Friday, April 28, 2006

Charging Top Dollar

Last night was mad, I had to go to photograph a little old lady who had knitted 200 little teddy bears for Charriddy. She was Eighty four years old. So I had her sat on her settee surrounded by these Teddy bears she'd knitted. So why me?
I said "Does she have a spotlight above her head and a low slung Gibson?"
"er... no."
"So why me?"
"There's no one else."
I maintained composure and my demeanour and did the job. Then consoled myself by going to look for Orchids in the deep dark forest. I found them. Here's one of them.
Then it was off to the Solstice for The Battle of the Bands Final. It hadn't started. So I went across town to Unity to photograph Irene Rae, I was there four minutes when the mobile went, it was my signal to high tail it back across town to The Solstice to shoot the first band. Blatted off a few shots and headed back to Unity for the End of Irenes set and the Beginning of the next Sacred heart, two songs in and the mobile went again, this time it was "The gangsters" on stage with a seven piece funk ska reggae band. Back to Unity for "Fake Exterior" a three piece heavy metal band, then back to The Solstice for the final band "The Revenue" youngsters who could have come from the same stable as The Rifles, The Upper Room, Milburn and a few others. Finally back to Unity.
During all this some guy from the BBC came to see me to talk about my photography. He wants to use my pics for the official BBC website. Hmmm so now I'm endorsed by the Evening Telegraph and The BBC. Not bad in just six months.
I spoke to a friend of mine the other day, he's doing very well at his photography. I asked him how come he's managing to earn so much money?
"You've got to find yourself a niche. Then exploit the fuck out of it before anyone else catches on."
"Oh and what's your niche?"
"Fetishists. I take photos of them in their chains and rubber suits and clip ons and costumes and piercings, then charge top dollar for a VERY discrete service."
"Fair enough"
"No I don't do gay. Fairy Stuff indeed."
I wonder if Del wants me to teach him photography.

Rock on mes enfants Posted by Picasa

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pasque Flower

It's the weirdest feeling. A girl I was shagging 27 years ago steps back into my life. We were, at the time, shagging like bunnies. She was great fun, she smelt of baby sick all the time, she was a nanny in London. Then yesterday she walked through my door. It was the same girl but now older, fatter, more lined, matronly. I looked at her with my 20 year old eyes, forgetting that I am, myself, 27 years older. She breezed in like a breath of fresh air. Gone was the acrimonious split we went through, for reasons I'm not going to go into now, instead she was chatting away nineteen to the dozen in her official nanny way, very practical, humourous and down to earth. God she's an earth mother. But she kept her distance. I couldn't keep my eyes off her. Not in any sexual frenzied way you understand, but in a searching way, looking for the incredibly cute young nanny I used to shag. She had the same hair cut, a bob but now with just the hint of a few grey hairs. I've got loads. While she talked, non stop, I searched her face for clues, the mouth was the same, her eyes sparkled just the same. I wanted to feel something for her. I was desperate to feel that excitement I had whenever I was with her just once more. But there was nothing. I felt awkward. She shouldn't be here. She was part of my life many years ago, but that's over now. We had a great time, a very special time and I will never forget it.But now? She left twenty minutes later. We stood in the car park next to her car. I wasn't sure if I should kiss her hug her or what. In the end she kissed me. I wasn't expecting it and we missed. It was a sort of "you had your chance for a kiss matey, you blew it" sort of moment. She got in her car and went. I'm not sure why she chose this day to come and see me and I don't know why she did.
Todays picture is of a Pasque Flower. It's very rare. You wont see one of these unless you know where to look. So I'll tell you. It's at "Hills and Holes" Barnack. North of Peterborough and South of Stamford.

Del is in a good mood tonight. Arsenal are in the finals of the European cup. To celebrate we got out the guitars and played a load of Pink Floyd and Neil Diamond numbers.

But, before that I went to see my boy Jamie in a school play. I turned up expecting to sit through an hour and a half of excruciating embarrassment. But you know what it was fabulous. These kids put on a show that was brilliant. I was spell bound. Not just with my boy but with all the other young actors. They played an abridged version of "Barefoot in the park". You know when a play is good when you actually believe what's going on. They are not just mouthing off the words. Jamie played the eccentric foreigner/womaniser brilliantly. So well in fact that I forgot he was my son. I was so captivated. It would have been a perfect night if when we got him home he hadn't forgotten his key to get in his house. So we're standing on the doorstep with all his costume and props and no key. His mother was out taking an exam and we didn't know when she'd be back. Anger? You don't know the half of it. But I remained calm despite everything and took him to his grandmothers.

My ex phoned me later, she didn't know I'd picked up the phone and she was telling someone "I Knew something was going to happen. I'm really in trouble now."
"Hello."
"Mikel is going to do his nut...."
"hello I'm here."
"I'm going to get the blame for this one."
"Hello put the phone to your ear."
"...The very day I have to take an exam and I can't be there...."
"For chrissakes you phoned me just check your phone..."
"He wont understand."
"Vikki I'm here listening, talk to me."
"Oh hello."

