Last weekend I was shooting The Great Escape festival in Brighton for XYZ Magazine. I got to see the mighty Slaves at beachfront club Coalition and they were immense! You can check out some of my photos of the other artists from the festival below.
On Friday I was shooting the awesome Rizzle Kicks at the Brighton Centre. You can check out some of my photographs of the support bands – Bang Bang Bang and Bassment Project – on my blog HERE It was the first time I’d seen these guys live and they put on such an energetic show! Check out some of the photographs below!
Rising UK rock band The Treatment teamed up with Cage The Gods for a string of UK and European dates. Currently in Glasgow, the guys are set to play Cardiff and Bristol before heading over to the Netherlands and Germany. It’s been a crazy trip so far with casino trips, and football pit stops, and too many people in each Travelodge room, and dozens of beers rolling around the van, and Hard Rock Café, and old friends, and ‘where’s the breastmilk?!’, and endless hours of editing at my laptop in the front of the van 🙂
Anyway, here’s some shots of both bands at their shows in Wolverhampton, Sheffield and Manchester!!
Meet Steve. He’s a bushcraftsman. He makes shoes, fire, canoes and jewellery. Ever since we first met a couple of years back, I wanted to photograph him and we finally got round to it. We headed up to Devils Dyke on a cold but sunny Sunday afternoon with my husband (who was a voice-activated lightstand for the day!), Steve’s fiancé Kirsty (who helped style everything!) and my dog SHARK! (who was as unhelpful as usual!). By the time we set everything up, we had an hour and a half to get the shots we wanted before it got too dark. Steve wanted to use some of the photographs on his website, Axe And Paddle Bushcraft, so we wanted to show a few of the skills he can teach.
He runs private classes and workshops, as well as teaching at festivals and taking personal commissions. Check out the interview below, or shoot him an email to find out more.
INTERVIEW: STEVE SAY
Standing at 6’4 and with blond hair down to his waist, bushcraftsman Steve Say certainly stands out from the crowd. It’s a beautiful November Sunday and we’ve come to Devil’s Dyke so that Steve can demonstrate some of his skills. “Bushcraft is knowing how to use the outdoors to your advantage,” he explains as he unpacks his home-made rucksack. “Y’know, edible plants, different materials, making tools and shelter.”
With a huge range of skills – including making jewellery and shoes, using animal skins, crafting canoes, growing vegetables, carving spoons and making fire – Steve is a man of the outdoors. Growing up in East London, he began to learn his fire-making skills from reading old books. “My mum was obsessed with Native Americans,” he says. “She always took me outdoors. Now I don’t like being indoors – I’m feral!”
Nowadays, he runs customised courses for small groups in fire-lighting, cord-making, leather work, cooking, and preparing skins amongst other things. Working a lot at festivals, he sets up his 12ft tepee and gets a fire going. “We teach kids and adults. The adults love it just as much. Flint and steel fire lighting is good to start, but for people who want more advance stuff, I teach bow drill firelighting. It’s a bow wrapped around a wooden drill and you drill it into the base plate. It creates friction which you can get an ember from. You use straw or hay to create a fire from the ember. It can be quite hard, and it take years to work out which woods are the best ones to use.”
If you think this sounds unique, you’d be right. “Everything I know is all self-taught. I’ve read it in books, then it’s trial and error. I don’t know anybody else who does this. In the last few years I’ve met people who are interested in bushcraft. But only certain aspects of it, like foraging or craft work. I don’t know anyone who uses all of these skills to sustain themselves.”
Such utopian ideaology of living off the land seems impossible in our frantic-paced modern world. Yet Steve maintains hope. “I’d love to live like that. I’d like a nice bit of woodland by a river or lake, so I’ve got some fish. Some land to hunt on. Not just running around shooting everything, just selective hunting. It’d be lovely to be self-sufficient and have your own solar, wind, or water power. It’s very idealistic. But it’s possible. It’s not for everyone, you’ve got to cut a lot out of your life. You can’t have no cable TV, it’d be a waste of energy. The idea is to be self-sufficient: grow your own vegetables, chop your own firewood and catch your own food. You won’t have time to sit and watch TV.”
But with the free time he would have, Steve enjoys what he calls ‘making stuff’. “I make spoons. I make canoes. If I want something, I’ll make it.”
He demonstrates by showing his hand-crafted moccasins. After finding patterns in books, he drew around his feet and stitched the leather together. After some trial and error, he’s got the art down to a tee. “Each Native American tribe has its own pattern. You can tell where a tribe came from by their moccasins. There’s some really ornate patterns.”
