Category Archives: Photos

Friday nights at the Washington

Since working full-time in London, I get precious little time to spend out-and-about in Sheffield. As you may know, for the last few years I’ve been a regular fixture on Sheffield’s social scene, out with my camera documenting the night-life. I really miss this, and I miss Sheffield’s wonderful people.

Thank goodness for Friday nights, and London-Sheffield trains which arrive at the perfect time, around 10.30pm. And thank goodness for The Washington, around halfway between the station and my house, and usually throbbing on a Friday night, especially when there’s a good DJ night like the Record Hop, Plan B, El Jackster or Banksy’s Fragrant Garden. Here’s a few photos from last Friday night at the Record Hop.

The Record Hop at the Washington

Dave’s birthday party

After a Christmas and New Year period spent almost entirely at home (I needed to recharge my batteries after 6 months frantically commuting backwards and forwards to London), I thought I ought to have at least one night out in Sheffield before returning to the smoke. So glad I did. I went to Dave (Attwood – drummer from Rumpus & Baby Long Legs)’s birthday party, and had that kind of wonderful time which always seems to happen when I hook up with the Shefferati.
Jokers wild
Continue reading Dave’s birthday party

Acolytes Action Squad

I just did a very pleasant photoshoot with Brian & Heather of Acolytes Action Squad (one of my favourite bands at the moment). They had an idea which tied in with the accompanying interview, and so we leapt into Heather’s car and I assumed the role of Junior in the back seat. After realising that my 24mm lens would never cut it that close up, I realised that I’d finally found a use for the Peleng fisheye which I borrowed off Gareth about a year ago. It was virtually impossible trying to focus it, and trying to get the scene properly lit without horrendous lens flare, but we got some pretty decent results.

Then I took the photos into Lightroom and started tidying them up and doing the grayscale conversions for Sandman. Lightroom makes it ridiculously easy to adjust the contribution made by various colours to the final B&W mix. I remember Guy telling me years ago how important it is to get this right, but Photoshop’s RGB way of doing it never made much sense to me. With the full spectrum separated out in Lightroom it’s much easier to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t.

Anyway, I got rather carried away. I’m not sure whether I’ll go with the extreme conversion below (made by removing most of the orange from the photo, hence destroying the skin tones) – or if I do, I’ll probably tidy up Heather’s face a bit – but it’s quite fun and seems to fit in with the general spirit of the photo. Seems to work like a partial solarisation, and it works wonders for Brian’s finger and gives his face a nice Darth Maul look.

Acolyte's Action Squad - photoshoot for Sandman magazine

Acolytes Action Squad - photoshoot for Sandman magazine

There’s a couple more photos from this shoot on Flickr (click on either photo above, and find your way to the rest of them…)

New photos – sort of

Some of my more observant friends have noticed that I’ve hardly uploaded any photos in the last few months. My last set on Danshotme dates from early October, and I’ve only posted half-a-dozen or so pics to Flickr since then.
Marcin in a bar, Wroc?aw Sonny Simmons
I have been going through one of those “fallow periods” which will be familiar to all photographers. Of course, whereas in the past a fallow period meant not touching my camera for six months, now it means that I average only one hundred or so photos per week, rather than the usual couple of thousand. And I’ve had neither the time nor the inclination to do much with those photos.
Burlesque murder Burlesque apple-bobbing
Continue reading New photos – sort of

Havannah House

Havannah House garden

This is a photo of the back garden of our squat – Havannah House, on Grove Green Road, Leytonstone (I forget what number we were – 189, I think).

The time I spent here, from 1993 to 94, was probably the happiest of my life.

The garden was knocked together with the one next door – the next door house was "the party house", gutted inside, painted black with flourescent designs. Every other weekend, we would hold a massive party – hundreds of people would fill the party house and the garden. These parties were legendary, and passed into East London history.

At the back of the garden, you can see a rubbish tip. All sorts of stuff was buried in here, and it was quite fun to dig around in on an otherwise dull weekend. I once found an old car in there.

We had some sort of electricity feed, though I don’t think we ever paid for it. The party house had gas nicked from the mains – to have a bath, you had to go out through the garden, into the party house, light the pilot light (and hope that the wind didn’t blow it out), then climb up a ladder to the bathroom and start running your bath. You had to keep checking that the water coming out was hot, because that pilot light was forever blowing out. Sometimes you would have to go up and down that ladder several times while waiting for your bath to fill up.

Our only heating was a portable gas heater. Every few weeks you would have to trek over the road to the shop with your empty cannister, then somehow struggle back the couple-of-hundred yards with a full one.

The window panes were cracked and surrounded by gaps. Huge lorries thundered down the street all night and made the glass rattle. Throughout the winter, a cold breeze blew through the panes. Our room was above the garage/lockup, so it was even colder than the rest of the house. Luchie and Michelle were in the other front room, Marie and Laura in the two back rooms, and Brian lived in the darkened chaos of the downstairs room. The slightly feral Ben camped next door in the semi-derelict party house, where he made some sort of a living fixing old TVs.

One morning, I woke up with my bed shaking. The house directly on the other side of my bedroom wall was being pulled down. By the time I got dressed and went outside, all you could see on the other side of our bedroom wall was a bare wallpapered spot hanging out over empty space.

Havannah House was knocked down late in 1994 to make way for the M11 link road.

Magma Beard

Anyone who knows me knows my beards. Until my wedding day (on 1/2/3 – or 2/1/3 if you’re American) I went clean-shaven for most of my life. But on that happy day, I got best-man Ed to carve something new in my face, inspired by my new Paul Smith suit complete with thigh-length drape jacket.

Ever since then, I’ve kept some variation on the same theme. Since Gill and I never did get around to exchanging rings (and since Ed had promised to make us wedding rings), I guess you could say that my facial hair is my wedding ring (NB: the same doesn’t apply to Gill). It has evolved since then though: through subtle changes in facial anatomy and less subtle rescue jobs on shaving cock-ups, it has crept around my face, grown thicker and thinner, stripes have changed position, angle and number. A few months ago at Razor Stiletto I had my face painted, tiger-style, with a couple of beard-stripes doubling up as tiger-patterning. When I got home, I thought I’d take the similarity further (forgetting that I had done something very similar exactly two years earlier).

Going tiger-striped seems to have inspired me to new shaving confidence, and to trust my facial hair to find its own shape. Shaving has now become an almost meditative activity, a sort of automatic-drawing but with a sharp implement, where I allow the contours of my face and the movement of my razor to conjure up new patterns of their own, with little conscious intervention from me. As a result, things have got sort of… well, fancy.

Here’s the latest result:

Magma beard

For the first few days after it shaved itself, I couldn’t help thinking that the design was somehow familiar. I was sure I’d seen it somewhere before. Then it struck me: it looked just like the logo for 70s French operatic prog-rock band Magma. OK, so it actually looks quite different now that I’ve seen the original again, but it was close enough to jog my memory.

Any suggestions as to which prog heroes’ logo I should carve into my chin next? Hmmm, carve into my chin… [thinks]… my face could become like some sort of prog-rock Mount Rushmore.