I’ve been helping out my nephew Max with his website and some photography for his new ‘Electric Attic’ blog. With Spring’s warm, hazy sunshine on our backs we set off to Central London in search of inspiration for our location shoot. These photos set in musically cultural locations he could then use on the new website that promotes his talents as a guitarist, producer and DJ.
Camden was an obvious first choice, with a vibrant and eclectic cultural mix of fashion and music loved by so many indie artists, including Amy Winehouse whose statue now stands in the famous Stables Market on Camden Lock. Even on a Wednesday afternoon in March the streets were bursting with life, which makes taking photos all the more difficult as you try to eliminate the inevitable gaggles of tourists from your field of view. With some patience and a little luck we managed to get a variety of shots in and around the town and it’s iconic music venues.
Having discovered that an appropriate piece of street art, “His Masters Voice” by the infamous ‘Banksy’, was still intact and now on the site of an East London music venue [Cargo], we decided to make a quick pitstop there on the way to Camden. Many of Banksy’s artwork has been removed by over zealous council officials or defaced in some way. Using this one as a backdrop was too good an opportunity to miss. We arrived in Shoreditch to find not one but two Banksy paintings – bonus!
Although I left London many years ago because of constant traffic noise, I love coming back for days out or evening entertainment, and spent several happy years living in Camden just north of the Roundhouse venue. Many of the mega bands you now see playing sell-out stadium tours started by gigging in Camden’s collection of small pubs. I vividly remember seeing Coldplay live at The Falcon before they had a record deal, and Elbow played the same circuit. One of my favourite bands, Kulashaker, played a fantastic comeback gig a few years ago in Camden at one of the larger venues, so I have many fond memories of the town, but I digress.
Max is also a London based DJ so we needed a photo or two that would illustrate this. Short of heading to the Ministry of Sound or some other nightclub and asking if we could stage a photoshoot which our non existent budget wouldn’t stretch to we headed to some globally recognisable London Landmarks – in Westminster. With fading light we waited in a Whitehall pub for dusk to settle in and the lights of Big Ben & The London Eye to stand out against the night sky.
Armed with a brand new pair of replica RayBan Navigator sunglasses I proceeded to take close ups of Max with reflections of everything from BigBen & the iconic ferris wheel to London’s well known red buses. The style I was looking for here was a sort of cross between The Terminator meets Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, especially with Max’s long locks. I think we got close.
My day at the Junction 11 studio with Ripley taught me a lot about the benefits of artificial lighting and how to use it, but having travelled light and by train we didn’t have the opportunities you get with studio lighting so had to make do with natural light and street furniture – location shooting on a shoestring! My next photography investment will be in some artificial lighting. I was discouraged from taking my lightweight aluminium ladder, which I wish I’d taken it as it would have provided a few extra options. Next time we should probably include Abbey Road for the now iconic zebra crossing photo made famous by The Beatles.
All in all I’m very happy with the outcome of the day. We managed to get a dozen or so great images that we are both happy with, and Max will find useful for his website . I also managed to squeeze in a visit to Marine Ices, my favourite ice-cream parlour in the UK. If you’re ever in Camden seek them out and try the salted caramel flavour, it’s heaven on your tongue.
If ‘the client’ is happy, I’m happy!