Whilst Steve makes the shoes to order, he admits they might not be what most people are used to. “You walk more on the toe of your foot than the heel. In shoes, you bang your heel down first, it’s not good for you. Moccasins change the way you walk, you can feel stuff under your feet. They’re really nice in the snow, it’s like walking on marshmallows!”
With a lot of the courses he runs, people are looking for an experience but they want to learn something too. “When you first create fire out of stone and a bit of metal, it’s an amazing thing. Its great to teach someone that! With the hand drill, you’ve gotta be really stubborn. Just holding it all in place can be difficult. You need the right materials, you need to craft them into the tools you need, and then you need the technique to actually get a fire going. Nobody ever taught me that. I used to get whacked in the head with bits of wood when they’re flying out the bow, and with the string on the wrong side.”
“When it eventually worked I was over the moon. I couldn’t believe it! I was jumping around, beating my chest! It was a little caveman moment. The first man who ever did that would’ve felt the same too. I get that feeling every time I do it. Every time I light a fire, I get a massive grin on my face.”
Before moving to Brighton, Steve worked as a jeweller near Hatton Garden for ten years. Working alongside designers and a wax carver, he did forging, and soldering, as well as making stone settings for rings. Boasting clients such as Selfridges, David Bowie and Alexander McQueen, his style has evolved over time, merging with his bushcraft skills. “Materials are everywhere. Gold and silver, well, they’re nice things. But I like real treasures. Bones, wood, bits of feathers and beetle wings. I’ve regressed. I started with that stuff as a kid, and now I’ve gone back to it. I love birds’ feet and bits of leather!”
“I’m always finding bits of stuff and keep it aside. I’m like a magpie. Beetle wings are my favourite at the moment, but they’re hard to get hold of. I save them all up and then when I have enough I’ll attach them onto my hat. They’re like little charms.”
With dreams of running a small campsite for wild camping and running courses based on all of his skills, Steve has firm beliefs about the things he crafts. “They’re all one off pieces; made by hand. There’s gotta be a bit of love in each creation. Mass-production takes away some of the quality. Although I wouldn’t mind one or two people helping me out with sewing because it takes a bloody long time!”
Steve is available to run private courses for groups or individuals of any age, and for commissions. Get in touch with Steve at www.AxeAndPaddleBushcraft.co.uk
Back in November, I was commissioned to shoot Coheed and Cambria for Team Rock’s Prog magazine. Arcane Roots were supporting, and it was a great show. I’ve always followed Coheed, so it was nice to be able to shoot them for a full page piece in Prog. I remember doing a work experience placement at NME magazine when I was 15 or 16, and sifting through press releases in the mail bag, listening to the CDs and sorting through the printed photographs (which seems so archaic now everything is done by email!) Coheed and Cambria’s press campaign for their debut album ‘Second Stage Turbine Blade’ was amongst the hundreds of CDs, I was a fan of it straight away!
Check out my photos from the show below, and of the magazine’s review too!
Towards the end of last year, I photographed and interviewed a few different people for a brand new website called The Rabbit Hole. The launch of the site has been put on hold whilst the editor is getting used to motherhood, but I wanted to blog these photographs of Jasmine Glover, the seamstress-slash-performer behind Ruby’s Imaginarium.
This shoot was particularly special to me since Jasmine was the first model I ever shot back in 2011, in a graffiti/post-apocalyptic themed shoot which you can see HERE. Whilst Jasmine still models occasionally, she is spending more time on upcycling and customising vintage clothes, and performing as a peepshow dancer in her own events.
Check out the photos and interview below!
An Afternoon at Ruby’s Imaginarium
Tucked away in the depths of the vast Zu Studios in Lewes, East Sussex, Ruby’s Imaginarium is a tiny corner of perfect fantasy. Stuffed full of vintage Victorian wear, home-made nipple tassels, exquisite shoes and beautiful accessories, proprietor Jasmine Glover is as much a curator as she is an artist.
“I don’t want to do anything normal. Ruby’s Imaginarium is all my creativity in one bubble!” Jasmine laughs, as she shows me one of the pieces she’s working on: a cropped jacket which is being covered in labels cut out from other items.
With the idea for Ruby’s Imaginarium conceived two years ago, it’s still in its infancy. Combining Jasmine’s multifarious creative skills – modelling, costume design, artwork, singing and events – the 22-yr old has such a vivid sense of style that she can combine all of her passions into one cohesive web. “It’s been really nice to have something to stick to. I tried singing and art… it didn’t really work. So this – clothes making and costume design – comes quite naturally and it’s nice to have that. It makes me want to do it more. I really want to put out one off costume pieces. The expression that comes with it is really satisfying.”
