photography

Playhard – Penguins Rising, The Valves, Bad Wolf, The Winachi Tribe and Tony Steele and the Massacre

Friday 23rd January – The Phoenix

The full gallery can be found here:

http://polstarphotography.smugmug.com/Live-Music/PLAYHARD-23rd-January-2015/

A splendid night of fun and frolics with the Playhard crowd.

Penguins Rising

https://twitter.com/penguinsrising

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The Valves

https://twitter.com/valvesmusic

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Bad Wolf

https://twitter.com/ukbadwolf

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The Winachi Tribe

https://twitter.com/winachitribe

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Tony Steele and the Massacre

https://twitter.com/tonyred78

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Alexander Wolfe – Zigfrid Von Underbelly – 16th December 2014

Photographing with mild concussion is an interesting state to be in.

I collided heads with a Year 8 student prior to going and photographing Alex, I now have a lump the size of an egg on my forehead, and it hurts a LOT.

BUT … I wanted to see Alex play, it’s been a while.

I know Alex through Officer Kicks (yup – that band has enriched my life quite a lot!) and I’m glad I do.  His music is beautiful, plaintive and induces goose-bumps and tears at the drop of a hat in this over-emotional photographer.

Before the gig we did an interview for an ex-student of mine. She’s creating a documentary for college about the music industry and we plumped ourselves on a dimly lit staircase and chatted for a while.  Hopefully we got something useful for her!

Anyway – here’s some photos I took on Tuesday evening with a bump on my noggin.  The rest, of course, can be found on my site here.

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PLEASE go and listen to his music – you won’t be disappointed!

http://www.alexanderwolfe.co.uk/

“It’s not easy to ask … asking makes you vulnerable.” – Amanda Palmer

Asking was something I learned to do very early on when I started photographing.  For someone who is actually fairly unsure of themselves and very self-concious this was an extremely difficult thing to do.  It still is – whether I’m asking on a professional or personal level – asking basically makes you naked in front of the recipient.  You are waiting for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and must be prepared for both.

With regards to my photography I’m finding it easier to ask … after all my livelihood doesn’t depend upon it.  I don’t pay my bills with my photography, I simply enjoy myself and hopefully connect with new people.  Probably because I’m fairly confident in my abilities as a photographer, I have lots and lots to learn still, but I know I am a fairly decent photographer.

On the personal level it’s much harder; it always will be.   I spent so much time asking my ex for the truth, for honesty, for transparency but if I was faced with silence or lies, it made asking the next time much harder.  Since I spent so much time before that relationship hiding my true self I made a promise:  I would ask.  Whatever the answer I would always ask. Sometimes it makes me come across as pushy or ‘forward’ but … as my students say … ‘YOLO Miss!’.

‘Will you …?’

‘Would you …?’

‘Can I …?’

‘Could you …?’

‘Why …?’

‘How …?’

Sometimes I just wish people understood how hard it is for someone like me to ask. I live my life second-guessing every nuance of speech and text, which is a hard habit to break. I’m learning to but without that communication between those involved, how could I do anything but?

I’ve been having long conversations with a friend about this.  He’s in an open marriage, something I find difficult to understand, but their relationship fascinates me.  He said that without ‘asking’ they would never be happy.  By asking permission from his partner, and vice-versa, they are really bloody happy.  So why don’t more people ask?  Why don’t more people answer honestly?

So why is this blog about asking?

Firstly I’m reading Amanda Palmer’s ‘The Art of Asking’.  Anyone who knows me knows I’ve had an up and down relationship with Amanda Palmer.  I fell in love with her music and her passion 8 years ago … then I fell out of love with her.  But, Amanda, I’m sure you’ll be over-joyed to know this, but I’ve fallen back in love.  Deeply.  The Art of Asking is a beautiful book that, for women like me who lay themselves bare, allows and empowers.  So firstly, this is a ‘thank-you’ to Amanda.

Secondly, I’ve found myself asking, asking, asking people for different things over the past few months.  I’ve demanded time, shoulders to cry on, partners in crime, patience, help and friendship.  I’ve not asked without giving though. I will always give more than I ask for.

