Posted on February 6, 2014
A while ago I read an article about how talent alone wasn’t enough to guarantee success in the music industry. To make it big, an artist also needs a whole bag of tricks which include charisma, drive, stage presence and the ability to be in the right place at the right time. Well, singer/songwriter, Matt Creer, has all of the above. I don’t do music reviews, I don’t know enough to sound even remotely knowledgeable, but I’ve heard Matt, seen him live, and he’s good, very good. What I do know is that he looks good and he looks comfortable on stage, like he was born to be there. He also looks fantastic in front of the camera.
I did these promo’ shots with Matt this week, it was an uncomplicated and enjoyable shoot, we got everything we wanted in less than an hour…which is good, because the temperature was down to about 3 degrees! Matt turned-up wearing a down jacket and a wooly hat, but as soon as they came off he looked as though we could be in California – total professional!
Former student of the Royal College of Music, London, Matt Creer has established himself as an exciting voice on the UK music scene. The Manx singer songwriter is steadily gaining supporters all over the world and recently attracted the attention of the American TV and film industry. His finger style guitar and rich vocal harmonies are reminiscent of artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and The Civil Wars. His first album “Lanterns” (2011) was a self-produced, self released record. The title track has become a firm favourite with all who hear Matt’s music and enjoys frequent radio play. Matt’s EP “Islands” (2013) has been received with even greater enthusiasm. In November 2013 his song “Don’t Let Me Go” which was co-written and performed with singer Katherine Crowe, reached number 5 in the UK iTunes Singer Songwriter Chart. Matt’s eagerly anticipated second full length album will be available later this year.
A regular performer in the UK and further afield, Matt has performed with respected artists such as Paul Carrack (Mike and the Mechanics), Beverly Craven, Chris T-T, Garrison Starr (LA), Bess Rogers (NYC), Alex Berger (NYC) Richard Walters, O’Hooley and Tidow and Jess Morgan (UK). He has also completed two solo headline tours of the UK and is one of a growing number of independent artists pioneering the UK house concert movement.
Posted on January 19, 2014
I’ve been working on some promotional shots with singer/song writer, Mae Challis, for the past few weeks, both in the studio and on location. I don’t enjoy shooting in the studio, to be honest, which is why I rarely do it, my default is always to shoot outside whenever possible. We had to cancel a couple of planned location shoots due to heavy rain, but we finally got a break in the weather, literally a 4 hour gap between showers, and got these shots, which I really love.
Make-up by the very talented, Kimberley Berridge.
‘Despite her tender years, Mae Challis is destined to become one of the leading lights of the vast array of exceptional and diverse musical talents currently being unearthed and nurtured here on our own Island’s doorstep. Along with her powerful vocal prowess Mae can also include a remarkable instrumental ability, charismatic stage presence and a song-writing gift that is just waiting to be released to the unsuspecting World!
Born in Sittingbourne, Kent on 6th May 1998, Mae moved to the Isle of Man at the age of 7, already a precocious singer and guitar player. She later added keyboards and drums to her musical capabilities and hasn’t called time on discovering possibly more latent talent. Listening to and drawing influence from an eclectic mix of artists, such as Queen, Oasis, KT Tunstall and Joni Mitchell to more contemporary performers like Hurts, Coldplay, Train, James Morrison, Skrillex, Bruno Mars and Emeli Sande’
Posted on July 11, 2013
“Poison Hearts are the egocentric yearnings for the glory days of sleazy, dirty, balls to the wall Punk Rock and Fucking Roll.
Taking inspiration from the New York Dolls, tipping a hat to Social Distortion, whilst having a street fight with the Sex Pistols, Poison Hearts will take you to a party where you either won’t want to leave or you might just forget how you got there”
This isn’t the first time I’ve worked with Poison Hearts and although their line-up has changed slightly over the years, their attitude has not – Punk Rock at it’s finest.
I like to keep things simple when I’m photographing bands, especially when there’s a few of them – no gimmicks, no props and simple locations (musicians still ask me to photograph them on railway tracks with their guitar slung over their shoulder like it’s never been done before, ever…)
For this shoot I used a mix of film (Leica R6/50mm/Kodak Tri-X) and digital (Fuji X-Pro1/35mm)
Posted on June 10, 2013
“Heralding from the majestic Nordic seas to the murkier British waters, The Wretched Pearls is an explosion of genre-bending artistry consisting of four good-looking women folk and two strapping lads. Leaping and dancing around on stage in extravagant white garments, they command the crowd with their epic sounds and infectious energy.
Through their overwhelming waves of emotion, The Wretched Pearls will take you from the depths of sadness to the highs of euphoria while forcing you into a state of awesome-induced movement.
Prepare to dance.”
That’s The Wretched Pearls biography, I don’t know enough about music to write a proper review, but I know what I like, and I love The Wretched pearls.
The Wretched Pearls have just been on the Isle of Man for the TT festival and performed a fairly impressive ten gigs over a week, but still managed to shoot a music video and get a couple of portrait sessions in with me. Musicians are normally inherently difficult, but this band, all six of them, were a pleasure to work with – “I’m going to put you all in a giant paddling pool, fully clothed”….”Yeah! No problem!”
Posted on March 16, 2013
I’ve never been particularly musical, I wish I was, but I just don’t get it. Some people don’t understand apertures and ISO’s, I don’t understand cords and notes. Many people have tried to teach me, all have failed.
