graham smith

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The news has come to my ears that this year’s Glasgowbury Music Festival lukewarm from the weekend last, will be the final cry out over the mountain for Ireland’s largest and by far best independent music festival – some dare say the best festival period.

It is truly, sad news – however the legacy of what was achieved amongst the crowds of people involved; be it audience members, magnificent bands, reams of folk who volunteered and helped keep the sheep from joining in on the action, or the main men and women themselves the organisers will not be forgotten soon.

I am sure we’ll see a little bit more massive yet from that direction of the world.

…I could wax lyrical all day on what a privilege it was to walk through the gates at Eagle’s Rock, and even lend a very small paw on occasion, and the impact it has had on my life; but for now I’ll just say goodbye in the best way I can, with a few pictures.

…tiny drops create massive oceans, given time – and I have no doubt that the motions caused out in Mid-Ulster will not be long to cause larger waves.

Thank you Paddy and all of the enigmatic (Eagle-matic?) cohorts.

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Many thanks to everyone tonight for coming down to enjoy some tasty music and have a quick scan of the ‘I’ve Yet To Look, But I Hear Good Things’ photography exhibition. It went times better than I was genuinely hoping for and it was nice to see plenty of faces that I’d been away from for a while.

The exhibit will be running at Love & Death Inc on Anne Street until this Friday, where it will then move across to the Crescent Arts Centre for the A Northern Light, Intermission, Chris Campbell & Paper Boats and Linebacker Dirge gig for the evening before – all being well, moving to Lisburn.

Thoughts are still being pooled on that one – and I’m absolutely enthused by the feedback and general response from everyone. As you may imagine I couldn’t keep my hands off of the camera during the evening, but there were plenty of people down snapping away so hopefully there are plenty of other photos knocking about over the course of the next few days.

…and a photo by Alan C. Beck of two rather odd looking fellows, looking at photos.

If anyone can guess who they are, they win nothing.

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…it’s been a long weekend, a long week, em.

Right, February is over. Wow.

Well, practically.

I was so pleased to bump into James Lyttle (and you Adam, ya’ wee dote) at Kasper Rosa’s celebratory party last Thursday. It has been too long and, well – as I’m sure you all know by now relationships are important to me. I really just cannot wait to hear the new MojoFURY album, it is going to be fucking played to the death in my general area for a long time to come.

It’s occurred to me recently how life is transitioning, moving (no pretension of direction mind) quick at present. Things are happening, bands are growing, people are growing (sometimes a little too quickly for their own good).

It is, as always, interesting to observe.

So, I’ll be updating and reorganising this entire blog (or well, my big bit of it – the contributions section is just dapper the way it is) over the next few days to try and give the multitude of rambles on here some sort of, order. Even going so far as deleting some old and quite frankly shit postings.

Since the start of the year, I’ve started writing (as I’ve probably made you aware of by now in that insufferable way – by choking you loquaciously*) for both The Unsigned Guide and Tolling For The Mute – as well as been pressing ahead with this ‘big scary’ collaborative art/photography exhibition with Andrew Dunbar and now with the creative force that is Graham Smith. Things are still being worked on, very loosely at this stage still – and when is art not – but we will hopefully have brought the project to fruition before the Summer is out.

Plans are afoot, as, they, say.

Secondary to all of that, it’s been a busy month, lots of being out and about with the camera, as I do – so many times in fact that I am a bit shocked. The oul’ uncluttered desktop does not look quite so uncluttered as it once did, laden with folders as it is. Though effectiveness still remains.

Also, I was given a very warming mention in the latest issue of GO Belfast (hit up page 36) magazine as one of their ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2011 (alongside friend, and phenomenal street artist Marian Noone) on the creative front. So, em, watch out.

That was pretty cool, thanks Jenni.

Having said all of that, I promise to have updated all of my recent work over the next few days, from Cashier No.9 at the Ulster Hall, through to the wonderful little Eatenbybears who have the potential to really make some serious sound-waves if they build on what they’ve put into action so far.

…oh and check this out.

*thanks Mickey.

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by Graham Smith

Graham Smith is a highly acclaimed and award winning music photographer heralding from Northern Ireland but frequently found in all corners of the known world, and their coffee shops. Waitresses beware.

My Photography Equipment (A Rant)

Almost everyday for the past decade I have received an email or been asked in person about the photography equipment I use. That is (approximately) 3600 times I have been asked this same question. Phew!

Currently I use two cameras. No extra lenses, no flashguns, no lights, just two small cameras.

