I’ve lots of projects on the go at the moment and they are currently very time consuming.

The Punk / Oi! singers project is coming to a close and I only have one more autograph to get in the book before one of these limited edition prints will go on raffle for a charity.

As someone without record label or magazine links it has been a long process and I only managed to get ten of the twenty portraits that I wanted.

That said, I didn’t cast my net too wide and only approached those that matter to me. Most of the vocalists that I didn’t’catch up with was purely and simply down to our diaries not matching up and most have agreed to be photographed in the future.

I enjoyed the project a huge amount. Its great to shoot something you have a deep care for.  Its probably a bit naff sounding but I’m glad my accidental falling into the genre of portraiture has given me the opportunity to photograph those that have had some influence on more than just my musical taste.

Its good to be busy and its good to be in a position to turn some stuff down but its also bloody frustrating when turning down shoots you really want to do.

The people I shot for this particular project have all worked with photographers through their careers and I wonder what their views are of those photographers. Who are the plonkers, the nice guys, the impatient, the slow, the fussy, the quick, the no mess……

Somewhere in the archives of this blog you will find one, two or more references to Nick Knight. I’ve never met him, I’m not convinced we would see eye to eye on world matters and politics but I do like his work and he does seem to have a way of getting the best from his subject matter.

I was given a link that I’m more than happy to share. Its Nick Knight interviewing models to get an idea of their perspective of shoots. Just click here to be taken to the its nice that link & Interviews.

Getting feedback from people you work with is a great way of learning what works and those things you might want to change. I’d be intrigued to know what people think of myself and where I fit on that ‘plonker – nice guy scale’ or ‘unprofessional – professional scale’ but I’m not entirely sure I’d want to hear it….. tough one… Interesting!

Until next time.


Jim Jimmy James

Did you miss me?

Maybe? Yes – No. Probably not!

But someone did. I got a message from someone that never comments and never clicks like but follows the blog. They said that I’ve not posted in a while and they hoped everything was okay.

I read somewhere that if you are blogging and going to have a break you should announce that break. The reasons they gave were because people that follow the blog may think you’ve just given it up and remove your blog from their follow list. But also an online community is a community; that even though it is a virtual community, people will still wonder what happened to that man or woman that used to post about this that and the other. I’m very grateful for the message and I will try to remember to announce my absence in the future.

The reason I have not posted is because I have been distracted. It has all been very busy. Lots going on with life in general, work getting in the way of college and my projects. Projects and more projects. Ideas and more ideas and then work again….. I’ve been juggling so much I should apply for a job with the circus.

Actually I would love to live with and shoot a circus for a week or two. That would be pretty cool.

So, I have just finished college and am awaiting confirmation of grades but the preliminary result is a distinction for both projects.

We have some work on show at The Morley College Landing Gallery Although that does not run much longer. I believe there should be a link on there for image sales if anyone wants to check out some other photographers.

I’ve been to a few gigs and recently shot Mood Six who were/are a band made up of existing Mod bands. They have reformed after thirty years and were supported by Miles over Matter. Another old band ‘The vagabonds of psychedelia’ that have been putting themselves out there again. Both bands were excellent and it was nice to be shooting live performances again. (Note to self, when shooting concerts take ear plugs)

However, as much as photographing my punk singers book has been a massive highlight & good fun. The Crème de la Crème this year has got to be ……………. Sorry but like all good TV soaps I am going to leave you on that hanger and you’ll have to come back later in the week.

For now, here are a couple of shots from a recent gig.


Phil Ward: Mood Six. ©2016 jim jimmy james


Miles Davis Landesman: Jola: Steve Council: Miles over Matter. ©2016 jim jimmy james

As a side note, Miles had links to the dance company that I had the pleasure of photographing last week.

Thanks for stopping, reading, looking and thank you for the DM.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Getting to know the photographer..

You know those great photos that you see…. You know the ones that evoke an emotion, make you stop and think about the image, the story,  the one that just has something about it; that something you may not even be able to put a finger on the exact reason you like it… you know what I mean don’t you.

Well I am starting to look at some of those images a bit more deeply and getting to know the photographer. Not literally getting to know them! But rather getting to know their work.

