Bastille: The Bad Blood Tour Photo Book by Gregory Nolan

I am absolutely thrilled to announce the first-ever book of my photography. BASTILLE: The Bad Blood Tour is a compilation of four years of my work with Bastille, and documents the journey the band has been on so far.

It’s hard to describe how I’m feeling at the moment.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with the whole Bastille team, and that all of our vision for the project was a truly high-end art book. We worked to create a narrative that mirrors a day on tour: the travelling, the time spent around town, promo, setting up the show, hanging out backstage, and then the live performance.

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know what an amazing time I have with this band, and what a privilege it is to have had the chance to witness and document their progress from cramped pub shows to 15,000 + audiences, with more than a few adventures (safaris, the Brits, a trip to NASA, a random 7 am rock-climb in the Nevada desert, etc) along the way.

The writer/editor on this project was Unmade in Ireland collaborator Katie Dwyer, and she did her best to wrangle all the artistic perspectives of band, designer, management, and me into something we’re all truly proud of.

I’ll be sharing more about the process over the coming weeks--it’s an enormous effort to get everything exactly right and make sure the timing works out for everything. The book ships in December, but in the past few hours since the pre-order launched we’re already seeing quite a bit of interest, so if you want a copy for yourself I recommend ordering soon.

Guys, thanks so much for all your support and feedback over these years. This is a major event in my career, and it means the world to me that many of you have been following my journey for the whole way.

I don’t really know how to say how I’m feeling at the moment, only that “proud” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

So… Check out the book’s sales page HERE if you’d like to see what this has all been about. I look forward to hearing what you think!

Portrait of A Festival by Gregory Nolan

I’m always struck by the crowds at festivals and shows. Even though I’m there specifically to photograph the musicians, I always love capturing the front rows and fans--there’s something really special in paying attention to the individual faces in a crowd that are at least half of what makes a great show what it is.

So I decided to capture a portrait set of festival-goers as part of my personal mission as a festival photographer for Electric Picnic.

This festival has a broad base and a wide appeal--although for me it feels like primarily a musical event, there are all those people showing up for the comedy stage, the political talks, and the literary events. So you get young people in full festival dress and older folks camping in yurts and everyone in between. As an exercise in portraiture, it was quite an opportunity, and people were very kind in letting me photograph them.

I don’t often talk about the technical details of my photography, but since a few people have asked in the past… I shot these portraits on a 85mm lens on my Nikon D810.

 

Electric Picnic, Take Two by Gregory Nolan

The 1975

The 1975

This was my second year photographing Electric Picnic, and it was another entirely great experience. The festival is a really nice combination of arts and music--stuff from comedy and political stages to large international acts and local Irish musicians making a start. It’s nice having the chance to take a second run at a festival like this, since after last year I knew the lay of the land and how to balance out the types of stages and acts I was photographing, and the best way to both capture the festival and have a great time in the process.

It was a great weekend and everyone was there for a really good time. We had an expected Irish mix of rain and semi-decent weather, but the crowds were so into the music and the spirit of the event. In addition to my duties as an official festival photographer, I also took some time to do portraits of festival-goers (specific blog post on this coming soon…)

Foals

Foals

Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula

Possibly the biggest and best surprise of the festival was a musician called Benjamin Booker from New Orleans. I had never heard of him before, but was specifically told by the organisers that I needed to check him out. He was incredible--such proper blues/rock and roll, and an amazing life performance.

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker

Other highlights for me were phenomenal performances by St. Vincent, Jungle, Laura Mvula, and Sinead O’Connor. A guilty pleasure was getting to photograph Bonnie Tyler. I was also happy to catch shows from two Unmade in Ireland acts--Carriages and Twin Headed Wolf.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

Overall this was a fabulous weekend, and a real pleasure to get to witness and document it. As I wrote on my blog last year, it’s very different for me to be dashing between bands and getting two or three shots I’m excited about per act (rather than touring with a single band for weeks at a time). It’s a challenge and a rush, and I’m honoured to have had the chance to be back at The Picnic.

Vaults

Vaults

Unmade In Ireland by Gregory Nolan

Conor from Biggles Flies Again at his home rehearsal space. 

Today I am launching my new independent photography project, UNMADE IN IRELAND.

For my ten years as a music photographer I have told the story that people are more familiar with: the live shows, the build up, the fans, recordings, and the backstage antics. I’ve been privileged to work with some people who have, by just about any measure, “made it.” I love being in the midst of an artist making their career happen, and am lucky to have been with some bands from the start. I want to go back a few more steps and document the not so glamorous, but just as real and essential-music at its roots today.

“Making it” is a tricky term. It looks different to different people at different moments in their career...and looks quite different to someone on the inside of this lifestyle than it might look to someone on the outside--be they music fan or a family member. Something we’ll be doing with this project is, in addition to the photographs, inviting the band members to speak for themselves in interviews we’ll be posting along with the work.

I’m partnering with other creatives on this project, Amelia Conophy to help me track down bands, and Katie Dwyer to help with the writing.

One thing all bands have in common is they all started from a similar spot. Nothing. No name. No songs. No fans. Just ideas. Just that they want to play songs. Something drives these people. It’s actually quite mad. It’s like some part of their brain is switched off. Rent, bills, life all seems to come so far down the list. Because another thing they all have in common is they all have that same buzz when they get on the stage. I have seen bands play to 1 person and a barman all the way to 22,000 and more. The buzz is there. It’s what they’re all living and working for. With everything they’ve got.

That’s what I’m working on with this collection. The work. The “look” and struggle of a band trying to make it. In rehearsal spaces, in small-town pubs, in bedsits and on festival side-stages. All across Ireland.

And after ten years as a music photographer, with all the luck I’ve had that’s taken me around the world with bands I love, this project is also me getting to be back at work where I call home as well--at my roots in Dublin.

Unmade in Ireland tells the story of the bands who haven’t made it yet--the music at its start here in Ireland.

Will Wright Rehearsal 03.07.14-012-Edit.jpg