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Barb Wire Dolls shot by Russ at Splash Point Photo Photography Studio

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This is probably going to turn in to a bit of a blog style post, but you may enjoy reading it!

Back when I was living in Birmingham, I had shot 100s of gigs, may be even 1000s of bands.  "3 songs, no flash" was the law to live by, but of course it really depended on the artist and their team, however, sometimes the venue played their part too.  With the Darkness for instance, one time we weren't allowed to shoot the first 30 seconds of the first song as they had pyro that may burn our faces off.  Or then there's the time we were told that Alanis Morissette occasionally liked to do the first song from backstage (so 2 songs and no flash then) and we'd have to shoot her from the sound desk; of which neither of those things actually happened on the night.  Another time they wouldn't allow us in the middle of the pit, but only 6 feet either side of it as the singer was wearing a short skirt.  It of course transpired that said skirt wasn't that short, but in fact long enough to catch the air from the fans placed at either side of the stage right in front of us where said artist loved to walk and play up to the cameras - I mean, sometimes you just can't write it!  In all my time shooting live music, in Birmingham at least as it was so competitive, it was rare there was ever pap stylie photographers getting accreditation over those with a love for live music, or those simply getting paid for shooting music.  Then there are the times they didn't even put the stage lights on for the support band, and gigs are often low light enough without none; so it's a random old world is live music accreditation!

Occasionally I'd go with a writer backstage for interviews too.  Often times you're rushed in and out.  Sometimes you're just able to hang out with the band because they engage with you, as they're probably enjoying the company of someone that isn't on their tour bus and causing their cabin fever for the last three months.  Other times we'd be scowled at like we just shit in someone's coffee.  Luckily, the decade prior, I too had spent my life playing in bands anyway, so the whole glamour of backstage I knew to be a thing of fiction.  These days I have to bat off the assumptions that that glamour applies to shooting lingerie and nude models, like it's all pillow fights with the girls and not just sweating over the lighting while making sure someone is as comfortable as they can be.  So yeah, playing in bands was partly my route in to photography.  It was something I'd always fancied, and with it becoming cheaper and more accessible in the digital age, and also being surrounded by people with dSLR cameras at gigs being quite normal, I bit the bullet!  I naively thought, "hell, I can take a better photo of me than this" completely discounting the fact the drummer is often at the back and in the dark, so one day I put up or shut up, and thus, photography ended up being the creative venture that I choose when I got bored by the music industry... ironically trying to photograph the music industry instead.

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