2014 - What a year!

Well 2014 came and went so fast. This blog post of some of my favourite shots of the year is as much a celebration of what I've managed to achieve this year and really set a benchmark for 2015. Enjoy the stories and photos, and thanks for all the support.  I'm so looking forward to what 2015 holds in store for me!

GOD DAMN - LABEL PORTRAIT SESSION - 197 STUDIOS - BIRMINGHAM.

So 2014 was the beginning of my first full year as a Full Time Freelance Photographer. Yes I was scared but to be honest I was more excited than I've ever been. I'd known Thom & Ash for a while and wanted to shoot some portraits with them for even longer. We got together in Feb to shoot their new press shots as they had been just signed to One Little Indian Records.  This was a pretty big deal as I wanted to impress the label.  The lads have literally made huge waves this year, toured the country a few times, toured with some great bands including Pulled Apart by Horses, Turbowolf & Slaves. They are going to have a fantastic year so keep an eye out for them and their debut album which will knock your socks off, that or make your ears bleed (in a good way ; )

GEORGE EZRA - EDITORIAL PORTRAIT SESSION - BRUM NOTES - THE VILLAGE - MOSELEY.

I started off the year with quite a few portrait sessions.  I'd heard a lot about George and found out that I had a mutual friend with his former tour manager. So I sent a few emails out and organised the shoot.  My mate Jon interviewed/chatted to George for around an hour pre-gig, by the end it seemed like we had known him for ages. The shoot went really well and I've since photographed George on numerous occasions including Berlin whilst I was there for my birthday, which was pretty special. My girlfriend had booked an amazing hotel called SOHO HOUSE, which I highly recommend, and George's performance really topped of an awesome trip.

CHILDHOOD - NME MAGAZINE - SPANKY VAN DYKES - NOTTINGHAM.

In April I was commissioned by NME Magazine to head over and shoot Childhood on Recordstore Day. I headed over early and caught up with them after their sound check, we had a couple of hours before the gig to get some portraits down. The venue had a really great interior with a bar/restaurant also inside with Nik-Naks from everywhere which gave the bar an American feel. I'd spotted one of the areas I wanted to use, but as the restaurant was pretty full we had to get the area reserved off for a few minutes to shoot.  Everything came together really well as I wanted to use as much of the ambient light as possible from the display case behind the lads. Had a great afternoon/night with the band and their debut album is a great lazy summer listen, another band who will definitely be one to look out for more of in 2015.

COURTNEY BARNETT - THE ZANZIBAR - LIVERPOOL SOUNDCITY.

I pitched myself to a few festivals in the early part of the year and managed to get myself a pass to shoot the whole festival.  It was a real blast and met some great people. I managed to shoot 19 bands in the three days which was pretty exhausting even though most of the venue's were in close proximity. The Courtney Barnett set really stood out as a highlight, as soon as I stepped into the venue I knew it was going to go off! I had to force my way down to the front to get a decent shooting position. The venue was rammed and Courtney's set sent everyone nuts, pretty good for a girl who hasn't been known that long. Again another terrific debut album, becoming a bit of a habit this. The festival organisers were really impressed with my work and I'm happy to say that I'll be joining the official photography team this year.  They have huge plans to take the festival to the docklands which will really help with the regeneration project, and have already announced two massive headliners including The Flaming Lips & Belle & Sebastian. The festival is going from strength to strength and I can't wait to be a part of it.

THE LIBERTINES  - BARROWLANDS - GLASGOW.

It got to around the middle of the year and I was really up for festival season. NME had asked me to keep the Glastonbury weekend free, so I had my fingers crossed. They had something else in mind though, and when I got the call I couldn't believe it. They only wanted to send me up to Glasgow to shoot The Libertines two re-union shows at the Barrowlands (one of, if not my favourite venue in the UK) The two nights were just a whirlwind, everything I expected and a load more! I managed to share the pit with Andy Willsher (NME Legend) who was filming on behalf of Roger Sergents (NME Legend) team. I'd managed to meet Roger pre-gig as we all share a taxi over from the hotel, such a fantastic bloke who gave me some great advice when I won the NME Photography Award in 2012, he won the Outstanding Contribution to Music Photography the same year. So to meet him again and chat was awesome. This shot was the lead double page for the feature which was over four pages, to have my name on a byline with Roger's capped off an amazing weekend which I'll never forget. More photos from the two shows can be found here http://www.nme.com/photos/the-libertines-epic-return-their-raucous-glasgow-comeback-show-in-photos/342522/1/1#1

RADKEY - ESQUIRES - BEDFORD.

