RICHARD FORTUS FROM GUNS ‘N’ ROSES

Yesterday I was booked to shoot at Guns ‘n’ Roses’ 2nd London show at the O2 Arena. I really had to keep my professional hat on as I was a diehard G’n’R (original line-up) fan in my early teens. Arriving on the Jubilee Line I discover notices of warning to attendees of the night’s show that Guns ‘n’ Roses are notorious for running over time for many years and with that the notice of the last tubes running to get home – meaning fans would actually miss over half an hour of the set to get their transport. Yikes! I called my contact who met me and my lighting gear at the entrance and escorted me to the backstage area and we discussed the shoot which would happen after sound check. Timing being key here, I had a funny feeling things wouldn’t go according to plan. Haha. Sound check was then cancelled as they already had the levels set from the previous night at the same venue. The shoot would be later. Much later than originally planned. 3 hours later in fact. The crew however were amazing to me, they gave me catering and made sure I was OK giving […]

31 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2010 – SONISPHERE FESTIVAL, KNEBWORTH UK

I was shooting at Sonisphere for Rotosound, I arrived on the 2nd day around midday and the festival was already in full swing. I was camping again which didn’t appeal too much, but acquired the coolest and most recognisable tent I could find as I’m quite lousy at remembering where I set up camp in a sea of predominantly black tents! This one, I was sure would stick out a mile! Outside my little zebra print tent you can see a white step stool. I called this my “special” stool. I’m a petite person and experience has taught me that at these big festivals you need height to shoot the main stages. Something which I lack unless in heels, which I’m not about to break an ankle over – especially in unpredictable festival weather! So this stool serves me well. I could have put a few band stickers on it though right? Nevermind. This festival I didn’t have a huge amount of running around to do from stage to stage so was networking, photographing interviews with journalist friend Tazz Stander and some live shots for Rotosound. Fear Factory were first on my list, having photographed them at their London show […]

24 & 25 July – HIGH VOLTAGE FESTIVAL, LONDON UK

A scorcher of a weekend in many ways! It was hot, hot, HOT! The first High Voltage and it certainly rocked. A line up that made my mouth water with bands that I really dig and some I haven’t photographed before, I was stoked. After collecting my passes and finding my way around the festival I started shooting at Main Stage with The Answer and Gary Moore. I wouldn’t be shooting the Prog stage at all as Planet Loud weren’t too interested in that side of things for their audience. I also shot Orange Gobin, Hammerfall, Cathedral and Saxon. Mid afternoon, I grabbed some lunch and the 100th bottle of water as the heat was immense. I sat backstage to find the Black Label Society crew preparing the area for the show with fire, confetti and large beach balls with the BLS logo on. The highlights of Saturday for me were Black Label Society and ZZ Top. I unfortunately missed photographing Heaven & Hell with their tribute to Ronnie James Dio as I was queuing for the photo pit for Black Label Society. I had a bad experience a few years back at their only UK appearance that whole year […]

11 – 13 JUNE 2010 – DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL, DONNINGTON, UK

I’ve just been on an exciting journey with Godsized who played to the largest amount of people in their career so far, opening the 2nd Stage for the Saturday – a tent capacity of 5,000 people. Exhausted, still slightly damp from the torrential rain on the way home I write this. We arrived and set up camp on Friday early afternoon and wandered around the festival to check out the stage that they would be playing, got some drinks and had a very chilled out afternoon while the boys prepared themselves for the morning. We enjoyed AC/DC’s set and got a relatively early night. We did wonder exactly how many people would grace the 2nd stage hung-over at 11am the morning, especially after the show that AC/DC put on! Everyone woke to alarms (yes alarms at a festival) at about 7:30am as the guys had to showered and be at the stage for 9am to get their gear set up and sound checked. I followed shortly after and took a walk to the tent. This is what it looked like at 10am. Deserted! As the noise started emanating while they were sound checking, people started appearing from nowhere…The delay in […]

