All In A Good Cause!

At Stuart Homer Photography we’re all in favour of supporting a good cause and the last week has been no exception.

Last year our very good friend Tim Quinn in Liverpool invited us to support a programme he had conceived, unfortunately we weren’t available however this year we’ve been able to give the project our full commitment.

Tim has a longstanding background rubbing shoulders with superheroes – after all he used to work for Marvel. When the chance came to bring together Supergirl’s sister (actress Chyler Leigh) and her husband Nathan West’s band East of Eli all the way from the USA to  perform several charity gigs in aid of Liverpool Hearbeat we were keen to support.

You can see images from an interview evening with Chyler & Nathan and from there two gigs at The Cavern Club in Liverpool in my gallery with just a click ‘here‘.

East of Eli featuring Chyler Leigh supporting Liverpool Heartbeat

Happy Birthday Cavern Club

This weekend marks a milestone for the world-famous Cavern Club in Liverpool – nothing less than 60 years since the iconic music venue first opened it’s doors in 1957. Many happy returns Cavern!

DSC_6650It’s quite right to say many happy returns, because that’s exactly what I’ve done – I’ve returned to The Cavern very happily many times. Albeit I’m a relative newcomer, my first visit was only six years ago in 2011.

As a child I have some very fond, albeit limited memories of the Beatles. Being carried out of bed one evening to watch Yellow (or more accurately black & white) Submarine on TV. Finding some reel-to-reel recordings of Eleanor Rigby and thinking I might have stumbled across lost studio tapes and then studying the Beatles in a secondary school music lesson.

When I was offered the chance to photograph The Rockits in the world-famous venue during International Beatleweek 2011 all of those memories came flooding back. Nothing though had prepared me for the electric atmosphere, the buzz, the crowds and the heat of The Cavern. I think it’s fair to say I was hooked within minutes.

imageOne of my all time favourite photographs of The Cavern was created within those first few minutes in the venue – my good friend Chris Grindrod of The Rockits playing his Hofner bass with a Vox AC30 and the iconic arches in the background. It’s an image which is a firm favourite of mine – and I think a number of other people’s too. It’s been used widely and it’s always great to see it being displayed.

DSCF1210A few weeks after that Beatleweek I was invited back with the challenge of photographing Shannon’s amazing larger-than-life four piece canvas artwork of The Beatles for the Cavern. That only presented a few challenges – working in a narrow, dim corridor with the art protected by shiny perspex… But the resulting image can be seen on many pieces of cavern merchandise today. That visit also yielded some of the now iconic photographs of the empty Cavern which have also been recently widely used.

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Since that time The Cavern has become a regular venue for both working and relaxing. I’ve photographed every International Beatleweek since 2011 and many other events throughout the years too. Not just live music photography, there have been corporate events, portraits, formal events. Work in the Cavern obviously, but also in theatres, hotels, the Town Hall, St. George’s Hall and outdoor venues all around Liverpool, all as a direct result of this one venue.

MickyMontage1Through the last six years I’ve met and worked with some amazing names. Gerry Marsden, The Searchers, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Mark Hudson, Earl Slick, Clem Burke, Donovan, Brian ‘Boots’ Jones are just a few. Then there are the musicians I’ve had the pleasure to work with, from Great Britain, North and South America, Europe and as far away as Japan. More than that though, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with literally hundreds and hundreds of amazing people.

I owe a huge thank you to the Cavern City Tours directors, staff and resident artists and to the Cavern staff team for their hospitality and the opportunities they’ve provided, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

So Cavern Club, my heartfelt congratulations on 60 years of being the most famous (and awesome) club in the world. Thank you for every minute I’ve been able to share of it – here’s to the next sixty years too!!!.

DSC_3280-Edit-Edit SGH-IBW16-1724 SGH_BW15-732 SGH_BW15-361 SGH_BW15-070 SGH-034 image image Event photography by Stuart Homer Photography Ltd for Macmillan Education at the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool.

All images are the original work ©Stuart Homer Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Cavern Mecca 2015

Normally I try and post great, enthusiastic titles on my posts. For this one however I’m going to keep things a little more restrained and respectful.

The subject in question was the annual Cavern Mecca event, held in the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool. A venue which often feels like my second home – I do seem to spend a lot of time there, living and breathing in the atmosphere, photographing of course, occasionally eating but never sleeping.

The Cavern Mecca event itself is a longstanding fundraiser which I had the pleasure of applying my specialist live music photography at last year and the privilege of repeating the event this year. It was great to catch up and chat with good friends and great bands like The Shakers, The Rockits, Hamburg Beat and Backbeat along with hearing some of the latest new talent in the best of surroundings.

This year was dedicated to one of Merseybeat’s legends, the late Geoff Nugent and a fitting tribute it was too!!!

Many thanks are due as always to all of the Cavern Club staff and management, huge congratulations to Julie and the team who brought it all together – no mean feat in itself. Finally, many thanks to my close friend and occasional assistant Tony, I think he kind of enjoyed himself!

