Sunday 30 November 2014

Photos November

I've had some meaningful photo experiences this year. Shooting at EIBF(Edinburgh International Book festival)) was so interesting of course. I went to several challenging talks - most notably by the pre-eminent Scottish historian Tom Devine - on the Scottish Enlightenment and secondly on the Darien Project. I attended talks also on the Scottish referendum questions and the press and media. EIBF BLOGS September 2014 here.

-Scottish Referendum. I view Scottish Independence as a journey. Many of the top Scottish intellectuals and writers (such as Tom Devine and others) have come out on the side of Scottish independence believing it to be the best way forward for Scotland, after careful  consideration.  As yet I've not found any good reasons for the UK union- apart from past sentiment or the world wars. This pulling and sharing of resources quoted by the Better Together team seems to mean London pulling in the UK resources. The referendum energised Scottish politics and since then the SNP have had such a surge in new members that no one could have predicted, and they are now the third largest UK party. 

-Recently I had the exciting and fun experiences of shooting at the wonderful Your Disco Needs You - The Musical at Glasgow's Mitchell theatre - written by Anita Neilson, musical score by David Allan and choreography by Tim Noble.  

 I didn't set out thinking I would be a music photographer - I became one by accident after capturing interesting images at a music gig.  It seemed to matter to me to capture something special about unique gigs. 
I know my best images are mostly captured when there is unlimited access to a concert and I can find a nice position to the side of the stage and not interfere too greatly with the audiences enjoyment. I want to be a bystander, an observer, not a participant - although the whole point for me is  to be lost and absorbed by the music. That's why I am there - at the Queens hall Edinburgh or the Oran Mor Glasgow. 

I attend gigs I hope to enjoy. Of course for the bigger artists there is the photographers pit, sometimes OK, but other times a rammy to get those good shots in the restricted three song grab, which means most music photos end up all looking the same kind of limited mug shots at the safe start of the gig and creativity is lost. While with a few other serious gigs there can be an exciting adrenalin rush, all great fun!  I'm very grateful for all the interesting musicians, artists, and writers I have met. 

Renowned jazz photographer David Redfern died 2014.  In his obituary to Redfern by his close friend Tom Seymour -
 "Like other photographers of his generation, schooled as he was in the chemistry and craft of picture-making, he has lived through the digital revolution. Gone now is the widespread recognition of the photographer as a respected artist providing a valuable contribution to the development of the industry. In its place is a new paradigm of control and restrictions: access restricted to the first three songs or the back of the hall, draconian contracts, impatient minders. As he wrote in 2005: “Nowadays one has to cut through so much hype and crap before one can even consider whether to photograph an event or concert.” It is indeed sobering to consider how many images we might not be able to enjoy if today’s restrictions had applied when David Redfern was building his archive."  Well exactly!
I began to wonder is music photography about the art and craft or simply the mug shot?
I continue to work on editing techniques, mostly using Lightroom (occasionally Photoshop for trickier editing) and what works and what doesn't. Its a very subtle thing.

-Writing Work. My other focus of my writing work progresses with my first book nearly finished (?) especially as I have three other new books in progress now!  The organising, sorting and finishing work takes far longer than the first writing drafts by miles. As is the case with photography also - the shooting is only about 5% of the work. 

-My Musicfootnotes BLOG
Continues to do well and I continue being inspired and I enjoy doing the blog.  Top blogs this year include - Sandy Bells Bar, Female singer songwriters, John Hammond, George Harrison, Rolling Stones, Eva Cassidy, Bring it All Home, Gerry Rafferty, Black and white photography. 

-Music 2014
Some new albums tI have enjoyed his year -  Head and Heart,  Sarah McLachlan, Mary Chapman Carpenter, White Denim,

Thursday 27 November 2014

Martha Wainwright at the Fruitmarket

I’ve been to many incredible gigs, both big and small. I’ve seen some of my all time favourites – Bob Dylan, Paul MacCartney, Elton John, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, Coldplay, Richard Thompson,  - I’m so grateful for.
It’s at the best gigs, where both the audience and performer are really up for it and I get full access, to discreetly shoot from the side, that I get my best photos.

One such gig was singer songwriter Martha Wainwright at the Fruitmarket Glasgow. She held the packed audience with only her mesmerising guitar, voice and songs.  

Music Today 2014

Today the successful artists generate money via - 60% Tickets, 20% tour merchandise; 10% Publishing; 4% misc; 2 to 4% Record sales. 

Adele is an exception and her 21 album of 2011 sold 30m. Her managers handle books and publishing - they are the quarterbacks and the artist is the CEO.

Over saturation is also a problem according to Adele's manager, 'The Internet content is everywhere; we're at saturation point which cheapens it. Sometimes you have to say no!  Being a gatekeeper to these opportunities is key.'

Not doing nothing but also not standing still either. Once an artist becomes a product of value, that's where the sales are.
The next step for music now is the transition from sales to streaming.   

Monday 24 November 2014

Black and White Photos Edinburgh Book Festival 2014

Bonnie Greer
Michael Pitre
Isabel Greenburg
Max Egremont
Julia Franck
Michèle Forbes
Jim Sillars
Kate Mosse 
Nick Hayes
Nathan Coley

Some of my photos Edinburgh International book festival 2014. If you wish to use any of my photos, please respect my copyright
The festival offers an informed blend of the old and new where the retro and the modern sit side by side here - imaginative fantasy with factual history, romantic poetry and detailed economy, the surreal novel, the researched biography alongside hard hitting political thought. The festival allows all voices a platform to be heard and to exchange ideas and aspirations and celebrates diversity of thought.

In Edinburgh the windy weather can be often dramatic - one moment brilliant sunshine the next torrential downpour for an hour. It keeps us alert for sure! I watch the sun on the elegant Georgian new town with the dark skies beyond.

Thursday 13 November 2014

New Writers Edinburgh

Leigh Bardugo
Jeff VanderMeer
Holly Baxter
Emma Healey
Nick Hayes
Lucy Saxon
Kirsty Logan
Isabel Greenburg
Anna Whitwham
Victoria Hendry

Some of the New Writers at Edinburgh International Book festival 2014.Please respect my copyright.