Here’s another set of photos from Allan and he’s been putting a bit of effort in on his themes. None of the usual male or female artists, black and white or monochrome, he’s been a bit more creative with his categories. You have to keep the mind occupied when you’re getting on a bit.

If I’m working really close to an artist (and I usually am), then I’ll often set the focus point on the camera on one of the eyes. The old saying, attributed to many people over the years that the eyes are the window of the soul is particularly true of performers; you can feel the intensity lasering towards you. There are many singers who close their eyes while singing; you won’t find them in this set of photos.


I like HUX a lot. He’s a great singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice and he’s become a great collaborator as well. I saw him a few times as a solo performer who could stop audiences in their tracks, then as a harmony vocalist with Say Anise (yeah, it’s a small world) and then also playing bass with Say Anise as well as singing harmonies. As well as all of this, he has an incredibly striking visual presence:

Dan Shears (The Velveteen Orkestra)

I’ve worked a lot with Dan since shooting him at a John Lennon birthday tribute at the Hard Rock Hotel in Marble Arch. The Velveteen Orkestra is his project with long-term collaborator Sarah Boughton and a revolving cast of supporting musicians creating a unique blend of music that has been described “a ragged-trousered rock and roll orchestra” although there are elements of Eastern European music and louche 1930s Weimar cabaret in there as well. Dan’s a really engaging guy with an earthy sense of humour which breaks out on stage between songs as a contrast to the intensity of his performance. This is one of the intense bits:

Ernie McKone (bass player with Matt Johnson from Jamiroquai)

There’s not a lot to say about this shot. Ernie’s a great bass player and the lighting in The Jazz Café was challenging. When I finally found a break in the tsunami of hazer, I saw Ernie looking directly at me. One shutter press and done. The blue lighting gives it a kind of jazz feel. And, apologies to Matt Johnson, but this was by far the best shot I got on the night:

Kiara Chettri

This was the second time I had seen Kiara and the first time with her full band. She can belt out rockers with the best of them but she also excels on the slower, more challenging songs. In this shot, taken downstairs at 229 The Venue, she’s looking towards her incredible guitar player Kiuzano in one of those band interactions that you manage to capture sometimes:

Lisa Canny

What can I say about Lisa Canny? She’s non-stop, she’s funny, she has a fabulous voice, she plays harp and banjo to an incredibly high standard and she’s completely committed to her musical vision of blending traditional Irish music with more progressive elements like pop and rap. It hasn’t always made her popular on the traditional Irish scene but that’s not going to stop her; she’s a woman on a mission. I’ve shot Lisa loads of times and I always get something different and it’s always intense. This was shot at The Dublin Castle in Camden:

Every year we invite Allan to share some of his gig photos from the year and then wait to see how he decides to categorises them. He also likes to give some background for the shots as well, whether it’s about the artists, technical photo stuff or having a bit of a whinge about the lighting at the venue. Let’s see what happens this time.

After a few years of pointing cameras at people on various stages around the UK, as well as meeting and working with lots of new people, you find yourself working with artists that you build a relationship with over time. It can be an interesting challenge making different images with the same person over a period of time and, I say this way too often, but I like a challenge. These are all shots of artists that have featured in previous High Fives. And actually, the lighting was pretty good in all of these venues.

Amy Taylor

It’s less than two years since I first saw Amy Taylor playing at a So Live Sessions showcase in Dalston. I see a lot of live music and it’s very rare that I see anything that’s bad, but it’s equally rare that I see anyone who completely blows me away; Amy was one of those people. She’s a gifted songwriter and a superb performer, supporting her powerhouse voice with either piano or guitar backing. I shot Amy many times during 2022 before she started to vocal cord problems in the autumn of that year. It’s been a long haul, but she finally started to perform live again in June 2023. I think she probably only gave it 97% but she sounded great and she’s still getting better.

Barbara ‘Basia’ Bartz

I first met Basia as part of Dana Immanuel and the Stolen Band when they played at my birthday party in 2017. I’ve shot the band many times since then and in many different locations. I’ve also shot Basia solo and working with other bands. There’s something about the shape that violinists make when they play that just works photographically and Basia’s quite a physical performer so something good usually happens the camera points in her direction. This shot was from a sold-out Dana Immanuel gig at Green Note in January 2023.

Si Connelly

It’s only a couple of years since I first shot Si Connelly and since that time, I’ve tried to shoot as many of his gigs in London as possible. This one was completely unplanned; I went a Success Express gig at The Pheasantry and saw Si, who was up in town celebrating his birthday. Of course, he did a cameo support set and of course I shot it. It was an obvious monochrome shot because he looked a bit fifties on the night, maybe even just a little bit Elvis. Anyway it worked for me and Si liked it as well, which is always nice to hear.

Say Anise

I first met Emily (who is Say Anise, or part of Say Anise now) at a Caffe Nero event in Brighton. We kept bumping into each other at gigs and then I started making an effort to get to gigs where I knew she was playing. One of the reasons I like Emily is that she will always do something a bit different;  a look, a movement or an interaction with one of the band members. I first saw Emily solo, then working with long-term collaborator Easymess, then as trio with HUX on backing vocals and then on electric bass as well. I didn’t try to correct for the lighting in this shot because it gave the shot a Miles Davis ‘Kind of Blue’ feel.


Sometimes you get on with someone straight away they’re a genuinely nice person. KAT’s one of those people. We’ve worked together on various things as she’s progressed through her musical career, including gigs and behind-the-scenes shoots on her video productions. Like Say Anise, she’s also worked her way through various musical incarnations from acoustic duo to full rock band. Her songs are powerful explorations of issues like physical domestic violence and gaslighting and she puts everything into her live performances. This shot’s from her debut appearance with her new band at the legendary rock venue, The Fiddler’s Elbow.