There’s a gallery of pictures online via this link – hope you like them.  If you’d like to order any please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Also please give me a shout if I can help in any way with any other needs, be it live music photography, corporate photography, portraiture or wedding photography.

Many thanks!

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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends….

SGH_BW15-281August Bank Holiday can only mean one thing – International Beatleweek.

This is the fourth year I’ve had the pleasure of working with Cavern City Tours in photographing at International Beatleweek, in Liverpool. I find it an amazing blast, not just to work in such an incredible city, but to work in some amazing venues and to meet even more amazing people.

This year as well as catching up with lots of BW friends, I spent some time working closely with Japanese all-girl Beatle tribute band The Clover, photographing three of their gigs for them.

In addition to that, the rest of my five days in Liverpool were spent photographing The Royal Court stage shows, including the fantastic Cavern Club Beatles and an all star show led by Mark Hudson and of course working with Cavern resident band The Rockits.

Huge thanks to all involved in organising the event, particularly Jon, Bill, Dave, Phil, Julia, Kim, Paul, Victoria & Shanna at Cavern City Tours for their support and facilitation, thanks to The Rockits & WAGS for their hospitality too – and thanks to everyone else for being great subject matter!

Photographs of the event are on my website, organised by day. Hope you like them – Please get in touch to order copies.

If you would like to know more about me photographing live music or any other event, please do not hesitate to contact me.

  • Friday 28th – Bombed Out Church / Cavern Club Beatles & Donovan at The Royal Court / The Rockits / The Starclubbers
  • Saturday 29th – John Lennon Theatre Show at the Royal Court (including behind the scenes soundcheck images).
  • Sunday 30th – Convention Day / The Clover at the Cavern Club / The Rockits with Mark Husdon.
  • Monday 31st – The Overtures / The Original Quarrymen / ‘The Boys Who Knew The Lads’ with an all star cast, all from The Royal Court Theatre
  • Tuesday 1st – The Rockits in The Cavern Club / Peter Asher

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Road Tripping USA Style

Last Christmas my Wife bought me a T-Shirt that says ‘If I can’t take my camera, I’m not going!’ and she’s pretty much spot on. Especially when it’s the road trip of a lifetime…

Memorial Day weekend marks the annual Abbey Road on the River music festival, hosted in Louisville Kentucky and this year (after a couple of years of jealously seeing other people’s photographs) we made the trip out there.

You can find my pictures from the trip in three galleries: Louisville, Nashville & Memphis

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Never Meet Your Idols

It has been said, “Never meet your idols – you may be disappointed” (or something along those lines). Yesterday I think I may have proved that point;

After a very late night on Friday night, one of those when you get into bed closer to breakfast than supper, and then being up for a 9:30AM appointment, yesterday had the potential to be a back-to-bed day. But with our Son away on a scout camp, we had to make the most of the day and Debs agreed (to my surprise) that we should use our complimentary tickets to The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

One of the first stands I made a beeline for, with Debs trotting behind trying to keep up, was unsurprisingly Nikon to see one of their stars of the show.

Nikon have two new stars on display, the first is the new professional full-frame body the D4S. It’s very nice, but not something I’m really interested in just at the moment. It’s sensor resolution is OK, but still somewhat less than my D800. It’s very fast, but not dramatically faster than my D3. It’s main selling point is it’s cosmically high ISO values and low light performance which would be a great asset, but with a price tag of over £5000 I don’t need to get too interested in it yet.

The other jewel in Nikon’s crown is their retro styled D-SLR, the Nikon Df. This is a great looking 80’s style camera with rotating dials and an authentic 50mm prime lens, and it was that which I went to see and got my hands on yesterday for a quick play.

You may have seen the Nikon Df being featured on The Gadget Show last week, with veteran Photographer Paul Berriff putting it through its paces in Liverpool to photograph today’s live bands in The Cavern Club using similar vintage technology and film.

By moderate coincidence. the reason for Friday’s late night was part work / part pleasure, photographing and supporting some videoing of my very good friends The ROCKiTS on stage during their Friday night residency at the same Cavern Club in Liverpool.  So as well as the state of the art digital technology, I had also put a roll of black & white film through my latest purchase, an original 1969 Nikon F.

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Now in Birmingham with ears still ringing from Mike Beck’s drumming, I got my hands on the Df – and I have to say was just a bit disappointed. It’s a nice enough camera, and it looks quite pretty, but it just doesn’t feel the same as the original Nikon F (the first 35mm SLR to orbit the moon, the camera that saved Don McCullin’s life when it took an AK-47 bullet for him).  The original Nikon F doesn’t have particularly ergonomic grips, but feels right and feels solid, just right. The new Df feels OK and reasonably sturdy, and it’s got a great digital sensor and electronic brain…. but it doesn’t feel right to me. On top of that, it doesn’t have some of the essential pro features like dual memory card slots and it also has a hefty price tag.  Sorry Nikon!

