Wembley and New Shoots!

General

Monday we had a delightful ‘day-off’! We took care of some personal business and then headed across the country to tackle the mighty Wembley Stadium and traffic. The reason? Well, we and 85,411 other people had tickets to go and see the huge Take That Progress Tour. The eagle eyed among you will quickly realise that I had already seen this show, and I had. However, not with a stadium full and not from the punters perspective (as it were and not trying to sound too nobby!).

We decided that as we had the day, we would mosey on up really early and take our time. The last trip up we had was for Coldplay and we really got ourselves into all sorts of bother with the traffic and the parking arrangements. So, we arrived hours before the gig, parked in an ‘unofficial’ area (for which we were relieved of £20!) and then wandered around the delights that Wembley centre had to offer. Which, as you will know, isn’t much so we did what comes naturally and hit the pub for an hour or so!

After some food we decided to try and get an unreserved seat and good position for the gig and go into the stadium and soak up the atmosphere. We weren’t alone in being early! The place was packed with middle aged ladies dressed up and in some TT attire or another. I felt a bit out of place being a guy and not really a fan. Anyway, we waited and relieved ourselves of a huge amount of cash for beer and soft drinks and snacks etc! (Come on Wembley, £10 for 2 bottles of Carlsberg??) Things got underway with The Pet Shop Boys and their weird coloured block stage show, which many thought were a strange choice but I was quite happy with. They have a string of hits and are as static as TT are mobile so they didn’t detract from the main event.

The main show is awesome to say the least. It is such a shame the Musical Director could not get us Press Tickets so I could shoot this event properly! He hoped he would be able to persuade the Management team but obviously he hasn’t been able to. We are gutted. Anyway, we watched in awe as the ‘boys’ strutted their stuff and sang all the old classics and some of the new, soon to be, classics! All too soon it was over and we left, swiftly getting away from the venue and onto the M4 home. We got back easily and had a wonderful day. Probably like about 85,000 other people!

The last two days have been spent on processing and admin. Jobs continue to come our way which is really, really positive! I have received several enquiries from various sources and have been so motivated I might even have a spare day to organise more of my ‘lyrics’ shots!!

The James shots are all but finished and now I have to start on the Kaiser Chiefs set and see what classics we have in there!

Ho hum…..radio show now….its all go!!

Take That on Stage at Wembley Stadium

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Accounts…

General

This week has whistled by as they all are starting to do these days! Must be a sign of age?We haven’t done much in the way of photographing over the last few days due to the fact that I have had to get my accounting system up to date and accurate. This is not one of my favourite tasks and nor is it one I hate doing either. It just consumes time and much of it. I think Mr VAT Man will be happy as all seems to be in fair order there and the business is doing well according to our P&L log which is brilliant given we have only been properly trading over the last year!

I have also spent a huge amount of time researching and gaining background knowledge on the internet business idea that has now reached a point where we have totally run out of excuses to not proceed with it and the whole thing now needs to go somewhere. I am totally committed to this idea and HAVE to find the right partners to help take it forward and make the dream a very exciting reality. There is an enormous amount to do to take this project finally to market but all the big hurdles can be easily overcome.

Yesterday was spent in London on the above project and visiting one of the oldest retailers in the country to discuss a photographic project. Having spent a brilliant hour with the owner we have agreed that we will begin a project of product shots and location shots for their ‘soon to be launched’ product range and developing campaign. It is a very exciting piece of work based on retro-look imaging and I cannot wait to get going on it. We hope to start work on this in the next couple of weeks and help build a great presence for this wonderful rekindled brand.

As always, everything keeps moving swiftly and each phone call brings a whole new set of ideas and challenges to the ever evolving Ellis Imagery. I am loving this constantly changing and dynamic world and look forward to each week immensely. If only everyone could enjoy their work as much as we seem to!

Saul of James playing his Godin at Hard Rock Calling, Hyde Park, London

The Killers??

Photographs

We were invited to attend the “Hard Rock Calling” festival at Hyde Park by “James” on Friday. We decided to train it up and back as we thought there might be some alcohol involved. Again, we were assured both guest and photo passes as the Godin project continues to roll. We arrived without a fuss at around 3pm at Hyde Park. We had already had a hearty lunch and bottle of wine to get in the festival spirit!

We approached the “Media and Guest List Booth” and asked for our tickets. As we have become accustomed, these moments are always fraught with a bit of worry, “have they remembered to put us on the list” etc etc. Well, this time, they hadn’t. Saul, the guitarist, was quickly contacted. He assured us he would sort it and get the guys to get us in. Well, 60mins later we were starting to doubt we were ever going to make it in through the front gate! We had already become personal friends with the Security Guard, Rob and the girl in the ‘hut’ Debs. But we were still not in! At last, Kat arrived. Kat was all of 20 years old but she was a PA to the James Tour Manager and we felt we had a lifeline. We wandered back to the smallest hut in the world at the entrance to Hyde Park. Nope, no tickets there. We wandered back to where we started this escapade and Kat asked Debs where our tickets were and what she had to do to get us in. A quick phone call to her Manager and his calling to Justine and we had a pass!! Wow! However, I reminded Kat that we needed a photo pass and she nearly collapsed in front of me. However, three minutes later we had everything. Passes and an entry to the massive gig featuring James (our reason for being there), The Kaiser Chiefs and The Killers.

