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.

Do You Do Video?

I get loads of enquiries “do you do video?”.  Normally I concentrate on still photography because that’s what I’m best at.

This week though I’ve been working on a little mini video project for my very good friend Chris Grindrod. Chris is a bass player and it’s not the first time he’s been mentioned here. This time around he’s been recording the bass track on a song as part of an international collaboration with friend Hal Bruce and needed some video footage to send out to Canada.

Many modern DSLRs like my D800 can capture HD video. They definitely aren’t camcorders – they don’t autofocus in the same way, they don’t record for hours and need careful setting up. But when you put a pro lens onto the body, the results are stunning.

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Chris made it easy for me too. We filmed him with just one camera, playing along to the raw music track, and recorded six clips, one after the other. Each clip was from a different camera angle and focus points. I was expecting the edit to be a nightmare, but once I’d lined up the tracks together everything else slipped into place.

I don’t know how he did it (well, I’ve got a good guess), but on each track his timing is millisecond perfect, even though some tracks were filmed several coffees and nearly an hour after others. That made it possible to cut in and out, between any of the tracks seamlessly.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the overall result, once all the artists recordings from across the world have been combined into a single track. I might even splice the final audio mix onto my video for Chris and give it a debut – watch this space!!!

SPACE AID: The Live Music Event That Rocked

SPACE AIStephen Bayliss patron of the SPACE Multisensory Centre Preston, supporting the SPACE AID Live Music Event on Thursday 3rd Jan 2013. Photographed by Stuart Homer Photography Ltd.D was the live music extravaganza which took place on Thursday 3rd January in Preston.  Stuart Homer Photography was delighted to be able to support the full event and assist in raising much needed funds for the SPACE Multisensory Centre in Preston.

The SPACE Centre on Pedders Lane Preston provides a valuable facility used widely by young people and adults with disabilities and special needs. Vital funds are needed to allow modernisation work to be completed and secure the future of the centre.

Cue Steve and Lesley Miller who dreamed up SPACE AID and brought the event to fruition with the generous support of many friends, supporters and professionals.  The event brought two separate live music gigs to the Preston Grasshoppers venue, along with an auction and raffle.

The afternoon saw performances including Panache, Blackheart, magician Jez Mansfield and top of the bill the fantastic Houghton Weavers. The evening event included live sets from Steves’s band Full Signal, Two Men Standing, an amazing as always set from SPACE patron Stephen Bayliss and then a great set to round off the night by very good friends The ROCKiTS.

Through the day I was able to photograph and sell green-screen portraits as well as photographing all the acts. Proceeds from sales, including any future sales are going to support the fundraising effort.

Photographs from the day can be found in my photo gallery – please have a browse and don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to purchase any images or would like any information on my range of products and services.

SPACE AID for Preston

SPACE AID Preston is a live music event taking place on Thursday 3rd January at Preston Grasshoppers RFL Club in Preston. The event is taking place to raise vital funds, needed for SPACE – the Multisensory Centre in Preston.

SPACE AID Preston live music event in aid of SPACE PrestonSPACE fulfils a unique role in helping adults and children with many disabilities and their carers. Funding is needed not only to complete improvements to the centre, but more fundamentally to allow the centre to stay open.

Stuart Homer Photography Ltd. is proud to support the event. We’ll have our studio on site for some fun portraits and will then print your photographs whilst you wait. If you ask them nicely, we’re sure the artists themselves won’t refuse a photograph with you. We’ll also be photographing their sets and will have those photographs to take home too as a reminder of the event.

Artists include the world famous Houghton Weavers, resident Cavern Band and friends The ROCKiTS, another good friend Stephen Bayliss and also Panache, Full Signal and more.

The afternoon starts at 2:00pm and continues into the evening at 7:30pm. Tickets are available for either or both parts of the event from Preston Marina on 01772 733595.

We’re really looking forward to supporting the event and can’t wait to see you there…

Yet more live music photography…?

Live Music Photography – Stuart Homer Photography Ltd. Brian ‘Boots’ Jones of The Undertakers joins The ROCKiTS and Gary Gibson at the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic

I know this page seems to be more and more focussed on live music photography, rather than representing the full spectrum of work I undertake. It isn’t intentional, it’s just that the music photography is so much FUN.

This week I’ve been working with the Cavern City Tours team to photograph key highlights of International Beatles Week. The event sees bands from all over the world gathering in the Merseybeat city, this year with the added bonus of the 50th Anniversary of Ringo joining the Fab Four.

Friday night gave the chance to photograph good friends and Cavern resident bands The Rockits and The slightly prettier Beatelles in The Cavern Club and also The Adelphi Hotel. Saturday brought the opportunity to work in the magnificent Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Hall, celebrating John Lennon’s Birthday by photographing tributes by Gary Gibson, The Rockits, The Cavern Beatles, Paul Kappa and Jon Keats.

Monday’s bad weather led to the cancellation of The Matthew Street Festival and lots of rescheduling for the bands expecting to play the outdoor stages. Every cloud has a silver lining, in the shape of the opportunity to work with The Overtures, catching some of the enthusiasm and energy of their performance in The Adelphi Hotel’s main stage.

Then it was back to the Philharmonic for the main event, with the Brazilian orchestra Ouro Preto, The Cavern Beatles and Pepperland. Finally for the night a quick taxi ride back to The Adelphi to photograph The Searchers on stage. I always make a point of introducing myself and explaining what I’d like to do – and what a genuinely tremendous bunch of gentlemen. I ended up on stage, photographing The Searchers with the 1968 Bronica… what a night.

Today brings Gerry Marsden in the The Cavern, my last assignment of the weekend… Bring it on!