Monday, 21 February 2011

To quote Jar Jar Binks...How ROOD!

A brilliant gig Friday night at the O2 Indigo gave me an opportunity to flex my somewhat out-of-shape rock'n'roll photography muscles, and try and bag some shots of the fantastic Chasing Ora.

I first saw them live supporting Them Is Me at the Monto Water Rats a year or two ago, and I was more than a little impressed. When I got in touch with the band, mainly via Darren their bass player, I was even more impressed.

Not only do Chasing Ora produce some blistering tunes, such as the hauntingly memorable Jekyll & Hyde, and equally unforgettable Running Scared, not only are they a bunch of dedicated, hard-working, and exceptionally talented musicians, but - they are some of the nicest rock musicians I have ever had the privilege to meet. Which sets them poles apart from many bands on their rung of the ladder, and in my opinion, earns them a place much higher up.

Sadly the same could not be said for some of the "photographers" in the press pit...

Not content with machine-gunning the band at 10 fps for 30 minutes, hoping to snatch a couple of half-decent shots of "the pretty singer bird" so they can sell them to whoever will pay, they tried their hardest to ensure others in the pit didn't get any good shots, by whatever means necessary.

At one point one of the videographers, a really lovely young lady working for the band, was blocked from passing photographers in the pit, so she couldn't get into position. Upon noticing this, said photographers turned their back on her and ignored her, refusing to give up their vantage point.

I have had some great opportunities to shoot rock music from the press pit, and this really pained me. I have been privileged to work alongside some really talented and nice guys, eager to pass on advice to me, then a relative newbie, but the thing I think impacted me most was the friendliness of these guys.

They were clearly brilliant photographers and (I think this is the key) they had no insecurities about other photographers "getting better shots" - they were just there because they loved the music, and loved photography. Which is why I do it. And when I meet other likeminded photographers, that makes it all the more fun.

I loved the camaraderie in the pit, people watching out for each other, moving aside for other photographers to get their shots too, not hogging space in front of the microphone stand. In short, it was a place where good manners still existed.

Sadly it looks like "rock paparazzi" are now inhabiting the press pit, and have not brought their manners with them. There are few things that irritate me more than somebody being a bully, and that is pretty much all these morons are. All they want, is one good shot (not that they have the ability or the eye to get such a thing deliberately, despite owning a huge camera to compensate) and they don't care how they get it, or who else suffers.

Fortunately, I can't see this phenomenon lasting, as whilst they clearly excel at being downright rude, they really aren't very good at taking photos... and after all, that's quite important isn't it?

Being urban and chic. We does it.

last week I had a very exciting call from Abi, the amazing designer behind the Be Urban Chic range of clothes. She had, at the very last possible moment been offered an exhibition stand at the PURE London Exhibition, in the Olympia showground.

This highly prestigious event was nothing more than she deserves, as her clothes are simply amazing, her passion is unmatched and her talent is astounding. Drawing inspiration from the 60s and 70s British fashion scene, Abi manages to combine classic ideas with modern twists in a way that is totally devoid of pretence, she does not pander to either the past or the present, she takes the best of what has come before nd combines it perfectly and beautifully with things that work today.

Something I believe is important to my own passion, as a photographer, .

Oh and Abi is also one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet!

With the aid of three very beautiful (and tall) ladies, we staged an inpromptu fashion shoot, against one of the old white brick walls near the Be Urban stand. And amazing things started to happen. The photos, taken with a couple of cheap flash guns, were fantastic, the brickwork and the moody shadows combining with the moody attitude of the brilliant models, Claire and Victoria, to compliment the fantastic clothing perfectly, giving the resulting images an edgy urban quality.

In fact so pleased was I with the photos, I rather regret shelling out on my studio. all I need, it seems, is a nice wall somewhere...

The other thing that happened confirmed something I have believed for a while -
photography is a spectator sport. As soon as people noticed us, the Be Urban stall was awash with enquirers, curious to find out why there were photographers and noise and general activity in a hall full of people standing stock still in their stalls. And then once drawn over, the clothes did the talking and our job was done.

I always really appreciate any opportunity to work as part of a bigger team, and the fleeting visit to PURE London was a fantastic chance to do this, with some really brilliant ladies. I had a fantastic time working with some really great people, and I can't wait for the next time!