Around a year ago, whilst sorting through my old negative files, I scanned and posted a few photographs of student bands on Facebook for the old band members to see. One of them got in touch to request some copies and I was only too happy to oblige as it gave me the opportunity to focus on that task rather than wrangling my negatives into some sort of order. So began the process of finding and scanning each negative a process that would take a good deal longer than I’d anticipated and it’s been quite the nostalgia trip.
I’ve arranged them here chronologically, starting with an early band practice in the autumn of 1997. I’d recently finished my foundation course at the art college in Lincoln and had moved on to Carlisle to study for a degree in AV Media Production. In those first few weeks friendships were formed and from those friendships came the student bands. I don’t remember ever asking if I could photograph them, I’d turn up to their practice sessions with my camera and would snap away. Thankfully, they never threw me out and tolerated me being there for which I am forever grateful as it allowed me to develop my skills.
I followed them through their practice sessions and on into the gigs in the various student bars of Carlisle in 1998 and ’99. These gigs were where I really learnt how to use the camera, how to use the light to my advantage, how to push film and to realise that not every film is suitable for pushing. The film wasn’t always the best, I’d use whatever was available and buy whatever I could afford. After the gigs I’d develop the film in the college darkrooms and, later, in the shed of our student house.
These photographs are by no means perfect but for me they represent my education, my development as a photographer learning from mistakes, learning what I could do with a camera and some film.
The final sequence of photographs, taken in the student union shortly before Christmas 1998, are the last photographs shot on my Pentax Programme A. After 9 years of almost constant use, the reflex mirror jammed and the camera was rendered unserviceable. I photographed one more gig in 1999 on an Olympus OM10 but I haven’t seen those negs for many years.
Below is a selection of images. There are many more but these are my favourite and feature some good friends. So please have a browse, I hope you enjoy them and thank you to Jamie, Gary, Alex, Danny, Mark, Matt, Stuart, Gaz, Ross, Kevin, Paul and Simon for letting me stalk you for three years!