I watched a short TV documentary shown by the BBC by filmmaker Marisa Murdoch about a photographer called Dennis Morris.

I spotted a number of images that I had seen before and researched a little further into his work.

Not for the first time, as I have looked at photographers other work in the past, I have realised that I have seen and like several images all from the same photographer but had never known it was that particular photographer that had taken any of those particular images that I liked. (I think that makes sense??).

So  in the future I will be making a point of taking a better look at photographers I like.

Dennis Morris had a small exhibition in London and was giving one of these question and answer sessions following an informal talk about his work as a photographer.

Interestingly he was brought up in my old manor where I was dragged up (I wonder if we’d ever passed each other in the street?). Living in sunny Hackney (pronounced ‘Ackney’ by all proper Londoners) might be the only thing we have in common.

Unlike me, Dennis had someone that sparked an interest and enthusiasm in photography. Luckily for him, he also gave him a camera and set him off on his career path.

My careers advisor at school looked at me aged fourteen or fifteen and said ‘Army’!

That was that!

No questions such as, what are you interested in, what are your exam grades predicted to be?

No question of what I might be interested in doing and advising me on the route I should take.


I ended up leaving school with no qualifications but got a trade, ended up going to night college and later went on to earn myself a degree.

Army! I went to the first school closed by OFSTED. Far too late in my opinion. It should have been closed many many years before OFSTED did the right thing.

Back on track……… As an adult starting off in photography I’m not sure the same opportunities are around today as they were in the 1970s and ’80s. The world is a very different place. London is a very different place.

When Dennis was starting off as a very young child, film was expensive, so I guess in that respect it is easier for people to access cameras and take more images now. But is it harder to get those iconic shots?

Is it harder to access people now?

The world doesn’t seem as exciting as it was thirty years ago, London does not seem as exciting. Its not derelict, its sanitised and people seem content with their lot. I’m not sure that anything exciting is going to happy anytime soon.

I don’t know if Dennis ever liked punk or if he was just in the right place at the right time? London was changing, there were various youth and subcultures. People had something to say and did things, people were out and about, people were being creative….. London was very different.

I went to his talk and asked whether or not he thought the opportunities are there for youngsters to start a career in photography.

As a 40+ individual this was just a general question,  I was interested to hear his opinion because I do think the world has moved on so much; especially with technology and it being more difficult to have your work stand out.

Its as easy as anything to get your work seen but not necessarily seen by the people that can change your hobby into a career.

I’m actually happy that his response was that he would just advise youngsters to shoot what they want in a way that they want.

At the end of the interview and Q&A people were invited to go up and have items signed. I didn’t have an old album cover or article so thought I’d push my luck….. I did have a camera with me and asked Mr. Morris to take my photo.

All I am going to say about the photo is that the circumstances were less than ideal, but hey, I had my photo taken by Dennis Morris….


photo by jim jimmy james

Dennis Morris © 2016 Jim Jimmy James

Dennis said he wanted to be a war photographer and ended up within the music industry by chance. With tongue in cheek he likened his early music photography career in the mosh-pit as dangerous as being a war correspondent.

I wonder what his worst mosh pit injury was?


© 2016

I’ve had a few bruises from the mosh-pit but this scratch was the first time I’ve had blood drawn. The joke of this is that it was a nurse that caused the injury. Well, a nurse wearing a studded leather jacket!

I recently got my hands on a canon powershot G5X and thought I would see how it coped with low lights found in many music venues.

Drummer of band called The Last Resort. Photo taken at punk & disorderly in Berlin. April 2016

Testing the Canon G5X in low light. © 2016 Jim Jimmy James

I’m fairly certain I could have got a cleaner / sharper shot if not in the mosh-pit. The image was shot at a high ISO and the only real issues I found were with auto focusing, which the camera had real problems with in this challenging light.

Thanks for stopping and reading.

If you have any low light or gig photos using a G5X that you wish to share please feel free to add a link in the comments.

Constructive critique is always welcome.

FAO Dennis Morris: If you happen to read this. Thank you for taking my birthday photo & if you are shooting in London and need a pair of hands from Ackney…. Jim Jimmy James 😉

A very personal project

If you’ve been here before you’ll know that I have college projects to get done in very tight timeframes.

