Consequently, something of a party theme was required. This started with a lovely scenic drive up to Robin Hood’s Bay and ended in large volumes of cake, party poppers, bunting, fantastic hats and jelly. It was GLORIOUS. As if that wasn’t enough, at the end of the shoot I was provided with jelly and alphabet sprinkles as compensation for my lack of being able to eat cake. Favourite. Shoot. Ever. It looked something like this:
If you’re not already aware of the tour and it tickles your fancy, be sure to check it out! They’re taking some phenomenal musicians with them as part of a big band set-up, including the likes of Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead, The Remnant Kings), David Delarre (Mawkin), Lucy Farrell (Johnny Kearney & Lucy Farrell, Emily Portman Trio) and more. It’s set to be a good’un. See below for dates:
Next up I headed down south to London town for the launch of Blair Dunlop‘s “Blight & Blossom” at the Green Note Cafe in Camden. If ever anyone deserved an award for the biggest number of people on the smallest stage, it’s Blair and his band that night. Having been there since soundcheck, I can tell you that it was quite the logistical operation! As it stands, they all sounded gorgeous and it was a lovely evening with a lovely audience and lovely tapas. Score. I was on duty for a few live snaps:
(Huge thanks go to Sally Bonsall for rescuing me from the station / putting me up for the night, absolute star!)
Shortly after Blair’s album launch, it was time for Derby Folk Festival. Three days of indoor folky happiness to nurse away those post-festival summer blues. Believe it or not, I actually blogged this event! (DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SCREEN, IT’S TRUE!) You can read the full account of it right here: Derby Folk Fest, Dalek Dancing and all round Delight. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this snap of the fantastic Sarah Matthews in one of the foyer sessions:
Heading further into October I met up with the beautiful Maz O’Connor for a little promo session involving vintage suitcases, paper boats, volumes of water and balancing precariously. Thankfully, no capsizing occurred and it all worked out just fine. Whew.
The day after Maz’s shoot, I headed back down to a rather grey and overcast Derby for an album photography session with the talented Gavin Davenport for his new release, entitled “The Bone Orchard” (which is, by the by, out now! Get it here: www.gavindavenport.com). Joining myself and Gav on the shoot were Pete Ord of Haystack Records (Gav’s label) and the mighty clever KT Coope, with whom I was collaborating on the artwork. Bandages were tied round trees, apples were scattered hither and thither, dog walkers were startled and we all ended up in the pub by a hugely welcome fireplace. All markings of a shoot well done, I feel.
The beginning of November brought about a shoot with talented trio, Moore, Moss, Rutter, prior to their gig at my local that evening. The guide phrase I was given on the styling front was “dapper undesirables”. Alrighty. I just attempted to make sure they didn’t clash, and off we popped up the open moors of North Derbyshire. How we managed to fit the three of them, Tom Sweeney (of Rootbeat Records), Hudson the dog AND all of their instruments into my little car is something I’m not sure I’ll ever quite get my head round. Tardis car. Anyhow, we made it to the moors and I was mighty relieved to be wearing wellies – apparently it was a teensy bit boggier than anticipated. They survived, it was fine.
That evening, after everyone had warmed up / de-muddified, Tom, Jack and Archie played a lovely gig to the folks at The Royal, Dungworth. See below for snaps and a slightly wobbly video:
Sticking to the live photography theme, I was approached by the nice chaps at The Folk Forest to cover their upcoming LAU gig at The Greystones, Sheffield. I ended up perched on a monitor at the front right of the stage for the duration of the gig, flitting between the 50mm & 85mm primes, and gawping at the musicality on show. They’re rather good, those LAU boys. By the end of the night my rear end was resolutely denying its existence, but it was so worth it.
It occurred to me as Autumn was in progress that I hadn’t made anywhere near enough use of the beautiful changing foliage. As a result, I was pleased as punch when my dear friend Jamie Lambert appeared at my door for his promo shoot and fancied a mix of both studio and location snaps. We started off with a few portraits indoors (you know, in the warmth) in front of the continuous light before heading out across the fields to the little woodland at the back of my house. The colours were just perfect, and Jamie was an absolute joy to photograph. See for yourself:
One of the things I adore about playing and photographing in the folk scene is that I regularly get to work with musicians that I admire. There’s such a wealth of talent on the circuit and it really is such a privilege to work with such a brilliant group of people. So, when I was asked to photograph one of my absolute favourite guitarists, the phenomenal Martin Simpson, I positively leapt at the opportunity. As well as photographing Martin himself, I was also asked to photograph a selection of instruments and details in his music room. It was lovely to learn the stories behind each item (notably, “That’s a beautiful guitar strap!” “Ah yes, that was given to me by Jackson Browne.” “—!!!”) and as if that wasn’t enough, due to myself and my friend Sam (of Sam Jordan Films) also being there on video duty, we even got a mini gig. Magic.