After entering, I saw an entry point titled “Guest Area”, well naturally, I tried to get in with our wristbands. Amazingly we got in without any fuss and found ourselves pretty much behind the main stage in an area with a few private bars and food areas etc. Well, not wishing to appear rude and not believing our luck, we proceeded to make use of said facilities and grabbed a beer, or two. Within minutes it seemed, we needed to get front of stage where we were going to be photographing to get pics of James and the fabulous Godin Saul was playing. Well, we wandered out to the front, pushed our way past the thronging masses and made our way to the front left stage and showed my photog pass to get into the ‘pit’. “Sorry, you have to go through the ‘Guest Area’ to get into the pit” we were told. Ben flashed his wristband and said ‘Really, can’t we come this way?’. Incredibly, we were ushered quickly through the wrong way and entered the pit. I then set up and proceeded to grab the shots that were the reason we were here. 3 songs later and that was it. We were out, as per normal.

Only, I had a feeling, I had a feeling we had some pretty cool wristbands that were better than the normal bands we received. On trekking back through the backstage areas I decided we should try t0 get on the mainstage and join family and other artistes for the rest of the gig. Well, guess what? Instead of being hiked off as per normal we were waved through and on the main stage we went!! I had my 5D II and a 70-200mm f2.8 strapped to my front, hardly inconspicuous but still no worries from anyone. I shot away, nobody turned a hair!! Amazing. When we had all the shots we wanted we went back behind the stage and wandered unchallenged anywhere we wanted and ended back up at the Guest Area for a few beers.

When The Kaiser Chiefs came on we decided to do exactly the same. To the front for the photog pit and then backstage after the 3 songs. Incredibly we did exactly that. Wandering on to backstage at the fourth song unchallanged due to our wristbands. Cool or what. The Kaisers were amazing! Backstage, I snapped away and then something was shouted in my ear. I couldn’t hear so asked Benno to repeat it. It sounded like he had said, “Prince Harry” was right behind me! Haha! I turned around and guess what, there was Harry! Seriously, I was stood with a 70-200mm lens and two feet behind me was Prince Harry! Well, I wussed it and after 10 mins we left. Leaving Harry to his girls and his privacy and I had no shots of him! Should I have gone for it? I don’t think so, I didn’t want any of him, I was just pretty amazed he had the same goddamn wrist-band as me!

So, a while later and I arrived at the front of stage for the main act. The Killers. Well where were all the other photographers? I got out my camera and within seconds I was pounced upon by the Head of Security! “No photographs of The Killers” he told me. “No way”, I said, “I have been given clearance”, I lied. He radioed through, I ignored him and walked away. He held onto my coat and received his answer. The answer I knew was coming. “Sorry Sir”, he said, “you have to leave!” Bollocks. Never have I been so pissed off. I love The Killers. Oh well I thought. I have this wristband. I shot backstage to get a prime position for some shots from the side of the main stage. Within seconds I realised I had a great wristband but not the best wristband. “excuse me” said the lead singer from The Kaisers, as he pushed past and got onto the main stage. I was told that my pass was not gonna get me on, I needed a green band and I didn’t have one! Bugger!

Out to the front we shot with the plebs! Pissing it down we got soaked but loved the set and sang along to all the classic Killers tracks.

A brilliant gig but so nearly the best we have ever been to……. but not quite!!

Tim Booth

Tim Booth from James performing at Hyde Park

The Week That Was

Photographs

OK, some weeks are good and some are bad when running your own business. Well, this has to be classed as a good one in the short history of Ellis Imagery Ltd. Where to start? Well there was the gig in Bristol to shoot Rene and Olly Murs. While we didn’t really get the shots we wanted of Rene and his lovely Godin we did (as always) enjoy the shoot itself.

Tuesday meant a meeting with a contact I have had for some time and the time flew by as we discussed an interesting and VERY exciting internet proposition. We will be spending some time building a coherent business plan that could lead to something very big and different. Time will tell as they say. The afternoon was spent in South Wales speaking quickly with another exciting contact about a new marketing proposition. It is very early days with this but it could end up being a cool way of advertising some top kit!

Wednesday was, well, how do you say….OK, a bit of a wash out. We went to London and the Excel Centre to discover the joy that is the London International Wine Fair with a very influential wine buyer. He needed our significant input on the various offerings and we really needed to be thorough in our work. It has to be said that never have I seen so many stands with so many bottles of wine waiting for people like me to obligingly taste it! My friend and Performance Director of UK Diving Kim White assisted me in this difficult and stretching task and we made it back later in the day with a very satisfactory list under our belts. Although not wine, we also are convinced that “Thunder Vodka” an extremely tasty toffee flavoured vodka will be a total sensation with vanilla ice-cream. Seriously, hunt it down and enjoy….

We learned yesterday that we are almost certainly going to have to travel up to Newcastle next week to photograph the Musical Director of Take That at the band’s pre-stadium tour small gig on the Thursday before they open at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. We also got confirmation that we are likely to be photographing the James guitarist at Hyde Park in June when they support The Killers. Both of these gigs will be part of the Godin Guitar project.

Last night was spent preparing to shoot the beautiful and elegantly bone-structured Claire Richardson and see if we can do justice to her and her new man’s amazingly good looks during a shoot at home over the bank-holiday weekend.

This morning we arranged another visit down to the sumptuous Old Rectory Hotel in North Devon to shoot the amazingly gorgeous gardens and the equally gorgeous Huw and Sam on Monday, lets just hope for more lovely bright weather.

During the week we also had confirmed four new shoots and one ongoing project shoot for various clients and agencies. The whole scene and summer is starting to shape up nicely and our work continues to evolve and grow in its appeal. Keep visiting the Ellis Imagery site and watch this blog for further exciting updates and interesting little snippets!

Now, back to the processing and uploading of images to website…..

Olly Murs

Olly Murs performing at the Colston Hall, Bristol