Rock on dudes

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rock and flowers

Another day out in the country and this time I found this (and many others) Pasque Flower. It's very rare. I'm thinking of doing a sister site to this called "Mike Da Hats Botanical Year". It will be a Month by month account of the wild flowers I find on my travels. There'll be no sex or violence, no underhand dealings. Just a botanical record throughout the year of things as they happen. I know it's not rock and roll, but I have enough of that. This is what keeps me grounded. I was a judge today for Heat 6 of Band Of The Year. You can see what happened here I must confess while I was judging and taking the photos I had to have ear plugs in. Is that cheating? I mean, I'm so close to the speakers and some of these bands turn the volume up to eleven. Why do they think that maximum volume equates to maximum pleasure? Death Metal makes me laugh as well as makes my ears hurt. They announce the title of a song, "This ones called "Bury my sister".' You can not discern one single word they "sing". So what's the point? They may as well just say "This is another wall of noise we're going to throw at you." whilst getting their heads down and thrashing away at their Gibson or Fender copies. So while I have to cope with all this wall of noise it's nice to just get out and look at flowers.
My good friend Mark mentioned recently that my photographic output was awesome. Well for his information I just passed the 7100 photos since last November. But while I take so many, his "few" are considered and quite something.

I was thinking today what my cameras life would have been like if it had been bought by someone else. Is this Anthropormorphism? Would the person who bought my camera (if I didn't) give it such a hard time? Would they have made it work so hard? Or would they just take the odd snap of the kids playing in the sand? Would it have been bought by someone who would have wasted it's potential? Or someone who would have done much better than me?

Rock on dudes Posted by Picasa

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Saturday, April 22, 2006

God! I've been tagged

Well I've been tagged by Cherrypie. Should I thank her or not?
Six random things about myself huh?

1. I once hand rolled a canoe whilst holding a pint of beer and not spilling it in a demonstration for Princess Anne. (I almost threw up in the swimming pool, after, in an further act of bravado, I downed the pint in one.)

2. My girlfriends father ran me off their farm at shotgun point. (I was innocent of course)

3. I once won first prize in the Countrylife short story competition.

4. I can not stand being sticky, my worst nightmare is a child running at me with sticky fingers. Funnily enough when the kids were small I could cope with poo, vomit and any other such nastiness, but any sign of sticky and I'd run.

5. I was once summoned to the Headmasters Office for organising Athiest Prayer Group meetings. (The Christians complained that I was taking the piss out of them.)

6. I once chipped a tooth while jumping on a table at a Mott The Hoople gig and fell off. I spoke to David Bowie for ten minutes back stage without realising who I was talking to. (It was dark)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bay Tree Nurseries

I have this master plan which involves me selling photos of flowers in a flower shop. To this end I took a road trip to Bay Tree Nurseries on Sunday. I figured the best flowers would be at a garden centre. It was shut. So I parked up the car outside and took a trip round the car park with my camera. This is one of my efforts. I think I should have mounted my camera on a mini tripod. Whatever it's not a bad image. Pity the sky isn't blue though. Now if you want to see some seriously good photos you'd do a lot worse than to go HERE It's my friend Mark Gammons website. I bow to his superior technical ability. Is that enough of a plug Mark? The first round is on you.

Meanwhile the owner of the nightclub where I took the photos last week came to see me to check out the results. He's impressed and has contracted me to continue doing the same thing. Meanwhile a city centre theme bar has asked me to photo shoot an all day music event, I spend an hour (or less) taking pics rush home put them all on a CD and return to the pub where they'll project the photos onto a giant screen. It should be fun.

Meanwhile Del, my best friend, is working on a presentation involving Freud and child sexual development. Life doesn't get much better. Well of course it can but you know what I'm saying...

Rock on dudes Posted by Picasa

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Limit

I was hired to photograph at a night club here is
Peterborough. I got there at midnight. The "smoke" threw my Canon a wobbly at first. It couldn't focus on anything. But things settled down and I was able to take a good few great photos. Even if I have to say so myself. The singers on stage were something else. Very nice girls. Jesus H Christ I love being a photographer.

Rock on dudes Posted by Picasa

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Life and death

OK this isn't the usual photo you'd expect from me. But this is life (or death). It's stuff I find on my travels around, going places 99% of people don't even know about. I know it's sad. It's not cute. But then life isn't all sweetness and loveliness. Sometimes it's harsh. We're cocooned in our protected modern life. Almost immune from the realities. Our world is Toy Town in comparison to what it could be.
...and then just 20 paces from this terrible scene I find this.
It's an Early Spotted Orchid. Not yet in flower. New life, new hope. Beauty in the face of death.

