Although I started photographing concerts way back in 1994, and took up my first role as house photographer at The Bottom Line in Shepherds Bush in 1995, it isn’t until 10th July 1996 when I photographed Dave Matthews Band, my first gig as house photographer at London’s iconic Shepherds Bush Empire, that I considered my career as a photographer ‘official’
Incredibly, that was 20 years ago!
I almost missed this anniversary, (well, technically I did as I am typing this in September…) so much has changed in the past 20 years, none more so than the past 12 months.
In my last post Spotlight on Depression, I started to explore some of those changes, or should I say challenges? But there’s been so much more than that…another blog post for another day, today we have a couple of decades of music history to dive into 🙂
Lets start with a quick trip back to 1994. A 21 year old college student, knowing that she wants to be a photographer, but without much of an idea of what kind of photographer she wants to be, takes her trusty Minolta SRT101 35mm SLR camera to a gig at the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden. Shoots a roll or so of Fuji Neopan 1600 and excitedly returns to college to process and print her first concert photos. It was towards the end of her course and she was pleased enough with the results to hang them in her end of year exhibition.
The 21 year old me could have never imagined that all these years later, I would still be fortunate enough to be photographing both established and emerging talent as they perform and entertain audiences from tiny back rooms in pubs, to huge stadiums and festivals.
Sadly, both the Mean Fiddler and Bottom Line no longer exist, along with so many other legendary music venues I was privileged to photograph in over the past 20 odd years, and many bands and artists have either retired or even more tragically, passed away.
In those first few years, I had gone from an undecided 21 year old, to house photographer at Shepherds Bush Empire, a position I held for over almost 18 years.
I photographed Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Gil Scot Heron, Neneh Cherry, Keanu Reeves, Steve Harley, Manic Street Preachers, Kylie Minogue, Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, Paul Weller and Jools Holland amongst many more, just in the first few months!
Almost 2 years after I started photographing at SBE, I was asked if I would also like to be resident photographer at Brixton Academy. Amazingly, I hesitated!
I can’t recall now why I didn’t leap at the opportunity, but fortunately, John Northcote, then MD of the McKenzie Group who owned both venues, persevered and managed to convince me!
So pleased he did as I had the most amazing time there, for almost 16 years. Take a trip through those archives in my 15th Anniversary 1998-2013 Brixton Academy Retrospective.
In addition to being house photographer at two of London’s top music venues, I have also photographed events such as The Proms, V and Reading Festivals and at Wembley Arena and Wembley Stadium, Milton Keynes Bowl, Royal Albert Hall, Hammesmith Odeon, Th O2, Earls Court, The Astoria, The Forum and many many more. I have also photographed comedy shows, club nights and performance art. From the pit, on stage and from the mixer. Negative digital and video.
Best of all, after all these years (hey, I can even say decades now!!) I still get that same buzz each and every time the lights go down and the crowd go ‘Woo’.
Showtime, the best time.
Apologies for the below average quality of the photos on this page, as all my archives for the first 12 years are on negative, I only have tiny scans to post here. I haven’t had the time to rescan them as there are so many! Hopefully, at some point, I will update these photos.
You can very many of the more recent work, and larger scans 🙂 over on my website www.amandarose.co.uk