You’ll also know that I often pick assignments that could & should take months to plan and months to shoot.

I don’t make life easy for myself and friends think I am a typical aires that thrives on pressure. I’m not entirely sure I would agree.

For my next submission I could have picked product photography, landscapes and various other genres of photography but this will be a very personal project based on portraiture and the subjects, although not personal friends have influenced me in various ways over the years.

Some of the subjects will be in their mid 50’s and the eldest I hope to photograph is in his 70s.

Last night I took the first of ten to twenty portraits and I am very pleased to report that I am very happy with the result.

Everyone has a vulnerability about them and this person has an extreme confidence; for good reason as he is very talented as a performer & people display a lot of affection towards him.

As usual I did not take anywhere near as many frames as I should have but I believe I have caught more than this persons public persona and that was intended.

I was also able to confirm another two sitters that I had already spoken to. I have an idea how I’d like to light and shoot them. If I am successful I think I will capture a blend of their personal self & the personality they publicly display.

Regardless of getting good grades at the end of this project it is important for me to get this right purely because of what these people mean to me.

I also tried to get some band portraits last night with some success but as things had over run at the sound check we had a bit of a distracting audience which made things harder to direct. Added with the time constraints for the venue opening the doors to the venue it was a bit of a rush. I had hoped to get about four different images that the band would be able to use and I’m sure they’d be happy with the results but the reality is I have one that I would personally be happy to share.

The gig last night was fantastic and I made a point of not taking lots of photos. As far as I’m concerned that was a good decision. I had a cracking night and the management of the venue offered me free entry to another gig that I was planning on going to. Result!

I got to play around with the camera last night. I wanted to try some things out so that is what I did…..

The 100 club are selling a locally brewed lager which is great to see them supporting a brewery that produces a rather fine lager.IMG_0093

Do be aware though that too many pints may cause the following results…


That was a mild attempt a humour, like me, I am sure both The 100 club & The Camden Brewery would promote ‘sensible drinking‘.

The gig was very rowdy which made it difficult to get clean shots last night but fortunately that was not what I had intended.

I like a particular female photographers work. I’m not going to mention her by name because of “Google statistical gold” or what ever its called.

(Okay, if you really want to know… follow this link)

I love the look of images caught on film but its expensive. Digital just does not produce the same texture but I thought I’d try getting the settings a little wrong and see what I could come up with.

I’ve pushed the ISO a little, selected what would be an incorrect shutter speed if I wanted to freeze motion and I opted for a depth of field appropriate to put the exposure triangle into what would ordinarily be less than perfect.

The two bands I photographed last night are energetic and pretty intense. I wanted to show that in the images by capturing some movement with only a little blurring. So no flash & I made no effort to correct the white balance in camera or in software; with the intention of making adjustments to contrast, whites, blacks & luminance.


Info Riot – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015


Info Riot – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015


The Last Resort – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015


The Last Resort – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015

I am sure that there will be some software out there that would get me closer to the intensity I wanted to produce but maybe I am just going to have to invest in a film camera, film and a home dark room!

As always, thanks for stopping and taking a peek at my images. Please feel free to comment.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

I need a dodge in Camden.

Well finally something I think I will enjoy is on locally. Unless I’m getting a Hackney Carriage home and he decides to take the scenic route!

Actually it was a very entertaining journey and he knocked the meter price back down to where is should’ve been.


Sorry! Just couldn’t resist it.

So, the night begins in a mexican restaurant near to KOKO in Camden. For the older folk that have moved away, this used to be The Music Machine.

Me and my date for the night (The lucky lady has been my date for the last 27 years) walk in to a mexican restaurant to get some grub and The Urban Voodoo Machine are there chilling out. To my surprise they don’t say a word to the table of ten girls sat next to them in their net ball outfits. Not very Rock ‘n’ Roll but very gentlemanly.

I know one of them has clocked the camera (The band not the net ball team) and I feel like saying to him, relax, yes I know who you are but there is a time and a place for photos and I’m not disturbing your last hour before a gig.

Its just not the done thing…. Its not how I work. I want people I shoot to trust me. I do not want to put sneaky photos out there and I’m not going to put out anything I would consider unflattering.