Yesterday while taking photos for the paper of the Battle Of The Bands this guy came up to me.
"I've seen your website. How dare you say those things about my son?"
"What was that?"
"That he shouldn't be in the business if he's too shy to not stand with his back to the crowd."
"Well it's true." I wasn't going to apologise.
"But he's only fifteen. What sort of effect do you think this negative comment will have on him?"
"It'll be a wake up call then."
"you can't say that. He's only fifteen and just starting, he needs to be encouraged not ripped apart."
"Look if I don't tell him someone else will. For everyone who thinks they can make it there's another hundred more than ready to step into their shoes. It's a tough business. The name of the game is entertainment, not hiding behind speakers and playing the shrinking violet."

Tonight at the pub, Del had another take on this, and cited a shit load of artists that are reticent about publicity. But I maintain my comment was valid as a general rule. Obviously he has a point but the point is these artists are the exception not the rule. They are special cases.

Suffice it to say, half an hour later the guy was asking me how much I would charge to take photos of his son at his next live gig. I got the job.

Today I discovered that a band I took photos of just a few weeks ago "Milburn" are going on tour supporting "The Arctic Monkeys". Rachel was very interested in that. I'm not sure what her angle is. But it seems it might be a money making opportunity. For both of us. That suits me. She's phoning me tomorrow with her plans. I'll let you know.

Rock on dudes Posted by Picasa

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Monday, April 10, 2006

Getting There


You never know where life is going to take you. I started on my journey as a photographer just six months ago. OK I've been taking photos since I was seven and had my own darkroom at the age of fourteen. But it's only been the last six months that I've consciously tried to do something with it, become professional. To that end I've paid my dues, I've taken the baby steps, I've taken five and a half thousand photos since last November, I've worked for nothing, done favours.
Finally things seems to be happening. I am being taken seriously. My pictures are in the local paper every week. Bands admit to agreeing to play Unity just for the photoshoot. I'm charging the bands for the photos now. I've got a contract with a flower shop for them to sell my flower pictures.
..and now, we're working on going national. When I do stuff for the local paper I work with a girl called Rachel who is lovely. She is one of their senior reporters. She has the contacts, the knowledge, the inside info. I spoke with her today at "The Battle of the Bands" She's agreed to work with me. I do the photos, she does the words and we hit the New Musical Express and any other national publication we can think of. An extra paycheck in the back pocket will do neither of us any harm.
It's all part of my master plan.

Rock on dudes

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Nightclub


I get out the car and walk across the car park of the Botolph Arms. This guys looks up and calls me over. "Mr Da Hat" he says shaking my hand, "How's about you come down to my night club to take some pictures. I'll buy you a drink and pay you."
"Sounds good."
"Next Thursday then at 'The Limit'?"
It's a done deal.
I had the biggest compliment for a long time the other night. The lead singer of a band playing at Unity came up to me and said "I love your website. It's fantastic. Great pictures."
"Thanks a lot." I said as humbly as I could, which wasn't very humble.
"Yeah actually one of the main reasons for playing this gig was to get some decent photos taken of our band." he said.
So it seems word is getting round that playing at Unity is a guaranteed photoshoot for the bands, and God knows some of these bands need some decent photos on their websites. I often check out band websites and the photos they use are appalling. It's my one man mission to raise the standard. The picture above is the lead guitarist of heavy rock band "Pure."

Rock on dudes

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|

Monday, April 03, 2006

Firends I have a Problem


Friends I have a problem. Today I was asked by a computer games company to supply some photographs to use as a template for a possible forthcoming computer game.
"No problem." I said, "What sort of images do you want?" You see us professionals call photos "images".
"We want you to give us photos of a teenage boys bedroom. It's got to be quite big with lot's of space on the walls and the usual bedroom furniture. We can't use a box room for instance."
"That sounds easy enough."
"You'll do it?" I didn't notice at first the urgency in the voice on the other end of the line.
"Sure no problemo."
"Great. Get back to us A.S.A.P."
"OK"
I took a few contact details and hung up, feeling quite pleased I'd been chosen for such a prestigious job. It wasn't until later in the pub talking to Del and the Quinn brothers that I realised I had been handed the poison chalice that no one else wanted. How does a 47 year old photographer get into a teenage boys bedroom with a camera and not end up on a police list? It doesn't look good. In fact it looks pretty damned bad. Now I'm wondering how many other photographers they phoned before me before they found the mug (me) to agree to do it. Virtually everyone in the book I guess. So now I have a dilemma do I back out or grit my teeth and get the job done?

ON the bright side I'm in negotiations with Sony EMI to do an Album cover for them. They love my pics (Sometimes we don't say "images")and they will pay me mega bucks. Actually £450. That's a shit load for me. But then I aint David Bailey.

More on the bright side I've been commissioned to produce an album cover for a live album, except I don't know which band it's for yet. So if both come off that will be 3 album covers I've done.

Meanwhile I am now working for the local Evening newspaper as a photographer. The pay is shite. But the fringe benefits brilliant. Money is starting to come in as I work for the Evening Telegraph and do stuff on the side.

Rock on dudes.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Show some love... comment below.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|