I shoot the majority of my photos with a Ricoh GRD III. This is a compact, pocketable and deceptively powerful camera. It has a fixed focal length wide angle 28 mm f1.9 lens. I have always favoured fixed focal length lenses, I like to move with the camera, zooms have never interested me.

The other camera I use is my iPhone 4. Yes, I shoot on a camera phone and I fucking love it. I use a very simple program called Hipstamatic which comes with many different options for “lenses” and “films” which give different results but I tend to stick to the most basic lens and film which produces a high contrast Lomo/cross-processed style look. Also, as of today since they just updated the program, a very nice black and white film option is now available.

I am fully aware this post will piss off some people, particularly when talking about the iPhone. A camera phone is not a REAL camera, right? Why not? Who says so? I see this as much as a REAL camera as your latest Canon 5D II or whatever the current model is.

The photography world is full of snobbery. I have witnessed this since I started. At first, for me, it was snobbery about not having studied photography and not knowing every technical term or every single past “master” of the art. Nowadays I feel the main snobbery is about equipment. I cannot count the amount of times I hear people say things such as “I will be a REAL photographer when I get such-and-such camera / lens / camera bag / lighting rig,…blah blah blah…”.

Since when did photography come to be so orientated towards equipment and the “perfect” (AKA soulless (in my humble option)) light? The race for more mega-pixels, spending hours editing each photo to remove any “imperfection”, forcing bands into daft poses and concepts etc, etc…

If that is what photography is about these days then I am very glad to not be called a REAL photographer!

I am very happy with my Ricoh. It has really good build quality, a nice sharp lens, produces good images, it feels right and most importantly to me is nice and compact meaning I can take it everywhere I go and I most certainly do. It also does not scream “LOOK AT ME, I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER, LOOOOOOK AT MEEEEE!” which for me is vital in getting people to relax for the type of photography I prefer.

I am also happy using my iPhone with the Hipstamatic app and love the results I am getting. Does the fact that everything is automatic make it not REAL photography? To some people maybe it does and that is fine, but I strongly disagree. Actually, whilst writing this, I have just realised that I treat the Hipstamatic app the same way I used to treat Polaroid photography. Is Polaroid photography more important than Hipstamatic? Why? Because it uses film?

This post is not meant to be a rant to annoy anyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying the latest equipment and having loads of gear to carry around IF that is what you actually want to do. The problem I have is the new thought process that seems to suggest that you must do this in order to be a REAL photographer. Utter bullshit.

My entire camera gear, two small compact cameras, can go everywhere I go, take up very little space and do not cost a fortune. This is not meant to sound egotistical but I have won several awards (ED: most prominently, the Lex Van Rossen, European Young Music Photographer of the Year Award in 2009) and had my work exhibited around the world, using such equipment. I will continue to work this way and if this excludes me from certain parts of the photography world then so be it!

Photography does not have to complicate your life. It can very easily be a fantastic, fun and rewarding compliment to your life, if you let it.

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Graham Smith

“Simply, most of them (my photos) are either my friends or people I work with (who are also usually my friends). I am much more interested in photographing somebody I have had a conversation with than a total stranger.”

Point. Well. Said.

October 20, 2010 | No comments

by Graham Smith

Graham Smith is a highly acclaimed and award winning music photographer heralding from Northern Ireland but frequently found in all corners of the known world, and their coffee shops. Waitresses beware.

Photography Is A Tool

Photography is a tool for me to document my life. I am a nostalgic reflective person. I like to have a trace of where I have been, the experiences I have had and the people I have met. Photography is my way of capturing fleeting moments of this that can then go onto to create a more complete memory in mind.

I also take a lot of satisfaction when somebody likes my work or buys a print to hang in their house. This is, obviously, an incredible feeling and something I do not take for granted but ultimately I shoot for myself.

It wasn’t always this way however.

For six years I worked as a full-time photographer in the music industry. A lot of this job was about to trying to make bands look cool. It was, for me anyway, about trying to please other people and rarely myself. It was fucking frustrating. I was never comfortable or stable in my direction, artistic or otherwise. And so I stopped press work and promo shoots and started being selfish and shooting for myself.

During the last decade of shooting pictures I have spent huge chunks of it feeling frustrated, bitter and uncomfortable which is something I feel I have put behind me now. Nowadays it is all so much more simple – I love photography. I love viewing other peoples photos, I love shooting my own photos, I love putting my own photos out into the general public. Recently I have even loved discussing the subject with other photographers, something I used to despise.

