I'd wanted to try turning my hand to shooting more hardcore/metal acts for some time - what better way to start than with shooting the new-album press shots for one of Britain's most successful gothic-metal bands?
This stood to be quite an interesting and challenging commission. The label wanted us to supply shots from three different set ups all with a gothic feel, to ensure they had plenty of images to supply to the press in the run up to the latest album, Medusa, being released. We were also working within a pretty tight shooting window - the guys were due to fly out to Milan, so we opted to shoot all three set ups the day before.
The day started bright and early in Bradford city centre, at our first location - the recently renovated Sunbridge Wells. If you've not been to this place yet, it's certainly worth a visit: A series of Victorian underground tunnels that have been transformed into various bars, restaurants and independent traders - it's pretty cool! We set up in the main entrance hallway, that was lined with old stone walls, vintage-looking wooden features and some unusual feature lighting, that had a bit of a steampunk vibe:
With the Bradford shoot wrapped, we packed up and drove 25 miles north to location number 2: Brimham Rocks - a collection of balancing rock formations in the North Yorkshire moors. This shoot was particularly challenging, as the weather was splendid! It ain't easy making a shot look eerie and gothic with gorgeous blue skies and 25° sunshine, y'know! We tried positioning the guys around a few of the different rock formations, before settling on the "Druid's Writing Desk", which definitely looked the most dramatic:
With that shoot nailed, we had a quick lunch break before heading to York for the third and final shoot of the day.
When it comes to gothic locations, there are few places in the north of England quite as dramatic as York. I'd spent half a day there on a recce a few weeks before, and it was clear that we were going to be spoilt for choice. I was keen for the final shoot that we found somewhere with quite high walls as a backdrop, so I could shoot up at the guys slightly to make them look a bit more imposing. Thankfully I found a spot of the city wall that was perfect - a deep, high curved alcove. It was central, yet off the beaten track so we could set up properly without worrying about causing an obstruction. It was also away from direct sunlight, so I could ensure I was in full control of lighting the shot. The guys certainly seemed keen on the location when we arrived, so we set about shooting a mix of individual portraits and group shots. In my opinion, this was definitely the best location of the day, and resulted in the best shots:
Huge thanks to Nick, Greg, Steve, Aaron and Walt for their patience and time on the day, as well as Vicky for the commission and Disney for helping out. My first attempt at shooting a metal band didn't turn out too badly at all, really. \m/
In the months following the shoot, some of the images have made the pages - sometimes covers - of the music press all over Europe, which I'm over the moon about: