Water Fools – Salford Quays – Manchester

The French outdoor theatre company ILOTOPE put on a spectacular event this weekend at Salford Quays.  I was down there to shoot the dress rehearsal which, although brilliantly done, did not have the fireworks going.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-11It did feature though, a floating car, with a caravan, a huge floating bed, and lots of other magic.  At 9.30 prompt a car arrived, dropping a man off on a platform in the middle of the water.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-14The story is rooted in the fanatical, as a surreal world explodes out of a man’s head, transporting him from the rigmarole of his everyday existence to a landscape populated with mythical creatures and inexplicable magic, while all spectacularly taking place on the water’s surface. Caravans, prams and penny-farthings will feature, defying all logic, bringing an impossibly innovative piece of entertainment to Salford Quays.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-48Choreographed by French artist Bruno Schnebelin the routine had chain breath-taking visuals, punctuated by pyrotechnics, with engrossing theatre while fellow countryman Phil Spectrum composed an original score to make the show spectacular in all aspects.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-40The rest of the images from this shoot can be seen HERE

Lytham Proms 2012

Over the last weekend, I was able to shoot the Lytham Proms, held each year on Lytham Green, just outside Blackpool.  It was a fantastic experience to be able to shoot such giants as Alfie Boe, Olly Murs and Diana Vickers, as well as the Lytham Community Choir.

The weather on Saturday night was mixed, but even as the rain hurled down, the voice of Alfie Boe made you forget the water running down the back of your neck.

You can just about make out the rain to the bottom left of the shot.  Despite all that, the sun shone, and though I’ve not got a photo of it, there was a wonderful rainbow, that arced from the sea, over the Lytham Windmill, and onwards.  Alfie remarked that it was a great light show, that had been set up..

Next night was Olly Murs, and the whole demographic of the evening changed.  Lots of  young people, all screaming their heads off for Olly.  He was a true professional, with so much energy – and lots of time for his young fans.

The full set of images can be found by clicking HERE

Key 103 Live 2012

Last night saw the Key 103 Live event at the MEN Arena in Manchester – it was great that I could be part of this event, and gain access to the pit area of the arena to get images of the artists on stage.  Much hard work, very hot, and VERY loud.  Me armed with ear defenders that I used to use when going clay pigeon shooting – made me look pretty silly, but I came away with my hearing intact.  It’s exhausting work, but more than worthwhile – many thanks to the MEN Arena Staff, and the guys and girls from Key 103, for making this such a great event.  It was run with military precision – well done.

Images here of Alexandra Burke, Will Young, Alyssia Reid, One Direction, Talo Cruz, and Tulisa – the rest of the images can be found by clicking HERE

Musical Theatre at its best !

I was asked the other day what sort of pictures I liked taking best – and though I enjoy all genres of photography, I have to say I’m a sucker for the theatre.  Inside, I reckon I’m a frustrated thespian, with all those artistic frustrations just itching to get out…..

So when I was asked if I wanted to shoot the PR Press release for the upcoming opening of The LION KING in Manchester, I had to be held back in my eagerness to be there.

The presentation was made by Thomas Schumacher – Producer and President, Disney Theatrical Group at the Comedy Store in Manchester – members of the cast – in full costume – sang, and acted their way through a number of songs from the show, with full explanations as to how the costumes, sets and props were created to create Africa on stage.

The costumes were amazing, with so much detail, some of which I’m sure will be lost from the back of a huge auditorium.

I’m booking my tickets later this week……..

To view the rest of the images – CLICK HERE

Zach Braff – AKA JD of Scrubs Fame

Star of TV and film Zach Braff hits the UK stage for the first time in All New People, the wonderfully witty comedy, hailed by the New York critics. Zach Braff (Scrubs), nominated for 17 Emmy Awards – writer, director and star of the award-winning Garden State, is a three time Golden Globe Award nominee and Grammy Award winner. Directed by the acclaimed Peter DuBois, who most recently directed the Evening Standard nominated drama Becky Shaw at London’s Almeida Theatre. This hilarious new comedy features an acclaimed ensemble featuring Eve Myles (Torchwood), Paul Hilton (National Theatre, Donmar) and Susannah Fielding (RSC, National Theatre).

