Ten years ago this month, I took my first live music photo. It felt like something clicked right from the start—both what I wanted to be photographing and the place I wanted to be. I spent the next four years actively working in the London music scene, and living in all the chaos and good times that went along with it.
Realising this was a ten-year mark sent me looking back through the photos from those times, and remembering all of the people and places that were part of my life in those days. The cornerstone of my life at the time was a club night called FROG, which is where I got my start, and where lots of the London music greats also mark as a starting place. Everyone comes from somewhere, and this was a darn lucky place for me.
FROG took place every Saturday night in a club called the Mean Fiddler under the Astoria music venue—a building that was knocked down to build the Overground rail line. Saturday nights for a year and a half I was there, taking photos of the bands, the crowds, the musicians, the scene. Going back through these photos has made me realise what a wild time and place it really was.
Since I was just starting as a photographer, some of the photos are not “good” in a technical sense. There’s noise, some are out of focus, light was a serious challenge for me. I had a Nikon Cool Pix 5700 (just a little bigger and better than a normal point and shoot camera), and it wasn’t up to the environment I was shooting in. I look back at some of these photos and I cringe a bit—the technical quality just isn’t there. But I’m also so glad I have these—they’re documenting a moment and an attitude and a full spectrum of people and activity that I’ve never seen in the same way since.
I’m currently trying to get my head around what to do with these photos. I have a few ideas, and some of the people I knew back in the day have had a few more. What I know for now is that this is an anniversary to celebrate, and a great time of my life to remember.
I’m so incredibly lucky to get to do what I do with my life. And lucky, also, for the place and people who helped me get my start.