In late January I flew out of a torrential rainstorm in Los Angeles (a year’s worth of rain fell in one weekend) to the bitter chill of New York City. This was not a trip for taking in the weather! I was picked up at the airport and driven through the flat farmland of Amish country to the town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. I’d come to shoot a special edition publication called The Martin Bible – a comprehensive guide to Martin Guitars and their history – and was especially excited as I love a factory tour. The Martin Factory We started the day with a private tour of the Martin Factory at Sycamore Street, a huge facility with a red brick facade that recreates the original historic factory. We met the craftsmen and women who took us through some of the 300 stages it takes to build a Martin guitar. The factory is bright and airy with the expected, homely smell of freshly worked wood. I always enjoy seeing the personal areas of the workshop; the photos and nick-nacks, the worn-in tool handles, the wood shavings and glossy splodges of dried glue and varnish on the workbenches. The…
I love to be behind the scenes in the recording studio. In fact, I’m at my most zen when wearing ear defenders! This day was spent hanging out with Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy (who my man is currently playing guitar with) as they recorded lots of twangy Americana behind the huge iconic glass doors at Monnow Valley Studio with producer Huw Price. It’s a quirky place with a homely vibe, a cosy fairy-light cocoon for your creativity. Joe is a prolific songwriter who seems to come up with five new songs every time he sits down, they just fall out of him! Is your band recording at Monnow Valley Studio or nearby Rockfield? Get in touch and let’s capture some vibe-y shots for your record sleeve!
“Insomniaaaa!” A few months back I joined Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose of Feeder at John Henry’s in London where they were rehearsing for their upcoming festival dates. A Newport girl and a Newport band! It was an afternoon of beaten up Jazzmasters, Telecasters and custom basses, scuffed & taped & toured to death, and Jack Nicholson’s face blindfolded in a sea of golden sparkle. We shot outdoors against the London bricks and were entertained by the muffled sound of another band practising in a studio next door… I think it was Travis! Oh to go back in time and tell my 14 year old self what I would be up to these days!
Download Festival 2017 was a quiet one for me as I was on another shoot for the first two days (talk about bad planning!). But thankfully I managed to make the Sunday and catch Aerosmith on their Aero-Verdici Baby tour. They’re always a dream come true, even when stuck in front of the mixer hoping for the best with a long lens and my D800! This year I also had the pleasure of photographing Slayer, Airbourne, The Cadillac Three, Steel Panther, In Flames, Opeth & Ministry. AND I discovered the Happy Maki vegan sushi truck – oh my word, be sure to order their Hoisin mock “duck” wrap if you ever find yourself in the guest area, mmm!
My first shoot day of the year was spent in the most incredible space at Spring Studios in London; think almost 3000 square feet of reclaimed wooden flooring and crisp white walls, flooded with natural light. It was such a treat to have a large, beautiful room to work in rather than a bustling backstage corridor or a cramped tour bus! I was there to shoot Ricky Gervais for Guitar Aficionado magazine – a luxury guitars and lifestyle mag from the states – check out the feature and some of my favourite shots below.