The majority of work features musicians or scenes from the music world for the very simple reason that music is a huge part of my life and my friends. I no longer go out of my way to shoot music related images, it just so happens that 99% of the time that is what is in front of me. I have no wish to go back to the world of commercial music photography, I am glad to have left that behind and no longer think about it.

Photography is an addiction, I do feel empty without my camera being in my presence but it now adds to my life rather than complicates it and as cheesy as it sounds I am eternally grateful I discovered and embraced it.

Stop thinking, stop trying to please others, stop worrying about what other people think – just shoot and enjoy it!

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Many things come to mind post-Glasgowbury – not least of all that I get the blues after such an all-encompassing high point as standing up the Sperrins (ahem, aye so I’ll admit my geographical misdemeanour in calling it the Mourne mountains for the last few weeks – not sure where that verbal balls up came from – we’ll just say enthusiastic swift ignorance) listening to some of the best music in the world. It’s also hard to top the connected social feeling from seeing all and sundry, reeling back down to normality can be a tough transition.

Aside from the obvious thank you to each and every person involved and in attendance at the festival, there was a number of other memories which stood out as making this year’s Glasgowbury particularly sentimental.

– receiving a dedication from the cheeky sods that make up More Than Conquerors. Meant the world, genuinely.

– getting to sit in the throat of And So I Watch You From Afar’s performance whilst all buzzed and whirled around me.

– proudly seeing Team Fresh and Pocket Billiards début at the festival to a practical riot respectively each.

– running into Electric Mainline’s Stephen McCauley in the campsite, whilst towing two chairs along at a sprint. At the time I don’t quite think I realised just how that must have looked.

At this point I thought it pertinent to pass over the reigns to a few of the masses, the collective music community that I rattle on so much about – each and every one of us has a story to tell, and an experience to share; individually they mean something to each of us, but together they hopefully become so much more.

Brian Magill

What a great day. The festival just gets better every year. I know most of the plaudits will be reserved for the blistering sets from Fighting With Wire, LaFaro & ASIWYFA, but for me to wax lyrical about those three would just be laziness, really.

For me, the three bands that stood out were Pocket Billiards, Team Fresh and Adebisi Shank. Pocket Billiards were so up for it, and you could tell from the moment they walked out on stage that they were there to have a great time. I hate this ‘too cool for school’ shit you get with a lot of bands nowadays; it’s ok to enjoy what you’re playing (!). They are the quintessential party band and really deserve a bit more exposure.

As for Team Fresh, they had the unenviable task of hitting the stage at the same time as And So I Watch You From Afar. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a) they might be playing to an empty tent and b) that it would rub off on their performance, but they gave it everything they had, and a lot of people (myself included) were sucked in by the racket emanating from their tent. Another bunch who know how to have a good time and entertain. We’ll need to get them up to Derry soon!

Adebisi Shank are a phenomenon. They confuse and delight in equal manner, and are as punk rock as you’re likely to find in this day and age. The new tuneage was head twistingly superb, and the old favourites were there in force. You know you are seeing something special with these guys, when someone as talented as Jonny Black turns to you mid-set and shakes his head in both envy and disbelief.

Oh, and it didn’t rain. What a bonus!

Colm Laverty

Like Christmas for NI music. Dozens of my favourite local acts, veterans and newcomers alike, all helped create that feeling of unity (a rarity for festivals). My love for the day can be epitomised in one moment, where I faced the sky with my eyes closed, just as the last chords of Fighting With Wire rang out, thinking, “These aren’t just songs, they’re the soundtrack to our lives”.

Danny Morton (More Than Conquerors)

Although it was Glasgowbury’s tenth anniversary it was my first time at the festival, or at any festival for that matter; so needless to say I was uncertain about what the next twenty four hours held in store for me. Apparently, ‘a lot’ of free booze, loud music and the absolute best of banter! It would be so easy to fill a week or month with great gigs in Belfast during term time, but you don’t actually realise the amount of incredible bands that we have knocking about until you hear most of them in only one day!

The only bad thing about Glasgowbury seems to be that you’re completely spoilt for choice – how can you choose between Strait Laces, ASIWYFA and Team Fresh? You do your best and no matter where you end up you’ll have a pint, a group of mates and memories that will last a life time…

Diane Greer (Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas)

We had high hopes for Glasgowbury 2010 and we had a fantastic time. I couldn’t believe the crowd we pulled, all ages, shapes and sizes, the place was packed. There were moments when I looked into the crowd and they were all singing and smiling back at us and I felt really moved. I know our album (When We Were Brave) is doing really well, I know the reviews are great, I know we have good things ahead but nothing, absolutely nothing will ever compare to what I felt, in fact we all felt it… and it was mighty!

