Archive for July, 2007


I’ve been feeling frustrated with my photography lately. Part of me wants to explore all possibilities with it – photographing people, places, landscapes … forgetting that the one type of photography I’m really good at is cemetery photography.

What is it about skulking around cemeteries that intrigues me so much? The rush of excitement I get when I find an interesting memorial, or try a new angle. I find the whole experience so solitary – so peaceful – knowing that I’m capturing something special.

I understand that some people find what I do: unusual. However, they would perhaps be surprised to find out that there are MANY of us around. Cemetery photographers – taphophiles – whatever you want to call us.

I find it strange when people feel offended by what I do. In some ways I understand their concerns that I may be disrespectful – after all – if they haven’t seen my work then they may just think that I take snap shots or something. I just hope that people understand that I put love and respect into my images. I take them to record these beautiful works of art. Afterall, many chose their own sculptures and memorials whilst alive, in order to be remembered in death. I just hope that my understanding and appreciation for these memorials comes through in my photography.


Interview with Simon Lipkin from Avenue Q

I do love my job sometimes. I run our school newspaper and often accompany one of our students on a press jaunt to London’s West End. We have also had the pleasure of interviewing Kerry Ellils (Elphaba in Wicked) and Simon Lipkin (who plays Trekkie Monster and Nicky in Avenue Q). Nick interviewed him yesterday and he was a complete STAR. Just so lovely, friendly, funny and charming (I was definitely charmed!).

Apparently he thinks that Ron would love to play Glinda in Wicked … and that you need to be schizophrenic to be in Avenue Q.

Some of the other photos can be seen here.

A big thanks to Simon.

ps: photos of Kerry Ellis can be seen here.


Rocklands, being altruistic and "I can’t wait for the summer holidays"


Saturday was fun fun fun. Although I was suffering from a slight hangover from the Trinity Ball the night before, I was still up and raring to go at mid-day.

Rocklands put on a stellar line-up. First up were Nebraska, many people have told me to see this band and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m no good at telling you what bands are like, and how their music makes me feel – the way music makes me feel is very personal – so just take it that I liked them and I’ll definitely be back for more.

Brickface were next up. I’m all for shouty shouty music, and the use of masks were quite amusing for a couple of songs – but then, I hate to say it, I got a bit bored. As a photographer you need the band to DO something – and they well … just weren’t. If you’re a guitarist – wig out a bit. If you’re a singer don’t just stomp up and down the stage. Photography opportunities were especially hampered by the masks worn. If you can’t get facial expressions when they’re not doing much else, you’re not going to get anything!

(here’s where things get a bit hazy about the order bands came in) … I think it was The IRS. They’ve got a song called Crackspace, about Myspace. They were good, their music wasn’t ‘my cup of tea’ however Mart liked them, and one of them was a thoroughly nice chap (!) (I didn’t speak to the others but I’m sure they’re thoroughly nice chaps too).
Honeycube were good – they didn’t really stick in my mind all that much, but I know I liked them!
Alice Renou was very good. Gorgeous vocals and beautiful to photograph.
William played next. I really liked the music I just couldn’t get with the singer’s voice – sorry! It really annoys me when I love the music of a band, but don’t like the singer’s voice. Still it’s taken me a few years to love Placebo and Muse, so I guess the same could be said for William. The lead singer was very photogenic though πŸ™‚
The Veez (see photo above) were quite spectacular. An absolute joy to photograph and rawked out to everyone’s delight!
I finally got to see Blah Blah Blah after having one of my ex-students harrass me about seeing them for the past year. I SO wasn’t disappointed. I’ve been listening to their CD every day since. Definitely one of the gems of South-East London. They were also one of the most interesting band to photograph because the lead singer was so expressive.
The last act were The Rank Deluxe – unfortunately I didn’t see much of their set because the stage was closed down. The joys of Lewisham – a riot ensued at the bottom of the park. We left soon after that 😦
Now is the process of editing. Joy. The first lot of photos though are posted here.
Well, I had a long think about this Margaret Cho photo that is to be licensed. It won’t be easy to sort out the tax etc. because I don’t have an accountant and also because I’m currently in the middle of sorting out my finances (!). Therefore, I thought, if they’re going to pay me then instead they could donate the money to charity! That way, my photo gets used, and a charity benefits! Hopefully that’s ok with them (the management is checking with her accountant). I suggested that the money goes towards the West Memphis Three Defense Fund. I know that Margaret Cho is a supporter of them (she also wrote an open letter/ essay for one of the supporters’ books) and as I am too I thought that might be appropriate.
We shall see.
I now have to work out how I’m going to get the hi-res image to them.
It’s Tuesday today.
Tomorrow is Wednesday.
Then it’s Thursday … after that … IT’S FRIDAY AND IT’S SUMMER HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only reason to be a teacher … July and August!

Kensal Green Cemetery Open Day …

… went swimmingly.

I had some lovely feedback from people who I’ve ‘met’ virtually on the internet; from people who just wandered past my stall and from … erm … everyone really. A couple of people who were sniffy that I use digital and not film. Hodi hum … different courses for different horses [apparently I said that wrong too! lol].

