I’m currently on holiday in lovely, sunny Brittany and as a rather gorgeous consequence of this I’ve actually had chance to sit down and take stock of what the devil I’ve been up to for these last few months. I was so excited back in April to have nearly caught up with my catch-up blogs and all of a sudden I appear to have ended up six months behind again.
So, here we are again. Just in case it’s been such a long time since you last read one of these truly mammoth blogs, I’ll once again be writing categorically rather than completely chronologically, so you can skip ahead to whatever facet takes your fancy. Now the standard apologies / excuses are done, here we go…
The first music related photoshootery of the year occurred in Glasgow on the day of the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Through the wonders of the internet, I’d been put in contact sometime previously with the lovely Louise Bichan – a lady who’d been described to me quite simply as “the Scottish you!!!” I kid you not, it’s totally true. The expression, I believe, is “sister from another mister”. We’re both fiddle playing / singing / photographing / prime lens adoring / album artwork-ing 20-somethings with a penchant for the outdoors and beautiful vintage things. Whut?! Upon meeting each other for the first time, we ended up chatting for hours as if we’d known each other for years. Meeting people on exactly the same wavelength = all kinds of awesome.
ANYWAY, Louise plays in a gorgeous four-piece girl band called Gria who were in need of some photos. Lou had considered, as I would have done also, taking the photos herself with the aid of a tripod and remote – but in the end decided to outsource. I can officially declare myself hugely flattered to have been trusted to be the outsourced photographer. We braved the impending storm clouds and headed over to the Glasgow Botanical Gardens where the girls pulled a plethora of fabulous shapes before the cold got a little too much and we retired to the warmth and tea-making facilities.
A short while later, we headed over to some rather lovely tea-rooms in central Glasgow for the launch of the vinyl edition of Blair Dunlop’s “Blight & Blossom”. There was tea and cake and good company, Blair played a few tracks from the album and we even got a copy of the vinyl. Lovely stuff.
February brought about a bundle of excitement in the form of the photoshoot for Lucy Ward’s much anticipated upcoming (and now soon to be released!) album, “Single Flame”. On a beautiful hazy winter’s afternoon, Lucy and I with our wonderful assistants, Rob and Sophie, trekked down to the local brook avec a gigantic case of goodies and set up our scene just as the sun was settling into golden hour. Huge numbers of candles and lanterns were arranged around a particularly stunning Lucy and I had little fits of joy as the light danced into the lens. Check out Lu’s website for more details on the new album! www.lucywardsings.com
Finally, to round off this section’s music photography madness, the next day in Sheffield those nice lads from KAN turned up at my door for an exceedingly last minute photoshoot ahead of their gig at the Greystones later that evening. Picture frames were vandalised, tea was consumed and hilarity occurred in large volumes. I can’t wait to show you the results! Later that evening I popped along to their gig avec camera. It looked a little bit like this:
PHOTOGRAPHY: FASHION & PHOTO DAYS
Two photo days occurred between January and March. The first was with the phenomenal Katie Eleanor, a lady whose work I’ve been ever so slightly in love with since I first found it through our mutual friend, the equally brilliant Cat Lane. If you’re not familiar with your work and are a fan of beautiful, imaginative film photography with a fairytale twist, go check it out. Katie battled her way through the snow with the most amazing suitcase of goodies I’ve ever seen ever (seriously, she’d made an entire cape out of paper peacock feathers and allsorts!) and we gritted our teeth and posed in the cold. What a total star.
Next up, Ella Ruth and I cancelled a photo day due to horizontal blizzards. And then re-arranged for the next day. OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS COLD. You can read my full account of our blue-tinted adventures to the Sheffield Botanical Gardens here. I’m sure you’ll agree that Ella did a stellar job of pretending that it wasn’t, in fact, minus too much to be wearing a summer dress:
The fashion shoot this sector came in the form of photographing a stunning collection of pieces by Sheffield student (and one of my wonderful assistants on Lucy Ward’s album shoot), the lovely Sophie Crocker. I drove through drifts of snow taller than my little Renault to a perfect farm location near Ashbourne in Derbyshire where myself, Sophie, Lucy and our two incredibly brave models set about shooting several different looks, accompanied by a variety of curious farm animals. Once again, it was cold to the extent of rosy noses and peeling fingers off the camera by the end of the shoot, but it was worth it.
PHOTOGRAPHY: EVERYTHING ELSE!
March witnessed me giving my first ever photography talk. Scary business! I’d been booked a year previously by the nice folk at Keyworth Camera Club and was asked to talk about freelancing in the current photographic market, including my use of social media and how I’d got started in the business. It took several days of grumbling at a Word document, but I actually really enjoyed the process of recounting everything as part of the preparation – it re-affirmed the reasons that I love this job and why I got into it in the first place, and made me realise just how fortunate I’ve been to find a niche that works for both my photography and music. As it stands, I had a really enjoyable evening chatting to the packed club, despite my nerves on the journey! If you’re interested, you can read what I had to say here.