When people know the words of your songs it stops being an ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing and becomes a shared experience, one which everyone plays a part in and I was definitely overwhelmed by it. We are gaining a reputation for making people feel good, and that’s a two-way thing. Paddy writes great songs but unless people like them then they are just that – good songs – it’s something when people start to tell you how they relate to them, how they make them feel. Glasgowbury 2010 will live forever in the memory of Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas – and we are grateful for that.

Graham Smith (Music Photographer)

Having attended Glasgowbury over the past six years I have been able to watch it grow, in every respect, in to what it is now: a vibrant, entertaining, relaxed and exciting showcase for the incredible talent this country holds. I have said it every year and I will say it is again for 2010….this really was the best year yet.

Jason Hawthorne (Yes Cadets)

Playing on the mainstage was such a buzz, seeing people dancing to our music in the sun; that has definitely made my Summer so far (thank you weather god!). Given the weather and the lovely response, clashing with two of my favourite bands (Adebisi Shank and Not Squares) didn’t seem to matter anymore, apart from the fact that I didn’t get to see them rock out.

Roll on next year!

John Gribbin (Building Pictures)

When I landed at the festival site around eleven on Saturday morning there were a few ominous grey clouds floating around the Sperrin Mountains, but thanks to a few strong gusts of wind and a bit of the old Irish luck it cleared up and the weather was glorious!!

As a wise man said to me, “Only Paddy Glasgow can get good weather in July“…such is the unpredictability of our bloody Summer! I parked up the car, and took a walk down to the festival site just before the doors were opened just so that I could take in the spectacle of the setting. It really does amaze me to think that four thousand people descend upon a mountain to dance their socks off to a load of local bands!!

It really is very special!!

Lisa Byrne

As far as birthday parties go, this has to have been the best I have been to! My fourth year at Glasgowbury didn’t disappoint. The best year I’ve had to date. I squeezed in as much music as I possibly could in the twelve hour running time and loved every minute of it. Not Squares were an absolute treat of a find and I’ll be going to a lot more of their gigs in future.

Here Comes the Landed Gentry, Furlo, Colenso Parade and ASIWYFA amongst too many others stood out for me; along with the mighty Cashier No.9!

O.M.G!

Niall Lawler (Axis Of)

For something we’d been building up for over a year, Glasgowbury completely blew away our expectations. Landing a slot on the main stage was something else. For a hardcore band like us, getting slots like that simply shouldn’t happen, getting the crowd the size we did furthered the general absurdity of it all. The only downside of the whole event was some amazing memories which were forgotten due to the later celebrations. I think it goes without saying, but we are massively grateful to Paddy, Dermot and the rest of the team for recognizing our hardwork and believing in us. No festival has come close to Glasgowbury in my eyes, long may it continue.

Rion McCartney (Here Comes The Landed Gentry)

As both a punter and musician, I have been attending this great festival since 2003, and this year like so many had again another diverse and exciting line up. For me it’s great to listening to bands who you never hear but always see/hear their names being mentioned, meeting people from other parts of the country who dig what the band are doing and having a good old booze up and a boogie!

Another personal highlight for me this year was HCTLG headlining the Spurs Of Rock stage to a jam packed capacity crowd, with people singing the words of the songs back to you.

The amount of preparation put into the process of the festival deserves a tip of the hat to Paddy, Stella and all the hard workin’ crew, without these people doing what they do who knows what I would have been doin’ last weekend…

…for this, I Salute You All!

Slaine Browne (Team Fresh)

First time playing Glasgowbury; we were a bit worried that no one would come to see us as it was our first time here and our older, wiser brothers were playing in the G-Sessions tent right beside us. By the first few bars of ‘Trojan‘ the tent was half full, by the end it was full to the brim, people crowd surfing, a mosh pit going for the entire set, the smoke machine blew up making Niall and Chops invisible for most of the show.

As soon as we finished we ran outside and across to the G-Sessions tent to catch the end of our comrades set, Dunbar ran up and stage dived into the crowd. We all reconvened in the camp site and got dinner, got our energy levels back up for Pocket Billiards and continued to crowd surf for the rest of the night. I remember leaving their set and collapsing on the grass in front of the main stage where I remained for the rest of the evening smiling at all passers by – then back to the camp site for more ‘Craic Fuel’ (tropical juice and vodka) and general ganch and bantering with everyone there.