I photographed Radkey earlier back in Feb, got along really well with them and was commissioned by their management company to shoot a couple of their UK shows. I headed down to Bedford and met up with the three brothers and had a great catch up. The gig was pretty special and they really know how to put on a performance which has gained them quite a reputation, especially Isiah who loves to literally throw himself around the stage. I showed the office the shots after the gig and consequently got my first live Double page for NME, which was pretty epic, that only didn;t make this blog because if I hadn't of shot the Bedfors date I consequently wouldn't have been able to pitch the Liverpool date to the magazine. I'm really looking forward to seeing and shooting the band more when they come back over the pond.

THE LIBERTINES - HYDE PARK - LONDON.

Zoe at the office at NME was so happy with what I managed to shoot over the weekend of the Libertines shows at Barrowlands she gave me first refusal to shoot their massive Hyde Park show.  I accepted straight away obviously ; ) We only had two songs in the pit as there was huge issues with security and safety, there were huge surges of people coming over the top into the photo pit, which was already pretty full with security and around 30+ photographers.  I managed to shoot the rest of the show from whatever angle/viewpoint I could get after the 'first three' and noticed two towers which had great vantage points, so I managed to blag myself up one of them, only to find out it was a VIP Champagne bar haha, professional as ever I just used it to get some shots from, including shots of the crowd climbing over barriers, running past security staff, fans climbing the sound towers, flares. A gallery of more shots can be found here. http://www.nme.com/photos/the-libertines-triumphant-hyde-park-comeback-in-10-glorious-photos/343161/1/1

This shot was also gifted to The Libertines by their agents. Pretty cool to think each member has one of my photos.

SZIGET FESTIVAL - BUDAPEST - HUNGARY.

August came around and I was sent on my first international commission for NME. The week long festival was a fantastic experience and one that I will never forget. The combination of such a beautiful city  with one of the most diverse festivals I've been to was breath taking. We met some great people who were part of our press trip, photographers and writers from all over the world, many of whom I've stayed in contact with. The whole organisation of the trip by the Hungarian tourist board was brilliant, every little detail was covered. Throughout the week we did manage to get a little downtime and sampled local food, drink & nightlife. To pick only three from this trip was extremely tough, I have a big gallery on my site where you'll be able to see a lot more, here http://www.andyhughesphotography.co.uk/recent/

I only had  5/10 minutes with Elly Jackson to get a couple of portraits just before she went on stage, really lovely girl.

I only had  5/10 minutes with Elly Jackson to get a couple of portraits just before she went on stage, really lovely girl.

Being on-stage to shoot The Manic Street Preachers was a pinch yourself moment, a 13 yr old me would of never of dreamed I'd ever be in that position.

Being on-stage to shoot The Manic Street Preachers was a pinch yourself moment, a 13 yr old me would of never of dreamed I'd ever be in that position.

Calvin Harris drew the week long festival to a close along with 10,000 people armed with glowsticks, a visual feast.  Myself and the press organiser had to run from the A38 stage where La Roux was performing, run underneath the main stage dodging the cannons and then up to the front of house, was pretty worth it, managed to say thankyou to the festival organiser to on behalf of NME.

Calvin Harris drew the week long festival to a close along with 10,000 people armed with glowsticks, a visual feast.  Myself and the press organiser had to run from the A38 stage where La Roux was performing, run underneath the main stage dodging the cannons and then up to the front of house, was pretty worth it, managed to say thankyou to the festival organiser to on behalf of NME.

MORRISSEY - 02 ARENA - LONDON.

I really never thought I'd get the privilege to photograph Morrissey so when I got the call from NME I was pretty excited. I hadn't shot at the 02 before either, not even been there when it was the Millennium Dome back in the day.  Hearing about his cancer treatments pre gig was pretty shocking as we all know he likes to keep himself to himself, this was his only UK performance of the year.  He had already cancelled numerous shows on the tour so I was a bit anxious and really hoping that the gig would go ahead, it did and he was terrific.  It that is to be his last ever show in this country, I'm very happy to have photographed it.

SLAVES - SLADE ROOMS - WOLVERHAMPTON.

The year ended with a bang, I was due to shoot the Liverpool date of the gig, but due to illness in the Slaves camp it was postponed, just a 3 hour round trip for dinner at the Shipping Forecast and to see Thom & Ash from God Damn for ten minutes. Fortunately Laurie was back fighting fit and we managed to cover the Wolves date of the tour, this shot isn't the one chosen for the double page, but is far one of my favourite shots of the year, and a great way to end it. They really are one's to watch out for this year, and like them on fb even if its just to read their posts occasionally, their humour is something else.