Entering KOKO. “Excuse me Sir, No cameras!” What the….. You’re kidding me right?

My wife then asks rhetorically “what even though almost everyone has a phone?”……… I have to say at this point that the security chap was extremely polite and I asked for his supervisor who offered to call the manager…. Its not on the tickets that we have, nor have I noticed anything on their website stating no cameras.

So here I am, camera in hand and ready to demand a refund when the manager of the venue apologises for the situation, appears empathetic to my concerns over the safety of my kit and gives a personal reassurance that it will be looked after.

Reluctantly I accompany him to a secure area and hand over my baby. I feel like its in safe hands but there is a niggling doubt that leaves me a little uncomfortable and somewhat diminishes my enjoyment of the show.

You know what else detracted from the show…. people holding up phones to take substandard photos and videos….. other people with DSLRs without battery grips turning their camera into portrait position and holding the camera in such a way that their elbows are poking out and obstructing other peoples views. Flashes going off… I wouldn’t have used a flash, the lighting at the venue was great, I’m always mindful of an audience that has paid good money to see a gig, nor am I recording moving images and sound, … I am not sure if this is a policy of the venue, the particular promotor or the artists? I’m disappointed.

The front man for the urban voodoo machine is our master of ceremonies, our compare…He is perfect, one or two little slip ups but does a fantastic job of keeping the evening moving. The Crunch start us off and are much better than I expected. Terry Chimes starts hammering out a rhythm accompanied by Dave Tregunna on Bass and Mickey Geggus showing us how to play an axe with attitude. On vocals and the second guitar is Sulo Karlsson.

The Crunch go on my list of bands to see again but preferably somewhere both I and my camera are welcome.

Don Letts then spun a few tunes before Chris Salewicz confidently gave a reading from his Joe Strummer biography ‘Redemption Song’. As a side note Mr. Salewicz came to the Joe Strummer underpass because he heard something was going on there one night. It was just me tinkering with my guitar… I’m very novice at guitar and most certainly do not consider myself a vocalist but if your interested it is here (Building work was going on in the subway and it was one of the most stressful things I’ve done). Intended to be just a record for me and a way of me looking back to see if I have improved. If you do decide to view it or even comment, be gentle.

I’ve no idea how Chris heard about it or what he thought was going on but none the less it was nice of him to stop and spend five minutes chatting.

Back to last night; the screening of ‘I need a dodge’ directed by Nick Hall. This was mostly in Spanish with English subtitles. It was an easy watch and at points it raised a few laughs. There was a bit of a racket from the bar area during the reading and screening; some fella that looked like Gary Bushall but surely it couldn’t of been him? He surely wouldn’t be that loud? Really THAT LOUD!

Then more music with various artists and singers. The billing from the KOKO website read….

….Cadiz Music presents Rock N Roll Cinema – The premier UK screening of ‘I need a dodge! Joe Strummer on the run’, on  Wednesday 25 March.

As well as a screening of the film, the evening will also offer an all-star band, playing The Clash and Joe Strummer songs. All Star Band with Special Guest Vocalists including… WAYNE KRAMER from MC5

Back to me: What an awesome gig, I really do not remember when I last felt the floor move so much.

I don’t write gig reviews so I will suggest you buy Vive Le Rock magazine as I’m pretty certain they will have it covered. If not I will be seriously surprised.

I’d happily watch this set again tomorrow. I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed the night. Missed my camera, kept feeling anxious about my camera but what a great gig.

As far as photography goes I got nothing more than a quickly snatched shot of Don Letts and Chris Salewicz.


Along with a quick shot of my knee. Yep my knee!

In my day job I quickly learnt not to kneel and that every situation presents something to learn from…… in this case it was do not kneel.

Yes I made the school boy error of kneeling down in a venue and ended up with a patch on my knee that smells like vomit.


So thats that.

A very unsuccessful gig shoot.

Until next time, thanks for stopping and reading.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.

Abbey Road, London.

In my quest to finish finish my 100 candid strangers project on Flickr I headed to a zebra crossing on Abbey Road in London with the intention of capturing candid stranger 99/100.


It just a normal crossing and there are lots of them around the UK & there is nothing unusual about someone crossing the road. Think again!