The Press call was held at the Opera House Manchester earlier this week.  It was a pleasure to photograph Zach, and the rest of the cast performing here, before moving to London’s West End for a lengthy run.

To see Zach in the UK was a pleasure, and it was wonderful to photograph such a pleasant individual.  A consummate professional who knew exactly how to work the press photographers gathered together.

Many thanks to the Opera House, and to the cast for being so pleasant and co-operative on the day.

The cast of All New People pictured outside the Opera House, Manchester.
(Left to Right: Paul Hilton, Eve Myles, Susannah Fielding, Zack Braff)

Welcoming in 2012 !

Happy New Year 2012 – it’s already a great start to the year.  On the first day back at work, we secured a contract with a new client, which looks set to grow at a great rate throughout the next year.  We look forward to achieving some great photography over the coming months…. watch this space for images we will be allowed to show.

We’ve also had a great studio shoot right at the end of December – using a local place, right in the heart of Stockport.  The aim was to shoot images with a feel of the artist Jack Vettriano (and for those of you who don’t know who he is – he’s the chap who painted the dancers on the beach, who are being sheltered by a butler holding an umbrella).  His work has fascinated me for a long time, and now we have been able to emulate some of his images.

We are aiming to work up some more pictures in the spring, and to make a full collection for an exhibition later in the year.  I really hope we can make this come to fruition.

In the meantime, we wish you health, wealth, and happiness for the coming year.

Pixie Lott at Manchester Arndale

Pixie Lott chose Manchester to launch her new Autumn Winter range at Lipsy store, because, she says, Manchester girls know how to party.

I’m not sure about that personally, but she was a joy to photograph. Shoppers and fans waited patiently for what seemed like hours for her, and she signed autographs and chatted to fans in the shop. Later she performed songs from her new album, Young Foolish Happy, which is due out in November.

Getting shots of her singing turned out to be harder than I thought – I couldn’t get into the photography area at first, as one of the security guards said I needed a specific pass, which I didn’t have.  I had been issued with a standard ‘Arndale Centre’ visitor pass, which had been adequate for the shop part of the shoot, but for some reason didn’t work for the next bit… within a couple of minutes though, the problem was solved, and I was ushered in half way through her second song….. sighs of relief all round….

I don’t think my client would have been overly happy if I had to go back empty handed.  It’s quite a worry when you think you can’t get the shots you need, and the pressure is most definitely on.

There’s no excuse that’s the right one, you just have to deliver the goods on time.  There’s no time for cropping, or editing, you have to deliver first time, every time.

So here are two – straight out of the camera, with a few more on the main Oaktree site.

I’ve got a few days off now, and I’m looking forward to some well deserved R+R.

The People’s Catwalk – Trafford Centre Manchester

Last week I received a last minute request to assist Liz Henson who was covering the Prince’s Trust “People’s Catwalk”, a charity event hosted at the Trafford centre, Manchester. ( http://www.lizhenson.co.uk ) She had been given the task of organising a team of photographers for each day over the weekend.

I was unable to help for the whole weekend – but the time I did spend amongst the other photographers and presenters was great.  It seems that it is hard to get photographers to turn out for free, but sometimes the event is more worthwhile than money.  The Christie Hospital is something close to my own heart, as is Cancer Research in general, so we looked beyond the financial recompense and went for the experience.

It was good to meet Jeff Banks, a thoroughly nice man, with a wicked sense of humour, who certainly made the event go with a swing.  A surprise appearance of Carolynne Pool – x-factor singer was an added bonus, she has a wonderful voice, and I hope she does well in the competition.

And here are some shots from Sunday………

Martial Arts Viral in Tatton Park

It seems that the world of madness has not departed…… earlier this week, we photographed stills from a movie that was filmed in the Japanese Garden at Tatton Park.  A part of the garden that is generally closed to the public – but was on Monday the scene of a frantic battle as the Ninja Warriors attempted to storm the Shaolin Temple.  The film – directed by Mike Le Han, and choreographed by Master Chen, was fully costumed and the martial artists were stunningly athletic. The day ended on rather a wet note, when one of the team was actually thrown into the lake purposefully whilst fighting on the bridge… thanks go to Mike Le Han, for all his hard work on the day.  It was a great shoot.

The rest of the images from the day can be found by clicking HERE