 

In other news, the Photography Show was good. It was great to catch up and chat with our favourite product suppliers and look at some exciting new products. It was great to catch up with master photographer (and another source of inspiration) Damian ‘The Big Dog’ McGillicuddy. We’re still chuckling about one of his put-downs when we met him at a previous show.

The only downside was the way part of the throng seem to think they have to walk round with every bit of kit they own in a rucksack on their back and their biggest lens round their necks. There’s only so many times you want to be clobbered when they turn round and anyway, do they really think they’re going to impress anyone?  Really?

If you’d like to see more of my live music work using both state of the art and vintage technology, or to discuss any aspect of photography which I can support you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Earworms: Blessing or Curse?

Earworms, that phenomenon where a tune gets stuck in your head…  After a weekend photographing at the International Beatles Week hosted by the Cavern Club in Liverpool, I’ve currently got two fabulous tunes doing battle in-between my ears.

At this year’s festival I was booked to photograph longstanding clients The ROCKiTs at four of their booked performances as well as catching some new promotional images. The band having recently gained Chris Hunt as a new lead guitarist and it was great to get to know Chris and wife Kay on and off stage over the weekend. Highlights included photographing the band performing the Beatles Hard Day’s Night Album on the Adelphi Hotel’s Ballroom Stage.

The annual festival attracts guests and bands from all over the world on an annual pilgrimage to Liverpool, home of the Mersey Beat with The Cavern Club at it’s heart. It was great to catch up with the Cavern City Tours team, organisers of the event (and my hosts) as well as many of the bands and die-hard fans who I’ve met in previous years.

Now getting back to the Earworms, in this case an absolute blessing. In my case they are the exciting memories of moments in time, places, people, sights and of course sounds and emotions.

The first Earworm is the result of popping into the Royal Philharmonic Hall to see and photograph some of The Overtures live Cavern Legacy show. I met the guys last year and loved their live show, so made a point of catching up with them this year. Hearing Jamie’s rendition of Rod Stewart’s Handbags and Gladrags was amazing and is still bringing out the goosebumps. I’m fairly gutted I couldn’t see the whole show, but had I done I would have missed out on the second earworm.

A regular guest at International Beatles Week is Mark Hudson, the American record producer famed for his writing and producing with Aerosmith, Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Ringo Star and many others as well as vocal coaching on the X Factor.

Mark caught some of The ROCKiTs Saturday night set and sang an impromptu track with the band which was repeated on Sunday night during their set in The Cavern. Mark said some amazing things about the band and after his own acoustic performance at the Philharmonic on Bank Holiday Monday, Mark made a beeline for The Cavern Pub where the band were performing their penultimate gig.

This time Mark Hudson spent half the set on stage with the guys, opening with an amazing, unique version of The Rolling Stones hit It’s All Over Now – somehow I can’t really think of a better way to round up this particular promo assignment with the guys and I suspect a lot of people from that particular Liverpool pub are now sharing my favourite earworm right now.

I’ll be sifting through my 1,018 images from the weekend and posting some in the Gallery soon, hope you’ll like them. In the meantime I’ll just keep humming to myself and smiling.

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Another Full Weekend

What a great and varied weekend, with a beautiful wedding, police horses and live music!

Friday night gave the chance for a bit of work on a personal project of mine. Facebook fans may have seen the pictures of my newest and oldest camera – a Bronica S2 medium format film camera, which dates back to 1968 (a very good year in my opinion). Friday night gave the perfect chance to photograph my favorite 60’s tribute band The Rockits in that classic 1960’s venue, The Cavern Club, using a 1960’s camera – in black and white of course.

Saturday saw bright sunshine and scorching temperatures to share an amazing wedding day with Tracie & Sean as they tied the knot at Ribby Hall in Kirkham. Despite flood Continue reading

Dipping a toe in the water…

Maybe metaphorically, although the North Wales Coast is as good a place as any to take a bucket and spade to the beach.

Stuart Homer Photography Ltd. is off to the beach, or The Beaches Hotel at least in a couple of weeks for the Daytripper Weekender event, a Beatles convention organised by our friend Glenn Mitchell. We’re going to be, for the first time, offering green-screen portraits on site – dipping a toe in the water as it were.

Daytripper WeekenderGuests will be able to pose for their photographs in front of our green-screen, before some really clever software does it’s stuff and transports them into a virtual reality – maybe The Cavern Club itself where the beatles made their name, maybe alongside the Fab Four on that famous Abbey Road zebra crossing, or on a magazine cover. Click the image to get a quick taster

In addition, I’m also going to be photographing all the live music of the weekend including The Cavernites, The Mersey Beatles, The Beatelles, The Rockits and more. The perfect chance for the bands to extend their image portfolio with some of my live music photographs at a very special rate.

Check out Glenn’s site www.daytripperweekender.com for all the info, and maybe see you there. It’s going to be a Fab weekend!