Dressed in fishnet stockings, red suede heels and a reworked waistcoat with added ruffle sleeves, Jasmine has firm beliefs underpinning her creativity. “I like to recycle lots because I don’t believe in high street chains. The quality isn’t always very good, and the production isn’t always from a good source. I prefer to go to charity shops and reuse clothes and create some spectacular one off pieces. There’s too much stuff in the world already, we should reuse things we already have. People buy things to make themselves feel good, but there’s so much waste already. It’s quite mad.”
She goes on to explain: “Things like underwear and shoes and socks, I do buy brand new. But I try to source everything else from vintage and second hand shops. If I can find old ribbons, that’s amazing, but I buy threads brand new because they need to be strong. The Victorian style is so unique and beautiful, and so well made. Today, things feel a lot more plain.”
Many of Jasmine’s items are absolutely exquisite. Does she find it hard to let things go after she’s laboured over them? “Haha, sometimes! I’m making a little lace top, it’s going to look so nice! It’s cream and coral with these blue antique buttons. I don’t want to part with it! But some pieces I keep for myself to wear.”
Despite her space at Zu Studios being really quite compact – a roofless spot not more than two metres square, perimetered by frosted glass doors nailed together – Jasmine has a bursting clothes rail in one corner, and her sewing machine set up opposite. A tiny heater blows out warm air, and posters of Christina Aguilera adorn the “walls”, as well as paintings of Jasmine herself from life modelling sessions.
Zu Studios is home to a variety of acrobats, performers, and artists of all kind. An ex-industrial space, it has private workshops for artists upstairs, and communal spaces downstairs, which are open to the public when an event is on. “You can build your own space,” explains Jasmine. “I want to add a roof with some storage.” So, has working here had an impact on Ruby’s Imaginarium? “Yes. Especially in Lewes, there’s so many antique shops. And Zu has so many creative minds, if I have an idea, I can bounce it off people. They really support what I do. It’s a hub of good vibes!
Jasmine discovered Zu after her mum mentioned a party happening there. “It’s a club, a bar, it’s got a dance room, and loads of quirky corners. The music variety is vast – metal, jazz, everything. It’s the best place for events. People wear all sorts. Nipple tassles, onesies, everything! We had a Day Of The Dead theme recently. Any party goes here, pretty much!”
After a large donation of bras from ALALA in Brighton – a charity supporting orphaned children – Ruby’s Imaginarium has recently started bra revamping. “I’m making them into costume bras, which I’ll sell and then give the money to the charity. Christine [the founder of ALALA] has just given me about 20 more, so it’s an ongoing project. Her shop is great, full of quirky things! I was holding revamp parties to help people sew, and add beads and tassles – it was really cool.”
Whilst Jasmine is really enthusiastic about her costume design, she has also started running events. “I’ve now got a boudoir room set up here at Zu with a mini stage. I’m hoping to do more peep shows. I just did my second one on Saturday and it went really well. There’s a board set up in front of the stage and it has peepholes with different lenses and binoculars, and things that distort your vision, like a fish eye lens, or doubled vision. I’ve really experimented with my first two peep shows, but they went really well.”
“I do some of the performance, some strip tease and burlesque. A few friends here at Zu come along and do circus performance and bed of nails. People just want to wear nipple tassels or get half-naked! It’s a very arty, burlesque-y, theatrical vibe. Quite dark and mysterious.”
And it seems like that could be the direction Jasmine veers towards. “I’d love to make it bigger and turn it into cabaret with mime and theatre and singing and food invovled, as well as strip tease. Just a whole mixture of performance in one venue. Festivals would be amazing too. It’d be a dream come true actually!”
To find out more about Ruby’s Imaginarium, check out the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RubysImaginarium
Back in October, I was photographing and interviewing female wrestler Erin Angel. Erin has been wrestling since she was 15 and it was really interesting to hear about how the whole industry works. The piece was put together to go on The Rabbit Hole, but due to the site’s editor giving birth (yey!) there’s been a slight delay. You can check out the interview below.
Tucked away amongst the tangle of conference rooms at the Peacehaven Meridian Centre in East Sussex, female wrestler Erin Angel is preparing for a charity match put on by Premier Promotions.
It’s a chilly Saturday evening in Peacehaven, and Erin appears relaxed, even though she’s maybe not quite what I expected. Chatting easily as she laces up her Barbie pink wrestling boots, the diminutive Southampton-based wrestler is finishing off her pre-show preparations.
She’s used to people being taken aback when they meet her. “Ask someone to think of a wrestler and they’d think of Hulk Hogan or a sumo wrestler. Not someone who looks like me!”