This zebra crossing at Abbey Road is kind of famous as it appears on a Beatles album cover.

I can not tell you how long I have spent sat in a car or on a motorbike waiting for tourists to take their photos. I would estimate hours and hours. Maybe even days!

Hell, it might even be a month of my life [yes thats an exaggeration] wasted sitting in traffic thanks to this rather standard british road crossing.






As a motorist this section of road is extremely frustrating but sitting there as a photographer there was actually a palpable sense of fun. So many people were getting so much joy out of using the crossing.

If you want to get an idea of how busy this crossing can be, especially through the summer months, this link will take you to The Abbey Road Studios Camera. If you do visit the crossing why not wave into the camera and say hello to the world.

So folks, take your photo, have your fun but be sensible; if you look like you want to cross, motorists will stop.

Please also remember that people are trying to get to work, meetings, appointments or home, so think about avoiding rush hour because all you will do is get people frustrated. If you are there during rush hour try to be quick!

I have to say that after watching the little video at the start of my post and spending such a short time observing people at the crossing, I will never look at it in the same way. It definitely has a good vibe (when not sat in a car). I may even do another little project there?

Thanks for stopping.

Jim Jimmy James

Travelling light…with a light!

This is a follow up from my previous post regarding traveling light.

A recent visit to Barcelona left me thinking I should have brought more lenses with me.

After asking what the best set up is for a photographer to travel light, a few people have suggested a 35mm lens for street style photography and it is looking increasingly like a prime 35 is going to find its way into my kit bag.

However, sometimes its about taking an image that is further away and needing at least a 200mm focal length.

I also found that in some places I wished I’d had a tripod. Huh! I actually took one away with me but then I didn’t want to carry it around everywhere.

So moving on from the holiday snaps to gig photography. When I read about concert photography it seems to me that the ideal set up is two cameras with two different focal length lenses. After all there are numerous reasons you don’t really want to be changing lenses in front of a stage.

At gigs the light ranges from less than ideal to total crap and in many mid to large sized venues the general rule is “Three songs – No flash”. Non the less I have learned a valuable lesson…… Take a bloody flash with you!

When do you get invited back stage to hang out with a band?

When do you get an opportunity to photograph a band getting ready back stage?

When do you get a chance to get a good back stage portrait?

Not often but it can and did happen…. The Adicts are a punk band that have been around for years. I am in my mid 40s and I remember some of their songs since my late-ish teenage years.

I’ve always said that until I started learning to play bass and guitar that I was blinkered in my music taste and preferred old ska, two tone and the more heavy punk bands such as The Anti-Nowhere and so on.

I only really knew The Adicts from songs on the radio, friends mix tapes (Mix Tapes a thing of the past!) and one or two compilation albums. I liked their stuff but unfortunately they were never on my radar as a band I had to see.

I say unfortunately because I have missed out on years of great showmanship. A friend recently asked me to go and see them at The 100 club in London but I couldn’t make it. So I first watched them perform live in Berlin this year and was blown away. Musically tight, a bunch of lads on stage looking like they were loving every minute of it and visually…. How do I describe them visually?

A mix of clockwork orange and the joker, with a hint of mardi gras they were colorful and theatrical. Maybe it would be best described as comedia dell’arte.

I didn’t take many photos because I was so distracted I just wanted to watch the show unfold. Simply Brilliant!

I’ve been keeping an eye out for them performing in London since that first live show… Nothing.

So, my wife and I had some time off, we had plans to see a bit more of Germany at sometime and The Adicts were playing in Wiesbaden. That was it. We didn’t need another reason, tickets booked and off we went.

The venue was heaving and I had no chance of making my way along the front of the stage to try and get any images. As with the previous gig, the lively crowed were all singing along and the show was spectacularly spectacular.

There was of course the added bonus of being invited back stage with permission to take some images….. Great but guess what? I was travelling light with no bloody flash!!!!!

I took a handful of images back stage but the light was so dim it required a high ISO setting which left the images extremely noisy. Some could be saved with a quick black and white conversion but others will require a bit more practice with the post processing fine tuning.