AN AFTERNOON WITH GUTHRIE GOVAN & ALEX HUTCHINGS

I must admit, on being booked to shoot with Guthrie and Alex I had no idea who either of them were. I was told that Alex was known around the world and Guthrie was “Britain’s best kept secret” and had toured with Dizzee Rascal among others. I looked on the internet for some more information to be prepared and get inspired for the photo shoot. I was impressed. Very impressed, and was looking forward to the shoot. We met up in Hackney at a photo studio I use often. Guthrie arrived first and we spoke a little while I set up my lights. Alex arrived shortly after, suitcase of clothing and suggested that they have a jam as he had all his live gear in the car from a show the night before. Guthrie was well up for the idea and I was of course eager to hear them both play. It would bring a natural approach to the shoot as I could tell neither of them was ecstatic to be posing for shots, but know it’s a necessary evil for promotion. They jammed for about 3 hours. At times I had to remember I was there to be taking […]

PHIL DEMMEL LOVES ROCKY

Every time Machine Head are in London we always hang out. Today I had a shoot with Phil for Ed Stone Rockwear. I went earlier in the day after they had sound checked to see them all. Last week I had quite a bad fall and bruised my fibula bone – thankfully it wasn’t broken. Hobbling with my camera gear I wasn’t going to miss seeing the guys! Phil had some press interviews with Jackson guitars just before his shoot with me so I had plenty of time to set up. I spotted a small figure of Rocky Balboa resting on his guitar rack which sparked a debate as to which of the movies was the best. I personally love Rocky IV, but Phil’s favourite is Rocky. We had a picture together including Rocky to commemorate, both clearly doing impressions of Stallone. He then wore a couple of new Ed Stone designs and I got him to pose with his Randy Rhoads guitar as it’s one of my favourites that he plays. I went to catch up with Dave in the dressing room after I had packed down. He was loading the new Ratt and Rob Zombie CD’s onto his […]

10TH OCTOBER 2009 – DREAM THEATER & OPETH AT WEMBLEY

A double-whammy booking I had for Ed Stone Rockwear with Mike Portnoy AND Mikael Alerfeldt at their Wembley show. I had worked with Mikael before, but not Mike, and I’ve always liked him when watching behind the scenes footage on Dream Theater DVD’s. Arriving at Wembley I was to meet the Tour Manager in the underground parking lot and be taken to where the shoot is. I was hoping for a really cool area to do the shoot as usually I have to make so with a pokey dressing room corner or a paint peeling corridor. At Wembley they should have some nice areas for pics. There was a photo shoot actually going on with Big Elf, Opeth and Dream Theater in the parking lot when I got there, I thought maybe this is where it will end up being. Press had over run, photo shoots had overrun too so I was in for a wait. Plenty of time to find a section to do the shoot in with the Tour Manager Steve. I ended up setting my gear up in front of the rolling doors. They had these large plastic curtains – like the kind you would find in […]

14th & 15th AUGUST 2009 – BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, DERBY, UK

Last time I was at Bloodstock was in 2007 and it was an absolute blast so I was excited to be going again this year. Working for Devolution & Terrorizer Magazine and also Ed Stone Rockwear…

I travelled up with Godsized – due to open 2nd stage – the Sophie Lancaster Stage on the Friday evening. Arriving slightly later into the Friday due to a Steak pit stop – if you have to know anything about Godsized they really love their Steak! Finally arriving at the venue, it’s an absolute nightmare to find where to go. We end up camping with the caterers behind the 2nd stage tent. Thinking a 1:30am curfew on that stage would be totally fine for us and karaoke can’t be that bad. WRONG! hahaha. We heard System of a Down and Guns and Roses being absolutely murdered! I started work by photographing the Godsized boys on the 2nd stage and did a little filming for them too. The tent was full and it was such a good start to the festival. Backstage I found this random sign where the bands kit is supposed to go. I did wonder whether it was a failed piece of artwork […]