MUSIC: DAVID GIBB & ELLY LUCAS
The duo, despite the ludicrous volumes of snow, had something of a busy winter. It started a couple of days after my spectacularly hungover New Year’s Day when my parents and I drove down to the south coast to collect an organ (the electric variety, rather than the organic variety – a sudden epiphany moment didn’t instigate a sudden drastic career move) which David had decided was imperative to the sound of our new album. I’m endlessly grateful to my Mum & Dad for deciding to visit some relatives at that particular time, I definitely didn’t fancy doing the journey myself at that point! Strolls along the sea front avec full waterproofs, hats and scarfs happened:
We arrived back into Derby with this shiny new electric musical device and David and I dived straight into a week of recording with our pals at Snug Recording Co. Special guest appearances from the wonderful Will Pound (harmonica and melodeon) and Jim Molyneux (every kind of percussion ever) caused huge volumes of excitement and I left the studio at the end of our time there feeling genuinely pleased, for one of the first times in my history of recording, with what we had achieved.
January saw our first ever foray into Scotland to gig as the duo! We wound our way up to Edinburgh through the snow drifts to play at the rather adorable Wee Folk Club and even had the opportunity to explore the city a little beforehand. The best part of the whole adventure happened when THE OTHER DAVE GIBB turned up (WE FINALLY MET!) There’s been a certain amount of on-going banter between ourselves and Dave due to the regular confusion of folk clubs and gig promoters, so we were delighted to finally meet and play alongside him. What a lovely chap.
Back down in the far-ish South, David and I had the chance to support a couple of nice folk – firstly Megson at The Glee Club in Nottingham (thanks guys!) and secondly Heidi Talbot at The Assembly Rooms in Derby. Both gigs were an absolute delight, so big thanks to Stu, Debs, Tom Rose, Heidi, John, Ian and Bob Rushton for putting us on – we had a ball!
Our final gig of March was at the Leicester Guildhall and is one that I’ll remember vividly for quite some time. I’d love to say it was just because we had a brilliant audience (which we did), but I think the thing that will stay most resolutely in my memory is this:
That’s right, ladies and gents, amongst the dark wood panelling and austere portraiture on the walls, there lurked a GIANT COTTON WOOL RABBIT. I’ll not lie, standing between that and David playing the ukulele potentially rates as the twee-est thing I have ever done. It was glorious.
Aside from the gigging and recording, January to March featured some visual business. Firstly a photoshoot involving the most temperamental projector in the universe, which eventually yielded this:
And secondly a video shoot for one of the tracks from our new album, entitled “Dalmatian Cradle Song”. We’re yet to release the video, but here’s a little screenshot of yours truly gothed up to the max:
I enjoyed the dose of eyeliner-based nostalgia far too much. Just wait until you see the video… Admittedly for the most part I look like I’m flirting outrageously with the wall, but whatcha gonna do.
AND ALL THE REST!
We’re nearly there, boys and girls! Hang in there, I believe in you.
As previously alluded to, I spent a few days in fair Glasgow for photoshoot / vinyl launch purposes. While I was there I also managed to do the following:
a) Get hooked on Merlin. (Thank you Angela Grain, I blame you entirely for the wasted days that followed!)
b) Remember too late that cheap umbrellas do not fare well in Scotland.
c) Watch my pals and photographees Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar and Blair Dunlop WIN their categories (Young Folk Award & Horizon Award) at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. I almost exploded with happiness. It was such a lovely evening and I was so incredibly proud of all of my friends who’d been nominated – I’m constantly reminded how much of a privilege it is to know such a brilliant, talented bunch of people.
As well as my Scottish adventures, I had the opportunity to model for photographer extraordinaire, Lee Garland, in collaboration with the styling wizardry of Sam Barker. This time round I was modelling alongside the spectacularly bearded Didz Parker, and was dressed in a whole array of garments – from the relatively sensible right the way through to the completely, gloriously bonkers. Lots of twirling and backcombing occurred and I had an all-round lovely time.
Next up came it was birthday time! Rather conveniently I share my birthday with that nice Sam Sweeney, so after a thoroughly enjoyable walk along Peak Valley Railway in Derbyshire with my parents and the camera, we all went to the pub for an evening of birthday joyousness. I even got to wear my new dress, knitted by my exceedingly clever / wonderful Mum!
And there we have it! We’ve finally hit April. Only four months left to catch up on…
Until next time,