Finally, it reminded me of the first time I ever asked to photograph a band.

I’d photographed The Dresden Dolls at The Roundhouse and wanted to see if I could photograph other bands so I went to The Dirty South in Lewisham to photograph a band my students were in.  I turned up with my Minolta 5D, my kit lens and a few quid in my pocket to buy some Dutch courage.

I heard a band sound-checking and liked their energy.

I approached the guitarist at the bar after they’d finished and asked if I could photograph their set.  He was very charming and said ‘of course’; and so I met James Fisher. So that conversation was my downfall.  I was tied (in a good way) to the highs and lows of Officer Kicks for the next 4/5 years.

I found the photos I took that night earlier in the week … I thought I’d share them.  They’re not great, after all this was before I knew about fast lenses and low lights. But I’m still proud of them – after all I would never have gotten them without asking.

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I remember that Dirty South used this on their Myspace (oh those were the days!) for well over a year … the first photo I ever took of Jamie, I was just trying out the light!

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Up the nose shot – natch!

 

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Sharing the mike.
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The Zine -Chapter 3 …

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Click on photo to take you to the latest edition of The Zine

The latest edition of The Zine has some photos what I did … being a part of such an amazing community that has grown and spread across Deptford to all corners of London is such an amazing privilege. Caffy St. Luce, Deptford’s own love pirate, and I have engaged on many adventures, weaving friendships through our love of bands, musicians and simply connecting with people. Her newest venture, Number 3, is a hub of crazy creativity which invigorates the soul of anyone who enters.  I love it with a passion and was lucky enough to do some promo shots for the venue – some of which you can see inside Chapter 3 of The Zine.  The rest can be found on my website.

Other than that,  you can also find photos from Alleycats of Jean Genie’s Massive Hugs, Son of a Lumberjack and Bad Wolf.  WHOOP!

I’ll be heading back to Number 3 tomorrow for  Number 3 Live Launch :

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my camera will be in my hands and I’ll be hoping to capture some special moments from this exciting night.

Rhiannon The Nightmare: https://www.facebook.com/rhiannonthenightmaremusic – listen to them on Soundcloud too

James Fisher: https://www.facebook.com/fissicella – listen to him on Soundcloud

Jean Genie’s Massive Hugs: https://www.facebook.com/jeangeniesmassivehugs

and DJ Gavin Black: https://twitter.com/djgavinblack

Come down.  Come dance.  Come hug.

Can’t wait!

Is being drunk conducive to taking good pictures? …

This is indeed a question that, as a gig photographer I ask myself a lot. After all I’ve photographed a lot of gigs and been drunk at many of them. Not fall over, vomit in the corner drunk, but a wee bit tipsy drunk. So why would I do that knowing that I’m there to take photos? Well, partly my chronic shyness. I know (to those that know me) I don’t come across as chronically shy but I do, still, get horrendously nervous photographing. So – is being drunk conducive to taking good photos?

This all stems from a line from the The Rock ‘n’ Roll Diaries, a book by Jamie Scallion, once (still?) the lead singer of Officer Kicks.

This wonderful tome is a “series of novels … (which) … follows the journey and rise to fame of four teenage boys from South London.” for that ever increasing market of young adults!

But there was one line that stood out for me as I spent so many evenings travelling to various parts of London to photograph Jamie and the other Officer Kicks boys:

“Egg wondered if being drunk was conducive to taking good pictures.”

Well – you tell me!  I thought I did an ok job and most of the time I was a few drinks down.  To be honest, I always felt that being a little bit tipsy (not catatonic – I made the mistake of doing that before a Charlatans gig and forever regret it) helped me with my confidence.

So onto my recent outing with my trusty prime lens for another foray into photographing a gig in a lowly lit venue.

I do like Bad Wolf – have you noticed?

They played on Friday at Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, hidden downstairs.  Unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about the gig because I was a wee bit drunk and can’t remember what they played. But I had fun!

Here’s some of the photos, and here’s a link to my website with them.  Enjoy and let me know, is being drunk conducive to taking good pictures?