I do like the music scene though, but how can you get involved if you’re tone-deaf? Take photos! I’ve been involved in music photography for a few years now, I’ve photographed the odd famous musician and a lot of not so famous musicians, but every single one of them has been a pleasure to be involved in.
I know that I’m a bit of a film fascist, but I must admit that the majority of the images here were made using digital equipment, Canon EOS 5D mk2 mostly. A lot of promotional shots (such as the clown, which was going to be used as an album cover, but the musician in question wants something ‘more controversial’…) do have quite a bit work done in Photo Shop, so it makes more sense to work with digital media from the outset. If I’m shooting straight portraits, like the one of Tim Burgess, I’ll use film, normally medium format. For live music I always shoot digital…although, having said that, I did shoot a Strypes gig a few weeks ago using a 35mm Nikon SLR.
Posted on December 23, 2012
Posted on August 5, 2012
I took a few cameras to Mannifest music festival with me, all analogue, the only digital camera I had with me was my iPhone. I shot quite a few portraits on medium format, mostly black and white. I’ve been shooting quite a bit on Fuji Instax instant film recently, so I packed the camera and 5 packs of film, that’s 100 sheets of film. There was no way I was going to shoot 100 sheets of film, was there? Between 11am and 4pm on Saturday I shot the lot…
I love the look of this Fuji film, but I have heard rumours that it’s about to be discontinued, which will be a disaster! Time to start panic-buying.
It rained on Saturday, and it RAINED. I don’t do mud, so I spent Sunday at home, drinking pints of tea and eating cake.
All images are the property of Phil Kneen. Please do not use these images for ANYTHING without my prior permission. Thank you.
Posted on June 27, 2012
The images here were all taken between the 29th December 2007 and the 20th December 2008 – one year of band photography on the Isle of Man.
In late 2007, after a long break from photography, I decided it was time to jump on the digital band-wagon. I’d never used digital before, not really had much experience with flash and had no idea what I was going to photograph. It was the drag-end of 2007 when I took my camera to The Creek Inn for the first time and photographed my first band, Sparkle Motion. I spent the next 18 months photographing bands, mostly in Douglas, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
During that 18 months I made a lot of friends and maybe one or two….I won’t say enemies. I had an ‘individual’ approach to live music photography which involved, a lot of the time, actually getting on the stage, next to the musicians. I mean within inches. It wasn’t popular with everyone…
Those 18 months were a springboard to greater things – people I met, contacts I made and photos I gave away for free, it all helped. I took literally thousands of photos, these are a few of my favourites.
I haven’t really done any live music stuff for about 3 years now, but I still have all the friends I made.
Posted on May 20, 2012
In keeping with the natural style of this event, I shot all the portraits on 6×4.5cm film (also because I hate digital at the moment) I used a Mamiya 645 Pro tl. Colour – Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H. Black and white – Kodak Tri-X 400
Helen, my wife, was very clear, very precise with her instructions – “Drive the camper up first thing Friday, get us a good spot, save the Campbell’s a good spot and then just chill-out until I get there at five ‘o’ clock. Do not start drinking until I get there…Phil, promise me…”
I negotiated the camper through the tiny gate entrance at 9.30am, organiser and host, Quilly, was there to take my invitation and a small donation. I parked-up in exactly the same spot as we’d been in last year, unpacked a few things, crisps mainly, and then attempted a little snooze. I cracked open my first beer at 9.55am, by 10pm I’d quaffed 12 cans of Budweiser. None of the photos that I took on Friday were in focus.
Beltane is traditionally a festival that celebrates the arrival of summer, although this year I think we were celebrating a bit prematurely. I woke-up on Saturday morning hungover, with borderline hypothermia, temperatures had dropped well below freezing during the night, even sharing my bed with Leica, our pet spaniel, hadn’t stopped the violent nocturnal shivering. The hangover made things ten times worse. I should have listened to Helen.
You can’t just turn-up at Beltane, you have to be invited. Hosts, Sue and Quilly, are keen to point-out that the piece of paper you have in your hand when you arrive is an invitation, not a ticket. It’s a great idea, it’s a private party, a gathering and when you’re throwing a party you don’t want twenty Vauxhall Nova’s full of Chavs, high on plant food and cans of Monster energy drink turning-up. So, if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in.
Beltane is a great event, my favourite of the year. Sue and Quilly do such an excellent job, and despite Sue saying she won’t, a thousand times, they’ll do it all again next year…
Posted on February 23, 2012
I’ve been taking photos, on and off, mainly on, for the last 25 years and I still can’t quite get my head around black and white film. I’ll see the work of another photographer and think ‘Right, that’s it, I’m only shooting mono from now-on because their photos look so damned good’, I then load a couple of cameras up with Kodak T-Max or Fuji Neopan and off I go. I don’t think I’ve ever shoot more than a couple of rolls at a time though, in fact, I have actually ripped mono films out of cameras halfway through a roll because I’ve just got bored of it. Bored before I’ve even seen the pictures. Mono shots never turn-out the way I see them, not even close sometimes.
I’ve just loaded a Mamiya 7II medium format and a Nikon compact with Kodak Tri-X. Let’s see how this pans-out…
PS – I was going to write an article about my new Think Tank camera bag, but do people really care that much about bags?. It is a damn nice bag though.