Moving further into November, I spent a lovely sunny day styling and photographing the gorgeous-voiced Ruth Notman. It was that hazy, crisp sort of sunlight that you only really get in Autumn – the kind that (thankfully) makes you forget a little how very cold it is. Ruth had also asked me to put a new logo design together for her, which you can see layered onto the photos below:
December rolled around and, seeing as they were in the right neck of the woods due to playing at the Mills & Chimneys big Christmas gig (written about later!), I had a hugely entertaining pre-gig photoshoot with the outrageously talented Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar. Due to the decidedly rank weather conditions, we chickened out of heading outside and set up the studio lights in the lounge. I can officially inform you that this shoot contained some of my favourite outtakes ever. Scroll down to see what I mean.
My penultimate musician shoot of the year was with the incredibly lovely Jackie Oates. Jackie required some new snaps doing to promote her beautiful new album of lullabies and I was tasked with creating some images with a bit more edge than a standard ‘lullaby’ feel. So, we went for crazy lighting, an unused fireplace, a moon headpiece and some rather nice stick-on gems. Hurrah.
FINALLY, last but by no means least, the final shoot of 2012 was with harmonica maestro Will Pound on his fantastic canal boat. The images in question were commissioned for his upcoming solo album, to be released later this year. In a bout of typical British wintery weather, we ended up cradling mugs of tea (Strawberry & Mango, cor!) whilst the rain bombarded the marina. Finally, a tiny break in the cloud allowed us to dive outside to grab just a few snaps before the heavens opened again. It weren’t half chilly. Whilst waiting to do the outdoors snaps, I had chance to photograph a few of the details around the boat’s interior – I do love the paintwork on canal boats, there’s a whole style that seems specific to barges. I won’t release too many of the images until the album’s out, so in the meantime here’s a snap of a cat and a spoon.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Fashion & Photo Days
On a sunny day in November I met up with super-stylist, Samantha Barker, for the next installment of our collaborative shoots. This time, thanks to the joy of remote controls, I was simultaneously the model, photographer and make-up artist while Sam took creative control with a brilliant array of headpieces and costumery. It was quite a strange experience essentially taking a self-portrait with an audience, but fun nonetheless!
There were two photo days in this sector, the first being round two with the ludicrously talented Ella Ruth Photography. Unlike round three (blogged here), we decided not to risk the inclement weather and had a day of playing with a continuous studio lamp indoors and going make-up crazy. Happy days.
Photo day number two was with the gorgeous Laura Attridge, a fantastic soprano whom I met at the wedding of our mutual photographer pal, the wonderful Hannah Millard. Here we are looking fabulous on film:
Yep. Anyway, we decided to meet up in sunny Derby for a mini catch-up and coffee and photo session. Laura dressed up as a ’20s flapper and we flounced around the city and attempted to count the number of bewildered faces as Laura pulled some superb shapes in front of a variety of cathedral walls and doorways. Once we’d both lost feeling in our feet and I’d had to don an extra pair of socks, we retreated to the warmth of Cafe Nero and complicated drinks orders. Further happy days.
The final wedding of 2012 occurred on Christmas Eve, a decidedly gorgeous Christmas-themed event. There were baubles in the venue foyer (the beautiful Cathedral Quarter Hotel, Derby), fairy lights, Christmas trees, poinsettias, a snow machine and – my personal favourite adorable wedding moment – an early delivery from Santa for all the kids. Super cute. Huge congratulations to Lindsey & Sean and all the very best to the both of you!
MUSIC: David Gibb & Elly Lucas
October to December was a bit crazy on the duo front. We had some lovely gigs (inc. Bradford, Derby, Nottingham, Broadmayne and a great little set in Belper supporting the brilliant Melodica, Melody & Me) and met lots of lovely new people, but the main super excitement came from the British brand, Gola.
Now, Gola are currently running a great campaign through their website, entitled “Born In Britain”, which has been encouraging their student ambassadors to feature a variety of British creatives (ranging from musicians to visual artists to designers to film makers and so on and so forth). We were absolutely delighted to have been chosen by Georgie Beardmore as one of her early features (which you can read here: http://www.gola.co.uk/borninbritain/david-gibb-elly-lucas/) but couldn’t quite believe our ears when David received a phonecall from their advertising agency asking if we’d like to be featured in Gola’s ad campaign for 2013. OHMYGOODNESSYES! I met with the creatives involved with putting together the advert and was pleasantly surprised by how keen they were to ensure that the advert reflected on David and I as people as well as creating a saleable image for themselves. So, armed with a few ideas and prop options, off they went location scouting.