Dressed in lipstick-pink latex chaps, with white-blonde hair and standing at only 4’11, you could easily confuse Erin for a dancer or gymnast. But the 26-year old has been wrestling since she was 15 after her younger brother started watching it on TV.
“I’d find myself putting it on the TV instead of him! It became my addiction,” she laughs. “My mum saw an advert for a local show. Once I saw it live, I was like ‘I have to do this!’ At 15 I was quite young to train, but because not many girls do it, they were very keen to have me involved. My family and friends were shocked to begin with, but they’re all really supportive.”
With the sport taking Erin across the world – she’s wrestled across Europe and in Canada and India – the appeal of the sport starts to transpire. Yet with her tiny 105lb frame, how does she stand up to the opposition? “I’ve wrestled one of the greatest British female wrestlers, Klondyke Kate. She’s 25 stones, and she was my opponent for about three years. The difference between us was massive!”
When asked if she often won, Erin giggles. “Some of the time I did! My speed and agility work to an advantage. She wasn’t very mobile, but someone of that calibre and weight got me a lot of the time.”
Wrestling is known for over-the-top theatrical moves and choreographed altercations, but Erin insists the sporting factor is evident in each match too. “It definitely has that real element, and in the training also. The flying-through-the-air moves are more choreographed, but it depends on the night and the audience about how brutal you can be!”
She goes on to explain: “For WWE, they need storylines within their two hour shows. But if you go to over-18s shows, you just go out there and fight! The crowd is getting drunk and there’s a lot more freedom. There are also the shows for children at holiday camps etc, so you need to do the moves they see on TV.”
Despite the real-ness of the sport, Erin has remarkably avoided too many injuries. “I’ve been really lucky I’ve not had any breaks. Oh, I broke my nose actually, but that doesn’t count!! I’ve had concussion, I split my head open and had to have it glued. It was at Butlins, there was blood everywhere but I just had to carry on with the show. People in the crowd were shouting out ‘It’s ketchup!!’”
With female wrestling still a very niche sport, is there much competition? “Yeah, everyone wants to look the best, be the best. It’s like any other sport. But the better you look, as a girl, the more shows you get booked on. There are eight guys tonight and only two girls so you have to be the best. I train in the gym 3-4 times a week. I swim for good cardio and I wrestle most weekends.
Known for her missile dropkick – a move which involves jumping from the top turnbuckle and kicking both feet into her opponent – Erin is touted as one of the top eight women wrestlers in the UK, and has performed in front of crowds surpassing three thousand people.
“You can’t make a full time living from wrestling in the UK at the moment,” Erin states, explain that she teaches swimming to parents and babies when she’s not in the ring. “It’s bigger in the US and Japan. I’ve entered trials before and had good feedback, but it’s not got any further than that yet. Unless something came along that was a fixed contract, I wouldn’t move abroad.”
Despite that, in the UK female wrestling is definitely getting bigger. There are several promotions company that solely work with female wrestlers. Erin explains how female-only wrestling shows can vary from mixed-gender events: “A family show like tonight’s is a different market to some of the female-only wrestling shows, which have mostly men in the audience. But there are women as well who love it. The girl power element is quite inspiring. But it’s not so dated that it’s just men being pervy. I know the kinda shows that are more like that, and I don’t have to choose to do them. I’m not really involved with that side of wrestling, I keep to the mainstream stuff.”
As she checks her make up and adjusts her stage outfit, Erin considers the future. “I hope I’ve got a good few years left, maybe another six or seven years at least. For female wrestlers, your time is a lot shorter than a male. Until family life takes over, I’ll keep doing it.”
Unfortunately, this evening’s event was cut short due to a fire in the electrical intake at the nearby Co-Op. The full show has been rescheduled for March 1st at the Meridian Centre in Peacehaven. The next Premier Promotions event (male only) is their Christmas Spectacular at the Worthing Assembly Halls on 30th December.
I’ve worked with Sam Chason on a number of different shoots now. He’s an up’n’coming male model in Brighton and I always enjoy working with him. For this shoot, he needed some updated shots for his portfolio, and we shot these around Hassocks.
It’s been a busy weekend of gigs! On Saturday, I was shooting Coheed + Cambria for TeamRock, and then last night I was up in Camden for The Temperance Movement’s show. I’ve been listening to TTM’s debut album a lot, it was awesome to see them live. They put on a really energetic show and the crowd was packed out – even Jimmy Page was there..!
Support came from Joshua Jackson, who I wasn’t familiar with before, but comes recommended after yesterday’s performance.