It was over a year ago now that I took some photos of a certain local band's debut live performance. I felt honoured to be asked to do it, and I thought I was up to the challenge. The band was Eagle and the Worm, and I wrote about the dismal failure of the photos on this blog about eleven months ago.

When just two weeks ago Eagle's mastermind Jarrad asked me to take more photos of his wonderful band, I was more than a little reluctant. What if they fail again, I thought. Everyone in the band will know. I'll let Jarrad down.

Lucky for me, and lucky for Jarrad, they didn't fail at all.

(A note: I really must recommend that you click through on all the images to see them enlarged.)

The above photo is, for me, by far the most successful and wonderful image of the dozens I took that afternoon. It just hits every note: composition, lighting, contrast. But more importantly than all that (and no doubt in part because of all that), it captures something at once beautiful and classic about this band, and it seems to hold so much of what I love about photography and about music.

While I can definitively say that the first photo is my standout, there are many other highlights, if only because a) I took so many shots, and b) I was shooting with four different types of film, so there is lots of variety in the results. Take this shot of Joe, who was in the prime position to bask in the late afternoon rays of light streaming through into the gorgeous rehearsal room. This particular film, with its extreme grain, gives all the light an ethereal quality. Doesn't Joe look like some kind of apparition?

Another reason Joe was a favourite subject was his amazing instruments. He had brought three keyed instruments - at the risk of sounding ignorant, I'm going to say an organ, a piano and a keyboard - which surrounded him with this incredibly striking border. The gorgeous, smooth, silvery film perfectly complements the black and white of the keys. And let's not overlook Joe's amazing shirt. And hair. And moustache.

While I took a tonne of photos using my 35mm cameras, I also wanted to make good use of my lomo cameras. Jarrad had said that he was looking for a classic, analogue look, and so there was no way I was going past the vignetted, scratchy look of black and white through the plastic lenses of the Holga and Diana. This great shot of Jarrad makes me pleased I decided to coordinate all four of my cameras, because it's got such great energy. In truth it was really rushed because we were getting kicked out of the room, but to Jarrad's credit (and possibly to mine), we managed to get a totally natural, dynamic and quite timeless shot of this modest leading man.

Another classic image of Jarrad - though you can't necessarily tell it's him. Most photos from the day made good use of my various flashes. But thanks to that one stream of light, I was able to get a few in natural light. I love the way it hits the floor and creates the stark shadows in this image.

The main aim of the afternoon was to get shots of the band playing together, and photos like this one, with all the mics in a row, hint at the scale of the band while still focusing on an individual.

The great thing about being in the rehearsal room with Eagle and the Worm was that I felt totally comfortable getting right up in their faces, which I needed to do in order for lomo shots like this one to work out. Everyone was overwhelmingly welcoming and accommodating, too, which made all the difference. I wouldn't have the success rate I ended up with if not for the total cooperation of all these lovely people.

I was happy to push myself and my cameras to capture more than one person in the frame. But I have to be honest - the shots I revelled in taking were the lone portraits, which enabled my cameras to really get to know everyone, so to speak. Initially, I did this while they played. And take a look at these four stunning shots of the solo musicians:

There isn't much to say about these that you can't tell just by looking; they're all so vibrant and attractive.

I wanted to take the portrait idea further, though, and so I got each member to pose for me against a grotty old wall after the rehearsal had finished. I shot them on both 35mm and the Diana, and I love the results from each format. Here are just a few examples:

Look at Liam! Look at Jim! At Joe! At Michael! Holy hell, if nothing else you have to concede that this is one good-looking band.

I suspect Jarrad asked me to take the photos because he thought that the style of my black-and-white photography would suit the down-and-dirty, marvellously boisterous vibe of his magnificent band. I think he was right. When he told me he was thrilled with the results I felt completely relieved and abolutely over the moon that my photos could please someone else to such an extent. But aside from that, the almost total success of these photos means that I'm finally at peace with those terrible images from just over a year ago.


drug house?

Isn't that what shoes over the wire is supposed to mean? I quite often see shoes flung over the wires on our street. Either this means that we live in a particularly active narcotics area (quite possible), or we have a lot of bored neighbours with too many shoes.

Either way, I have no complaints. Because the result gives me a regularly shoe-filled view when I crane my neck skywards, which never fails to charm me.

I didn't have high (zing!) hopes for this shot but it actually turned out nicely. I particularly like: the amount of blue sky; the fact that the shoes are so well centred within that blue space; the classic detail on the house directly below; and, most of all, the placement and pattern of the wires across the sky. Why are there so many wires in a quiet residential street?! Wait - I'm asking too many questions again. It doesn't matter whether this quaint house hosts a veritable drug lab or not. It doesn't matter why there are eight wires in such a small space. What matters is that it all came together on a wonderfully clear, sunny day to give me what you see here.


portrait of the week: ghostly cousins

I didn't mean to expose the film multiple times, but with all the flurry of shooting my cousin's wedding I completely forgot to wind on! An oversight, to be sure, but lomo cameras are designed to yield such accidental oddities.

It's not one of my most successful multiple exposures, but the thing I really like about the layers is Holly's calm face between the two dancing girls. Aside from the double image, the bright green and brilliant blue are, as always, irresistible.

As the summer well and truly says goodbye, I lament the fact that it passed without a single picnic in the gardens or trip to the beach. Its demise has caught me, like many others, completely unawares. However, perhaps it is a good thing, if only because the shock of its impending departure forced me to shoot a slide roll while the sun was still shining at the weekend. Unless it all goes disastrously, expect to see some newborn images here soon.