Wish it was three days long…

Stephen McCauley (BBC Electric Mainline)

Glasgowbury has always been the temperature gauge for Northern Irish music but this year was extra-special! Maybe it was just that everyone wanted to celebrate the 10th birthday together but it felt like anything was possible! It felt truly joyous! As long as I live, I will never forget the atmosphere in the G-Sessions tent when And So I Watch You From Afar played. Fans were swarming around the outside of the tent trying to get in and this was before the band came anywhere near the stage! It was the worst kept secret in history that they’d be the surprise guests on the day and the sense of anticipation was electrifying! I watched it all from the back of the stage, speechless once again!

I was busy in the early afternoon trying to record a special edition of Electric Mainline from the artists’ car park and my abiding memory was LaFaro arriving in their red van straight from the ferry, on their way back from a gig in Glasgow the night before. They’d barely slept, they’d driven for hours, Alan climbed out of the van in crutches, they borrowed two guitars, crowded around a few microphones and played an absolutely heartstopping acoustic version of “The Ballad of Burnt Dave“. It was so great just to see everyone again!

It’s a festival like no other – may it last forever!

Steven Rainey (BBC Introducing)

It’s fast becoming a cliché to say, but this year Glasgowbury exceeded all expectations, taking this uniquely Northern Irish experience into uncharted territory. After ten years of supporting and promoting music in Northern Ireland, the festival has become the ultimate showcase of what this country’s musicians are capable of.

Looking around during Fighting With Wire’s headlining set, pride swelling within my bosom, I couldn’t help but think, “I wouldn’t swap this for any other experience in the world”.

Thomas Camblin (MojoFURY)

Glasgowbury, what a day! I love the fact that a small (but massive) festival can generate so much excitement with in a community.

My festival highlight was standing on the ‘smallbutMASSIVE’ mainstage while LaFaro blew the place apart…Alan Lynn is an absolute hero. The man, with damaged tendons in his kick drum foot, just back of a week’s tour, still beat the shit out of the kit.

Truly extraordinary!

With all of this said, from bands, fans, photographers and writers, there is only one last thing to re-state…

Paddy, Stella, Dermot, Niall, Sharon, Bobby and all the rest – from the very bottom of all our hearts, thank you for all of the efforts you have put into making the Glasgowbury Music Festival what it is.

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by Graham Smith

Graham Smith is a highly acclaimed and award winning music photographer heralding from Northern Ireland but frequently found in all corners of the known world, and their coffee shops. Waitresses beware.

Touring Is Not Glamorous

I write this from a train station in Zurich. Because of a slight problem (aka, a fuck up) a bag, containing money and other items, was left behind at our hotel in Budapest. I am now getting an overnight train to said Budapest to retrieve the bag. And then a train to Vienna to meet up with my band (And So I Watch You From Afar). After the show we will sleep for approximately three hours before climbing back on board the band van and traveling to Milan.

Touring is not glamorous, but fucking hell it is interesting.

There is no natural rhythm. Everything is all messed up yet at the same time seems to follow a very familiar routine. This is not a natural way to live. Or at least not a natural way to live judging by the conventions of the western world in the 21st century. When we eat, when we sleep, when we have sex or masturbate is all determined by the following times:

Load-In
Soundcheck
Doors Open
Stage Time
Curfew
Bus Call

Family, friends and loved ones, although constantly in our thoughts, can so easily fall by the wayside when on tour. This is not intentional. It just happens and can be the bane of many a relationship. Finding someone who understands the life of a touring musician / crew member (or better still, who lives that life themselves) is a difficult thing. Some achieve it, many do not.

Touring is a bubble. The bubble can be both incredibly comforting or incredibly claustrophobic, sometimes simultaneously. Time alone is important. The simple act of disappearing for thirty minutes for a beer, coffee or walk can be incredibly comforting. I try, but often fail, to find a little time alone everyday, to go off somewhere and read a book or just go for a random walk. Often things do not work out this way so my way to get time ‘alone’ is to drive the van. Shades on, music on, coffee at my side, a look of “I am not in a bad mood, just not in the mood for conversation” soon ensures you get a little time to yourself.

My main escape on the road is photography. I document my life constantly with my camera. If my camera is not with me I feel strange, disconnected and naked. Having the camera raised to my eye, or even just in my bag beside me, is my security blanket, my way of knowing that these moments, however fleeting, will be documented forever.

In ten years time I might be the only person interested in seeing these images, but I am at ease with this now.

