Rock Band 4 Cover Art by Gregory Nolan

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Well… I finally lived up to a dream I didn’t even know I had.

A photo of mine is the cover art for an internationally acclaimed video game: Rock Band 4.

Not only is that something pretty worthy of bragging rights… it also meant that I basically got to shoot a gig performed just for me. The marketing team wanted to use an actual photo for the cover, which meant bringing in a band to play a show to an audience, and having me there to photograph.

On the one hand, it was a Disneyland version of the chaos I deal with on any working day (lighting optimised for the photo, band well spaced, crowd carefully not getting in my way…). On the other hand, the pressure was on and I knew darn well I had to get that shot.

It was a really good experience and a cool thing to shoot on the day. The band was really solid and the crowd was actually enjoying the gig. Although this is a massive and stressful campaign, on the day of the shoot the client was laid back and supportive. We’d talked through the idea and style of the photo, and had everything lined up to be as streamlined and controlled as possible.

I took the photos and handed over the files.

This was a very different experience than my usual work shooting live. Not only was it carefully controlled and highly specific, but it was also strange to hand over unedited files and wait to see what the final image would look like. I’ve got to admit I was a little nervous about it--where would the editing take the image? Would it look like what I shot? Did I get the perfect angle, did I maximise the lighting, would the final edit still feel like my photo…?

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Turns out, I’m pretty darn pleased with it. I like the colors they used and the staging they chose and the feel of the image. They wanted to have it look like the video game was part of an actual live scene, and I think they pulled it together well.

And now I keep getting RockBand ads popping up in my social media streams...complete with my photo. Gotta say, it’s a pretty cool feeling.


A New Era of Content Creation... by Gregory Nolan

For years, I’ve watched content platforms be developed, announced, and used in all kinds of ways. I’m an early adopter and get excited about new ways to engage. But many of these formats were essentially tool focused--launch the platform with the goal of helping people share their stories, but perhaps put less time into imagining what the final result will be as a user. Most blogging/content sharing platforms end up being successful, but still have some basic issues of beauty, ease of use, or significant content restrictions.

If Apple delivers what it promised with its Apple Music App launch presentation, we’re entering a new era of content creation.

I am so excited to see where this takes us next.

As someone who has worked with bands for over a decade, I have watched as artists work to shape their identities and engage with their fans.

Technology has obviously changed that massively, and this Apple announcement is a huge ‘new’ thing.

With this kind of user interface, it’s going to be so easy to create really beautiful, exciting access. The platform gives bands a place to tell their stories, share their photos, upload videos, all that in one place that’s going to look amazing and engaging.

It’s an interesting time to be a content creator in the music industry. I’ve been waiting for years for a place where I could develop these kinds of ideas where the format and distribution wasn’t a total headache or potential tech disaster. But here we are—if the Apple app does what it promises, we’ll be off running to new ways to share backstage life, or tour road trips, or the behind-the-scenes creation of a new album.

Honestly, my head is spinning a bit. I can already picture high-quality photos being paired with anecdotes and stories from bands. I could imagine essentially creating mini digital books of content, now laid out in a digital format that’s easy to access and could be accompanied by the band’s music in a single location.

I wish I could say I’m cautiously optimistic. The truth is that my mind is working in overdrive, imagining the photography projects I can do with this new format as a kind of professional playground. How are bands going to adjust to this? What’s the new baseline for sharing and interaction? What are the ways we will be able to push beyond telling the same stories the same ways, and move into an entirely new and different way of experiencing music?

Apple announcements want to make you feel this way—like everything is possible because of a beautiful user interface. But… like I said, I’ve been in this industry for a lot of years. Nice interface can make a big difference, and a well-told story can shape a band’s identity.

So here we go! The next big thing.

Here’s the question for you--what do you want to see? How can I help the bands I work with share stories in a beautiful, engaging way? What am I missing? Where can I push next? This is the time to explore a new way of envisioning what’s possible.

A Top Secret Spring by Gregory Nolan

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Contrary to what it might look like here on the blog, I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have, in fact, been quite busy with several different projects since I last wrote in March.

Problem is, they all have EXCLUSIVE/NDA/TOP SECRET written across them, which makes blog writing… problematic.

So suffice it to say that I’ll have good stories coming your way soon, from London and LA, from Oregon and parts between. There’s exciting stuff in the works for some projects I’ve been involved with for a long time, including work for some upcoming releases, plus some new stuff that keeps popping up.

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Plus I’ve been going through my archives in my spare time, and looking back at some of my very first photos from my early London days...back when Mumford and Sons looked like children, Frank had almost no tattoos and when everyone must of gotten dressed in the dark. 

In the meantime, if you want more news from me I do share stories from time to time on my mailing list, which you can sign up for here: http://bit.ly/gnsubscribe 

Keep on keeping on with you, and I’ll keep on keeping on here.

The Store Is Live! by Gregory Nolan

Whenever I’ve gotten a shot I feel really proud of, I’ve thought—I’d love to see that on someone’s wall. Or when I’ve traveled and caught some vista or some beautiful glimpse of a street scene, I’ve often thought now that is something a little different than what I’ve seen before. I’d like to get that out there in the world.
 

Finally, the store is live.

I hesitated for a long, long time for lots of mostly uninteresting reasons. Setting up a store is complicated. I could go on and on, but basically it’s taken a while to decide that it’s worth getting my work out there. People can decide what they want to put on their walls, but I want my work to at least be one of the options.

So anyway, that’s all the long and boring backstory. Here’s the deal:

I’m selling my photos in three collections: Music, Travel, and a short-time-only A5 Collection. The music and travel are more stable collections, occasionally rotating in new images, all offered in A3 and A2 sizes. The A5 collection is my effort to balance out my passion for high-quality fine arts printing with wanting to have an affordable option for my work, and I’m hoping will lead to people curating their own collections my work. I also found a framing company that will do beautiful handmade frames in the US (shipping internationally is unfortunately too complex at this time).

What does this mean for the blog?

I’m going to keep posting here just as I always have. I’ll keep sharing my photos and stories, regardless of whatever else changes. I’m honoured that people are interested in me and my work, and am incredibly excited about the opportunities and adventures that lie ahead.

So keep on keeping on out there!

Gregory Nolan Framed Prints