I managed to get a few reasonable shots of the gig but it was difficult not to put the camera down and go and join in the fun with the audience. I have to say that I will definitely be seeing The Adicts perform again and they are at the top of my list of bands as a “Must See Band”.

Back stage with The Adicts. The only half decent light was over a broken seat.

Back stage with The Adicts. The only half decent light was over a broken seat.

IMG_3686 IMG_3690 IMG_3703 IMG_3704 IMG_3891 IMG_4328

On a personal note, they couldn’t have been more friendly, welcoming and engaging.

Sincere and warm hearted thanks to Monkey and the rest of The Adicts for their hospitality.

(Gents, if you happen to see this and you need a UK based photographer….)

Lesson learned: Travel light but take a light!

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.

Pukes in the park.

I’m starting to get reasonably comfortable with my camera. I’m at a stage where if something doesn’t work I can make little adjustments without a huge amount of thought….Don’t get me wrong, I still have to think about it but it does not take so long.

I’m happy taking portraits in natural light, comfortable with the little knowledge I have with regards to flash and lighting modifiers. Night photography, candid street photography………you get the idea… I’m getting comfortable and have some confidence in what I’m doing.

However, on Sunday I think I took some of my worst images ever! ‘London Parks’ is one of my City & Guilds homework projects but the wind was such that I was never going to get any outstanding landscapes; the good news was that The Pukes (A ukulele punk band) were filming a music video for their new single.

It was cold but they looked like they were having lots of fun. I thought it’d be a good opportunity to get some nice candid shots of the band and my day wouldn’t be wasted.

Never have I been so wrong.

The sky was very bright but dull and boring; the band were under a band stand and in shade which added together made exposure a bit more difficult.

The videographer chap was sound and happy for me to shoot but obviously I had to be mindful of what he was filming and keep out of the way.

Some of the filming was some distance away and I could have done with a decent zoom or fixed 200 / 300 mm lens.

On top of all of this, I could not use any flash or light mods as this would interfere with the filming.

The band were closely packed so I was not in a position to isolate any of the band members and thus many of the shots either have people with their faces half hidden or instruments cutting across them.

It was a new challenge that I’ve not come across. Actually looking at it I would have thought it would be easy but it was a pain in the backside and for some reason much more difficult than I have found other areas of photography.

Obviously if I was directing the shoot or not having to worry about the filming I could have got very much closer and had some cleaner shots. I probably should have asked some of the band members if I could have taken portraits after the filming but they were genuinely starting to look a bit cold and tired. That is not going to come over in the video because they were extremely professional while the camera was rolling.

Here are some of the shots taken during the filming:


Stuart Sterling filming in amongst The Pukes








Many thanks to the members of The Pukes and film maker Stuart Sterling for not telling me to bog off!

Thanks you for visiting my page.

Jim Jimmy James

Low Key Lighting – Gig Photography.

There are a couple of gig photographers that I guess I could reference such as Pennie Smith. Obviously as a long standing listener of Punk music her image on The Clash album stood out long before I even thought anything of photography. As did images by Ian Dickson whose pictures I was aware of long before hearing his name.

Occasionally I see an image and look up who a photographer was and may visit their pages every so often to see other work by them.

Although not new photographers and they are well established, more recently I’ve noticed work by Ami Barwell and Svenja Block.

So that is the influences referenced and from that you can safely assume that I like black and white images, low key lighting and live music photography.

I thought it was time to have another go at capturing some images in what can only be described as less than ideal conditions.

Low key light.

Saffron. Vocalist & front-woman of Republica. ©Jim Jimmy James (2014).

Low key light.

Dr. Clive frontman for Doctor and The Medics. ©Jim Jimmy James (2014).

A couple of images I’m actually very happy with and have had positive feedback from both of the performers. One directly and one indirectly.

If they are happy then I guess I should be happy.

Thanks for stopping and looking at my images.

Jim Jimmy James.

Accidental capture!

When you think you are taking one image (In this case it was just supposed to be a very quick exposure check) but you notice you’ve actually caught a very nice moment.

1 busking gorilla (More about him later) X 1 child with a stuffed soft toy gorilla =  A simple image that made me smile. Thats all. 2

An accidental capture!

Kind regards, 

Jim Jimmy James