Long nights, loud music and working super hard at a major rock & metal festival… fair play, this really is the best job in the world! Day one of Download Festival was spent helping set up the Total Guitar studio booth in the press area, meeting new photographers & catching up with old faces, a few surreal backstage experiences and losing every single pair of earplugs in my possession. Oh and it was sunny! Live highlights included Skindred (keeping it Newport!), Black Label Society, Royal Blood, Rob Zombie & Opeth. Behind the scenes and in the booth we had Zakk Wylde, Fredrik Åkesson, Mikael Åkerfeldt and John 5.
The latest issue of of Guitarist magazine – The Slide Issue – features one of my live Martin Harley shots from the Camden Roundhouse gig with Beth Hart. I don’t know why (the devil is in the detail I guess) but when Martin walked on stage and hung his jacket over the back of the chair before sitting down to play, that simple act had me hooked. Followed, of course, by his awesomely emotive performance – who could resist the seductive southern twang of the lap steel?!
These shots of Jonathan Wilson on board the Bristol Thekla have to be my most rewarding music portraits of 2013. Before the show we somehow found ourselves – Jonathan, guitar tech & all – locked out of the Thekla, in the bitterly cold wind only to discover that no-one inside the ship had any phone reception. By the time we were rescued, our limited schedule was squeezed ever tighter. But ultimately that is why I’m so proud of the results. The gear shots were taken off to one side of the tiny stage while the support artist ran through a quick soundcheck and the portraits were shot opposite the bar in under five minutes, just before the doors opened to the crowd. It’s amazing what you can achieve if someone is only willing to spare you a few moments! After past experiences with cranky tour managers, I am unbelievably happy to have this in the bag as (hopefully) proof that photographers don’t need to be considered an inconvenience. I think it’s surely worth it for everyone involved if you’re willing to give a photographer five minutes. The shots have featured in two magazines – illustrating this six page interview in Guitarist and a page in the new Acoustic mag (I’ve added a quick snap of this at the end).