Here’s Allan’s final set of photos for this restricted year. He’s saved the monochromes until the end this time and we think we can see why.

All but one of these photos were taken before the first lockdown (incidentally, using bodies and lenses that have all been replaced now, if anyone’s interested) and they’re examples of the different reasons for using monochrome processing. I started taking family snaps in the sixties using black and white 120 roll film and I’ve had a bit of a nostalgic soft spot for it ever since (I was way too young to know anything about the culture wars over monochrome/colour played out by the pros – there was just no way I could afford colour film at that time). Moving forward nearly sixty years, I’m enjoying monochrome photography again, this time as an option.

Will Sexton @AMAUK Showcase January 2020

Will Sexton is the musical and marital partner of Amy LaVere and they played as a duo at AMAUK in Hackney this year. One of my usual reasons for monochrome processing is bland stage lighting and that was the case here as well. However, as soon as I flipped from colour, the shot took on a whole new meaning. Will’s stage image took the shot back about sixty years and evoked Ronnie Hawkins and maybe Duane Eddy. From Hackney to Memphis with one toggle:

Roseanne Reid @AMAUK Showcase January 2020

Yep, that Roseanne Reid; daughter of Craig of The Proclaimers and a cracking writer and performer. This wasn’t a question of the monochrome processing as an option, it was a necessity because the lighting was horrendous. It took a bit of time to find the angle where the lighting worked, but it was worth it:

Hope Winter @The Bedford

Oh those happy days at The Bedford when you could wander round the entire venue without a mask and get up really close to the artists with a 35mm lens. There’s a lot of luck involved in this because I happened to be right in front of Hope when she dropped really briefly into this pensive mood with her long hair highlighted and the embroidered jacket picked out perfectly:

Nicole Terry @The Essex Arms Brentwood

This was only a few weeks before lockdown. I was with my mate, fiddle and mandolin player Steve Stott who was seeing Morganway for the first time. I love Morganway; I love the quality of the playing, the songs and the energy. Nicole is a ball of fire on stage so this shot is a bit uncharacteristic, but it shows a contrast with her usual frantic bowing and backing vocals in one of those serene and focussed moments:

Iago Banet @Luna Lounge, Leytonstone

Just a few weeks ago, but it seems much longer now. This was an Acoustic Sanctuary livestream with Foxpalmer from the basement of Luna Lounge (which is a great venue) that I was invited to shoot some stills for. If you get a chance to see Iago solo or with ColorColour, I recommend you take it; you won’t be disappointed. This was one of those gigs that had monochrome stamped all over it from the start. Iago’s fairly mobile on stage and it’s usually just a question of catching the right moment:

Is anyone ready for a few more of Allan’s photos? He hasn’t had the bumper gig year he was expecting but he still managed to get in a few before lockdown, a few over the summer and a few more after lockdown lite. Let’s see what he has to say about this set of images.

From the end of January 2020 it was obvious that 2020 wasn’t going to be a normal year for anyone. I was cramming in as many gigs as I could get pre-lockdown and hoping that post-lockdown might be a bit easier; so much for that. Over the last few years, I’ve done a fair amount of monochrome work, partly because it worked for certain images and partly because of lighting that was a bit meh. At the limited number of gigs I’ve done this year, I’ve had some decent lighting for colour, so here we go:

Tales from the Towpath (1)

Belle Roscoe had an album to promote and very few opportunities of getting punters to gigs so someone had the radical idea of taking the gig to the punters; on a barge. Starting at Hackney Wick and moving north during the afternoon. This was the second time I’ve shot a gig on a barge. The first one was at Kings Cross on a gorgeous summer day; this one wasn’t quite so warm, in mid-October, but the sun was shining. Matty Gurry just looks like a rock star (as does his sister Julia); all you have to do is get the right angle and press the shutter. I suppose the wind-swept look didn’t do any harm either:

Tales from the Towpath (2)

The album Matty and Julia were promoting (and still are) is called “Talking to the Walrus”, so why not have a walrus to help with the promotion. Not a real one obviously, but a very sinister walrus mask. Now, it’s not every day that you get introduced to a walrus, is it? Did you know they speak with an Australian accent? So, a photo of a walrus in a naval jacket? Works for me:

Greenwich Blues & Beer, Eddy Smith

Eddy Smith has a great blues/rock/soul voice and is a cracking keyboards player. He’s also a really good bloke. I’ve photographed him many times, solo and with his band. Eddy creates on particular problem for photographers; he wears a baseball cap which throws a shadow on his face when lit from above. Fortunately at this gig at The Old Joinery in Greenwich he was lit from below and not in full-on blues shouter mode. The soft, warm lighting emphasises the serene mood of the shot:

Greenwich Blues & Beer, Georgia and the Vintage Youth

From the same mini-festival at August Bank Holiday, I had another opportunity to photograph Georgia Crandon. It doesn’t matter how many times you photograph Georgia, you always get something different. The look is never the same for any two gigs and it’s always interesting. Like the previous shot of Eddy, the lighting’s quite soft and portrait-friendly and Georgia’s rose-tinted glasses add the finishing touch. I’ll be photographing Georgia in 2021, absolutely no doubt:

SJ (Morganway)

Two weeks before the first lockdown I met up with my friend, mandolin and fiddle player Steve Stott in Brentwood to introduce him to the Morganway experience. If you haven’t seen or heard Morganway, you really should. If the world returns to something resembling normality in 2021, they should be playing bigger venues and building a massive fanbase. They are the real thing; a live band where everyone plays an important part and they and do the whole lot from unplugged acoustic to no-holds-barred rock. Here’s singer SJ, giving it plenty:

Bit of a bonus, here’s Morganway’s “Hurricane” live:

Morganway – Hurricane [OFFICIAL VIDEO] – YouTube