It was such a hot day and I got very sunburnt … which was a pain in the ass. But I can deal with red shoulders πŸ˜‰

Things have been REALLY looking up. I had my first request to license an image of mine. See the one above – the one on my logo πŸ˜‰ I’m just waiting for the paper work now. Fingers crossed.
Also Circus Krin have contacted me requesting to use a few images. HURRAH.

This weekend – photographing the Rocklands stage at the Lewisham Peoples’ Day … HURRAH! (again!)


There are people in the world I want to shoot …

I love inflammatory titles!
Of course there are SO many people in the world I would love to photograph. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot Margaret Cho, The Dresden Dolls and The Charlatans, who are all fantastic to shoot.
One person, who is at the TOP TOP TOP of my list is Marc Almond. I’ve been a fan of his for YEARS, and a HUGE fan of the work he did with Pierre et Gilles (see what happens? I look up the link for them on Amazon, and then I end up buying a Marc Almond book that I lost!). I just think he’s stunning – an amazing performer – like a chameleon. You could have SO much fun photographing him.
Another one is Eddie Izzard – there’s just something about him. The way he loves to dress up, the make-up and the fact that he makes me laugh SO much.
Perhaps I just like men in make-up!
I really love shooting live bands. It’s not easy, especially when you don’t have a particularly fast lens, or a camera that works well above ISO 400, however, I seem to do an ok job of it most of the time.
One band I’ve shot a lot is Officer Kicks. I ‘discovered’ them accidentally, one night, in Dirty South. I was there, shooting a band that consisted of my students from school; they are now … sadly … defunct. I’d also checked the list of bands playing and contacted one of the other bands, The Rebecas, on the list and asked to shoot them. Whilst we were waiting, there was another band doing a sound check, I really liked the sound of them and approached the guitarist to ask if I could shoot them. Evidently he didn’t really hear what I said but kind of nodded anyway, so shot them. At the end of their set, a woman I recognised from work came up to me and said ‘hello’ – she was the guitarist’s sister and the bass player’s gf!
So from then on, I kind of ‘stalked’ Officer Kicks.
The last time was last Friday night, at Water Rats in Kings Cross. It was the best I’d ever seen them, by far. A nightmare to shoot (I HATE red lights) but such an atmosphere. I also had the pleasure of doing a quick, inpromtu shoot round the corner from Water Rats and got some decent enough shots (above) .
Anyway – this post was kind of leading up to this. I know I’ve been doing an ok job, but I kind of just turn up at their gigs, shoot away, email them and well … I don’t know. I wasn’t sure if they were liking them or just saying that! I’m not a particularly confident person about everything … and often need constant reassurance … which does get annoying for people!
Well, I sent an email to Jim (Jamie/ Jay/ JR … I’ve head so many godamned names for him!) and wished him a happy holiday in Ibiza (they’re all going) … and said that I think I’m getting a bit sad because they’re my 7th most played band on Last.Fm.
I got this email back:
you are my 7th fave photographer. onlyyyy joking you in my top two. ifit wasnt for the fact that the kid that grew in our house is a picturemaker then you would be number 1. avin said that i know you number onewith other 3, oh fuck it and me too just never tell luke.really really love the profile pic. love it
The profile pic is the one they’re using on Myspace – it’s the pic above.
I just wanted to share.
It made me smile πŸ™‚
Sometimes people need little confidence boosts.
β€œInsist on yourself; never imitate.”
Ralph Waldo

Oh, and on Bebo (why am I on that? I’m at least 15 years too godamned old), they said I was their ‘personal photographer’! ha ha … I like that title. I think I’m going to use it in passing. ‘Oh yes, I’m Officer Kick’s personal photographer’)


Camera and lens envy

It’s difficult being a photographer when you know that there is more, and more, and more equipment out there in the world for you to buy. You become convinced that ‘that’ photograph would have worked better if only you’d had a better/faster lens, or a pro-user camera. And it’s true. Of course, photos taken on a pro-user camera like mine cannot compete with those taken on a Canon Mk1 … however … you either resign yourself to the fact that it’s the camera that lets you down – or you let your camera work for you.

The limitations of my Minolta 5D have created my ‘style’. Grainy I’d call it πŸ˜‰

And I love my camera.

It’s been a trusted friend for over a year now, I know how it works, it feels comfortable in my small hands. The buttons are intuitive, I can move around its functions without looking. When its grip came off as I was attempting to shoot The Charlatans at Koko it was like mourning the loss of a friend’s limb! I must admit, I was also mourning the inevitable sore that would materialise on my right thumb now!

When I tell people what I shoot with they seem surprised. I like the fact that it isn’t a Canon 350D or a Nikon D50 – afterall – when did I ever want to be like everyone else? That’s not to say I don’t like these cameras. My husband shot with a 350D until a week ago when his desire for a bigger screen meant that he moved into the world of the 400D. Friends of mine have the D50, and I can see the appeal.

However, Minolta have always been a favourite of mine. My camera feels firm. My camera feels steady. My camera always feels like an old friend.

One day I know I will have to upgrade – work is coming in and I want to be able to alternate between two cameras where possible. Until then, my trust Minolta 5D stays by my side.

Flickr Photos


July 2007
    Aug »