A short while later, myself and David were driving along Snake Pass to a location just outside of Glossop, carrying standard lamps and suitcases and tiny violins and goodness knows what else. There were gazebos, a full creative team, M&S food, a teeny tent for changing, a stream through the middle of the set and lights galore! Even the rain held off right until the end of the shoot. I’m doing a very poor job of describing the event, so here’s a video of it filmed and edited by the mighty talented Robert Henry:
And I’m now rather excited to be able to show you the final advert. Ta da!
See, if I’d blogged this at the time, you’d not have been able to see the above. Yeah…
Just over a month later, we were re-united with the Gola team at a gig we’d been asked to play that featured a few of the musicians from the Born in Britain campaign. The venue was one that I’d not come across before, the Antwerp Mansion in Manchester. It was quite possibly one of the coldest venues I’ve ever played in, but a really interesting place avec grand staircases and all. It was also the first outing of my slightly early Christmas jumper complete with sequinned robin. I was hugely excited about the whole affair.
From Christmas jumpers to actual Christmas events, myself and David play in an ensemble of Derbyshire musicians called “Mills & Chimneys”, with whom we played a cracking little festive gig at the Wirksworth Town Hall. Festive tunes were played which morphed into Elvis medleys which morphed into Jingle Bells which featured additional dancers and it was all rather fancy. I wore the most sparkly dress in my wardrobe and pretended to be a human glitterball, there was a gigantic simultaneous cracker-pull and our dear friends Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar played a wonderful support set. All in all, it was a smashing evening.
AND ALL THE REST!
We’re nearly there I promise! Hang in there, ladies and gents.
Notable fun things that happened in this chapter would have to start with the aforementioned wedding of photographic genius, Hannah Millard, and her lovely groom, Iwan. This wedding has well and truly gone down as one of my absolute favourites ever. Not only did they have an interactive online game as their invite, there was pixel confetti and Lego cufflinks, vintage camera bouquets and vintage cameras for the use of, wedding speech bingo and… the list of pure awesome goes on and on. Unfortunately I had to leave the evening’s events early due to a job rather early the next day, but it looked magnificent. I even managed to go JUST AS A GUEST and not touch my camera once! Hannah’s beautiful official photos were taken by Laura Babb and you can view them on a Rock n Roll Bride feature here: http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2013/01/geeky-gamer-pixel-themed-wedding-hannah-iwan/
Those of you that know me may be aware of my twilight sewing activities. I’m terribly bad at just stopping work, so my way of winding down usually has to feel like I’m doing something productive / fiddly / overly complicated. As a result of this I got drawn into the world of textiles and applique work, and then found myself on a coach with my Mum and a group of slightly older ladies bound for Harrogate and a truly GIGANTIC knitting and stitching exhibition. I had no idea what to expect upon arrival – it’s a knitting and stitching exhibition, how big could it possibly be?! Enormous, apparently. Five whole exhibition halls of enormous. And full of elderly ladies with extremely sharp elbows and little tolerance for applique novices. That aside, it was a hugely inspiring event and I came back with a silly amount of material and needlefelting gear (and an impressive variety of bruises, but whatcha gonna do). Shortly afterwards, my Mum and I had a mammoth bunting making day in time for decorating the house for Christmas, using the material we’d avidly searched (and battled) for at the exhibition. Magic.
With my parents’ house suitably decorated, we prepared for the military operation that is the Lucas Family Christmas. I kid you not, there are so many of us that there’s actually an actual spreadsheet to organise which sector of the family will be cooking what meals and when. Hurrah for gloriously structured chaos! This was the first Christmas in ages that all of my cousins had been together and it was incredibly lovely. Word games were played, Doctor Who was watched, the obligatory Boxing Day Walk occurred and I was gifted a comically large bottle of gin. And orange liqueur. And liqueur chocolates. I’m sure I don’t know what my family think I am. Avengers Assemble memory sticks, gingerbread houses, flaming puddings and conker-based decorations also featured and it was all hugely exciting. I also somehow ended up adopting a huge fluffy hamster called Bruce for the duration who apparently had a penchant for kicking his food out onto my wooden floor at approximately 2.30am. Fiendish rodent. Aside from the lack of sleep, it was a lovely event and looked a little like this:
Christmas turned into New Year and I found myself back in sunny Sheffield for a trip down the pub with a lovely group of people avec black-tie dress code. Everyone looked all kinds of incredible and there was brilliant food and our lovely landlord even gave us a lift home! I demonstrated my status as a professional lightweight by being spectacularly ill for the next two days (the trip from tipsy to actual drunk tends to happen approximately once every three years, just to give you an example…) but it was a smashing evening nonetheless.
And there we have it! Right up until the end of 2012. Whew. January through to March will be up soon, you have NO IDEA how excited I am to have finally nearly caught up!!! (Well, maybe you do if you’ve been following these truly monstrous blogs. Kudos to you if you’ve survived the lot, I’m hugely impressed.)
Until next time,