Having been initiated into the wonderful world of hot sweaty gigs. I soon became dissatified with the pre-packaged souvenirs that many of the groups were attempting to dump on their fans. I wanted my own memories, my own fotos. This led me to buy my first camera, a Russian 'Cosmic Symbol'. This is a very basic 35mm manual camera, but excellent to learn with. Through trial and error, I began to understand about exposures and techniques required for the process to work.
1978 saw a progression to a proper camera - Canon AT1, and my involvement with Def Leppard. Fotographing them in their rehearsal room and at many gigs. The results of this brought about my first published print in the National music press, with Sounds in 1979.
I began foto-ing local bands and on one such day, having turned up in my standard uniform of green combats, I overheard their manager say, "Forget what he looks like, he's a damn good fotographer!". The results spoke for themselves.
QUOTE: Ferenc Berko - "I have always been interested in the face, although I realise that the background can often play an important part in the fotograph".
For the next few years, I continued to sharpen my talents on the Sheffield gig scene with a plethora of bands in a multitud of venues and situations. I became involved with City Fun, a student magazine from Manchester. This produced a memorable moment for me, that of having the city centre covered with A1 size posters, wall-to-wall, of one of my fotos of Gary Glitter promoting his upcoming gig.
1981-84; and along came the opportunity to manage a band, Party Day. Which I picked up with gusto. With PD, I concentrated specifically on their publicity band shots, and also began Party Day Records.
QUOTE: Arnold Newman - "Fotography is 1% inspiration and 99% moving furniture".
After PD, I briefly managed '80 in the Shade' (a London Band). However, I was beginning to miss the camera, so I turned freelance in London. Strangely enough, I didn't posses a camera when I accepted my first commission for the following evening, as it was being serviced. I arrived the next day armed with two faulty cameras, that I was able to borrow (one had a zoom lens that was damaged and stuck as a wide angle lens, the other one had only a standard lens but with a rather large insect walking around inside it!). My results of The Screaming Blue Messiahs were published the following month.
1985-87: Was a regular contributor to Melody Maker. However, as a 'freelancer', it was still an achievement to be published in 37 consecutive issues. Also had work featured in The Face. I enjoyed the variety of situations; from bands to actors and comedians. Became the London Representative for Vinyl, a dutch indie magazine.
1986: Produced the cover foto for The Wigs 12" single - '6 O'Clock Shuffle'. Became the Label fotographer for Pink Records, and worked mainly with The Wolfhounds and McCarthy.
1991: Major contributor to Mick Mercer's book, entitled 'Gothic Rock: All you ever wanted to know about . . . . but were too gormless to ask'. And the double album of the same name.
This site displays only a fraction of the music archive. However since the mid 90's, I have moved away from Music Fotography, but that's another story. Today, I am in the process of putting together a new contemporary web site. Expect to see more information soon.
sdt: On-line January 2002