Sunday, 25 November 2012

Photo shoots

I've taken delivery of some fantastic solo promo shots by Tom Wojtulewicz ( and, as good as they are, this got me wondering about the conventions of musician photos and press kits, and more broadly the need for a musician to cultivate an image.

I would really be happiest using live shots for a press kit, given that they obviously portray what I actually look like whilst playing music, however the advice is usually not to so I found myself standing around Stafford town centre in the October cold with Tom and feeling remarkably self-conscious as the Friday afternoon shoppers leered at me whilst walking past.  The clichés are abundant in band photography, which gives you such a long list of things to avoid it's ridiculous: brick walls, train tracks, scrapyards & bars have all been done to death, which makes it tricky to do something fresh, but Tom had some great ideas about how to light shots that made what would otherwise have been pretty ordinary poses look amazing, and I convinced him to get a fisheye lens out, after remarking how much I liked the cover of Captain Beefheart's Safe As Milk.

I'm hardly a natural when it comes to modelling, - yet another example of the many jobs you need to get your head around as a musician. You expect sex and drugs and you get tax returns and standing around in the cold being told off for smiling.  But for all that I love the photos - I'm pretty sure I can only spot the beer gut because I know it's there, and despite my protestations that the cold was making my nipples show through my shirt, that seems to have been fixed in the editing ;)

I think I'm finally coming to terms with the need for an image as a musician.  I've always been broadly opposed to anything I considered too artificial in the past, being desperate to avoid the pork-pie-hat-and-sunglasses school of blues music, but I now find I'm asking myself again and again what I can do to be more memorable.  I think I'm finally at peace with the fact that doing things to make yourself more marketable isn't 'selling out' unless your music itself is lacking substance, and consequently I've smartened myself up on stage when playing solo.  Moving away from the jeans and converse I've always worn with .44 pistol also gives my solo career a bit of an identity of its' own which helps me in my efforts to keep them both going in parallel.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah...right on Pete. Personally I can't see any erect nipple so I think you got away with that one!