For a while I thought you had to be incredibly physically and mentally tough to both endure this lifestyle and to thrive and actually enjoy it. I am no longer certain this is the case. I think you just have to be a certain type of person. I know I am definitely this type of person.

I am looking forward to getting home for a two week break after this tour. To see my family and friends, to work on some photography projects, to follow up on fleeting moments with girls, to going to sleep alone. I love getting off tour almost as much as I love being on tour.

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As this year’s Glasgowbury Music Festival looms down from the mountains of Ireland – with the recently released news that Fighting With Wire are set to retake their (most welcome) mantle as headlining act – I’d like to take a quick look back at ten of my own favourite moments from documenting last year’s festival.

On reflection at my choice of photos I’ve noticed that they are all black and white. No reason is genuinely implied, although I’m sure subconsciously as I got about halfway through I began to stick to the aesthetic with some vigour.

Paddy Nash & Pizza

Lifting spirits and minds alike, we sat in the Cellar Bar with some pizza and beers – our heads transported forward to the weekend at hand by the tunes of Paddy Nash and Junior Johnson.

A Plastic Rose In The Campsite

The lads from A Plastic Rose made every single attempt possible to promote their slot, including show-boating around the camp site in the hours before they were due to go on, and it worked – the tent was packed out.

LaFaro’s Onstage Antics

It’s hard to think of anyone more suited to a performance on the main stage than LaFaro. Equal parts dirt, sex and spit, they tore the entire place apart aurally.

The Crowd During Skruff

There are crowds, and then there are entire rows of people bouncing along in time to the music at an almost professional level – fucking apt. Skruff are lethal.

Gerry Norman Crowd Surfing

It was almost considered impossible in the minds of some, but due to the crowd that they managed to bring into their tent, A Plastic Rose’s amiable guitarist was able to ditch his weapon and launch himself around the cheering mob during Kids Don’t Behave Like This.

Colenso Parade

In a day highlighted by outright rock and roll and sharper fare – Colenso Parade’s friendly music soared far and wide, punctuating the day with some well natured and delightful sounds.

Paul McCarren’s Big Day Out

The lord of the manor, Dungannon branch, was out in force during the weekend spreading his charm to many a heart. His trusty minions were also never far from the action, in many cases cheering, diving, moshing and generally causing the crowds to rock out.

Jonny Black & Herb Magee

…because…er.

Just look at them. They look like they’ve landed in from planet ‘iRock’.

And So I Watch You From Afar

Knowing the dedicated following that they have entranced with their brand of ‘awesome’, and being one of them, watching And So I Watch You From Afar headlining Glasgowbury was a particularly delicious fruit to digest – for all.

The Stage Invasion

Watching the reaction of the crowd, the bands on stage and in particular Tony Wright of And So I Watch You From Afar, was truly something I hope never to forget. I was awed. Which happens regularly with those eejits from the North of the North.

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by Graham Smith

Graham Smith is a highly acclaimed and award winning music photographer heralding from Northern Ireland but frequently found in all corners of the known world, and their coffee shops. Waitresses beware.

“I have no kids, my photographs are my children.”

Jim Marshall only took photos if he had complete access and complete trust. He refused to work under restrictions. His process for taking photos was very simple. Armed with a Leica slung over one shoulder he would mingle with the bands and fans, backstage, on a tour bus, in the recording studio or even at the musicians home. Then he would take a photograph. It was that simple.

Not treating musicians like just another job and not selling the copyright of your images, that was Jim Marshall. Basically having a little respect for yourself and the people you photograph. This is what he created within the world of music photography. His contribution cannot be overstated. At a time when photographing a musician meant a quick sterile posed shot, Jim Marshall stood alone. He spent time with the people he shot, got to know them, had arguments with them or became their friends. He was human with them, not just a robot pressing a button.

Jim had a huge effect on my work. I am not entirely sure I would still be taking photos without him. He did not get me started in photography but it was his photos and attitude which kept it alive for me and made me constantly question my own artistic and business decisions which eventually lead me to stop taking on commissions and doing things my own way. Not the Jim Marshall way, my own way.

His photographs are incredibly simple. Although I am a huge fan I must admit I find some of them lacking in contrast, but the one thing they are not lacking is personality. Simple, beautiful images. Jim was not one for studios, lights, a team of assistants and conceptual ideas. Jim was a documentarian of the real person, or as real a person as a musician will ever reveal.

His passing is a huge loss to both music and photography but he has left behind a huge body of work which is sure to get even more exposure in the years to come.

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