(Image by Linda McCartney)
Man, its been a busy time. I have sadly neglected this blog for WEEKS! Mid-June was my last post. My bad…I’d love to say things will improve, but sadly it looks like continuing batshitted-crazyness for the foreseeable future. I’ve barely shot any new street work in almost a month, which is the longest break I’ve ever had…and its NOT because I wanted the rest.
However, its a ‘kind of’ sunny morning in my corner of the world, and its a Sunday, so if I cant find the time to write something now who knows when you’ll next hear from me. The floors can wait to be swept…
As followers to my Instagram will probably know (‘capitalfaces’ if you’re interested) I’ve been following ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner Tokio Myers with some interest. I first shot him a few years ago at a talent showcase while he was still doing the cruise ships, corporate Christmas parties and PR events. Even then, I wondered why this prodigiously gifted musician was…well, not huge. I referred to him then as the Jimi Hendrix of the piano, and I still stick by that. To watch him perform is like nothing I’ve seen (or shot) before…its like some kind of fierce poetry. Yeah, like Jimi….
In short, it looks like all that hard work has paid off for the lad from North London – now signed to Simon Cowell’s ‘Syco’ record label, and a number 1 single (see below) under his belt already – the future looks rosy. And it is well deserved.
(feel free to donate. its an ongoing battle, and some of these victims STILL don’t have a place to live. I donated a Fuji camera to the London based ‘Creative Access’ charity in memory of Khadija Saye, a young and gifted photographer who sadly perished in the fire)
Jump forward a couple of months, I had the opportunity to shoot his first gigs since his world began getting a little crazy. These were not huge shows – they were booked before he even won the TV show – but they were at the highly prestigious Elgar Rooms, housed inside London’s world famous Royal Albert Hall. Small, intimate shows with no more than 200 fans at each of the two gigs. Here’s a few shots…
I even had to time to grab a quick selfie. 🙂 We’re mates. He was cool.
Camera used was my Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with a variety of glass. Most of the portrait stuff was shot on a VERY old Olympus Zuiko OM 100mm F2.8. The rest were shot on either the Samyang/Rokinon 12mm or (and this will be a surprise) the Fujinon XF 18-55 zoom – the image stabilisation comes in useful. The light, somewhat predictably, was pretty awful.
ANYWAY – to get on to the whole point of this blog….man, I can waffle on, can’t I….
A fellow photographer friend shot a question to me a few weeks ago after I showed him the images from the Elgar gigs. It blindsided me, as I never ever EVER get asked questions about my photography, street or otherwise. I don’t mind this – I shoot alone anyway, I don’t covet ‘followers’ or ‘likes’ (though I appreciate them) and I think its pretty pretentious to assume I’m an artist of any kind. I’m not – I capture milliseconds of life. And it gets me out of the house. That is all I do. I don’t get paid. I do it because I love it. And I’m not good enough to be paid, frankly.
‘These look familiar’…he said. Which is obviously impossible, as they were un-published at that time. And I must have looked confused…
‘Who influenced you on these?’ he asked.
‘Linda McCartney’ I said, without hesitation. There followed a loud guffaw, and a comment about veggie sausages etc etc etc…
As I pointed out to him (edited without rude names and cuss words directed at my friend) Linda McCartney was a photographer of considerable talent BEFORE she married Paul, and BEFORE her range of veggie tucker was in the shops. When researching pics of Hendrix to help inspire me when shooting Tokio, I even surprised myself when discovering that most of my favourite ones were taken by Linda. She was amazing – her compositional skills are exemplary, especially when you consider the unregulated and crazy nature of gigs back in the late 60’s…using what was then basic manual equipment (no zooms either, remember – I believe she was a Nikon F shooter) and film stock which would have been no faster than 400ISO (if that). Incredible, really. She had the innate skill to completely isolate Jimi on stage, long before the invention of spot-metering, and delivered some of the most iconic images in rock music. You go girl.
It wasn’t just Jimi either. Janis, the Stones, Jim and the Doors….all looked freaking fabulous through her lens (even Yoko did). I recommend you check her out. Like, REALLY check her out. And wow, what a cool family album those McCartney kids must have….
Certainly a pause for thought. But a thought I am grateful for, and went in to my session with Tokio with a ‘what would Linda do’ type of question the whole time. Except for the selfie…that was all me. 🙂
Overall, it was a session I was pretty happy with. This was also the first real test of the latest X-Pro 2 firmware which improved the low light focussing (something I was still struggling with) and it pretty much passed.
Once this week is out I should be back to a normal schedule (I freaking hope so anyway) so no doubt I’ll be pounding the streets looking for victims before long. There is still quite a bit of summer left, so I suggest you do the same…
At the end of Sept, I’m undertaking my most adventurous trip yet – a 10 nighter in Malaysia, starting in Kuala Lumpa and ending in Langkawi. I’ll try to get a few posts in before I leave. After that, be prepared to be bored rigid with tales from the east….
As ever, feel free to catch me on the ‘gram : capitalfaces
And do support Tokio on Instagram too : tokiomyersworld (he’s a good lad)
Have a great rest of the summer,