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Archives #2 – Portraits

… when I wanted to make a go of this ‘photography’ lark I did a few photo shoots.  I’m really proud of some of the work I did and am sad that I don’t have time to do so much any more.  I no longer have my lights (in limbo at the moment) and I’m still trying to work out the whys and wherefores of off-camera flash.  I’ve never been particularly good at lighting techniques and it’s something I really would like to practice again (when I get new lights I guess).

But here are a few portraits that I’m still proud of:

This photograph was taken in a make-shift photobooth we set up (before they became all hip and trendy).  I was there for what seemed like hours, capturing the crazy looks of the revelers.

This photograph was taken in a make-shift photobooth we set up (before they became all hip and trendy). I was there for what seemed like hours, capturing the crazy looks of the revelers.

I did some work with models off Model Mayhem to build up my portfolio.  This one was featured in a magazine which I should really hunt out!

I did some work with models off Model Mayhem to build up my portfolio. This one was featured in a magazine which I should really hunt out!

Anarkali - a photograph from two days spent photographing bellydancers at a Bellydance Superstar event. I loved these women - so inspiring.

Anarkali – a photograph from two days spent photographing bellydancers at a Bellydance Superstar event.
I loved these women – so inspiring.

Samantha Emmanuel.  She invited me down to Devon to photograph a bellydance weekend and I spent some time doing a shoot with her.

Samantha Emmanuel. She invited me down to Devon to photograph a bellydance weekend and I spent some time doing a shoot with her.

At the Spiegeltent when it was next to Battersea Power station.

At the Spiegeltent when it was next to Battersea Power station.

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This was a photo shoot with a MUA and a model to build our portfolios.  He was up for ANYTHING so we dressed him as a fairy.  I was really proud of my editing more than anything on this.

This was a photo shoot with a MUA and a model to build our portfolios. He was up for ANYTHING so we dressed him as a fairy. I was really proud of my editing more than anything on this.

I’m going to hunt out some of my ‘band’ photographs later in the week.  It’s fun going through the archives – I think I was an ‘ok’ photographer at one point!

 

some photos I have taken …

I have 1720 photos to go through from Rome … I’ve only tackled some of the Cimitero Monumentale del Verano photos so far.  I couldn’t wait to photograph the Gilulio Monteverde sculpture on his family tomb there.  It took ages to find but with the help from a chain-smoking, Ray-Ban wearing, turtle-necked, leather jacketed Italian guide we eventually found it.

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It’s going to take me a while to go through the rest of the photographs.  I’ll be posting them here: http://polstarphotography.smugmug.com/

(I really can’t seem to write coherently at the moment)

I photographed a gig recently (well about 3 weeks ago).  My friend, Jamie, was playing at Alleycats in Denmark Street, so I went along to get depressed!  As always, he was excellent:

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You can find him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fissicella and hear him on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/fishstudio

Then we had the splendidly happy Jean-Genie’s Massive Hugs.

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I love this woman – she’s one of the happiest people I have ever met.

They were followed by Nina Baker:

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I’m a sucker for the sound of a woman with a piano … I must check out more of her music.

And then Son of a Lumber Jack who rocked!

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Finally it was Bad Wolf.  I’d chatted to Simon and Matthias before they went on and really liked the guys … I hate it if I meet a band before I hear them play and then don’t like their music.  I’m not very good at covering my real feelings!  My facial expressions are way too expressive.

Now I’m not going to gush, but I really did love them.  I love having band crushes where I just want to listen to their music and enthuse to everyone and their dog how brilliant this band are (WHY hadn’t I heard of them sooner?).  Caffy (from Rocklands), Sam and I all agreed that it was like the old days with Officer Kicks (where we all met).  The lyrics, riffs and just energy spoke to me – especially the lyrics (although I wasn’t really aware of these during the gig, continuous play of their first album has opened my ears!).

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And they’re playing again next week! WHOOP!

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Anyway I really can’t seem to write at the moment (still too early in the morning) so I’ll leave this now.

Go to: http://badwolfband.net/ and download their album (give them some money for it too!).

Love live music.