Lurking In Shadows

Photography and music have leapfrogged each other for almost all of my life. Photography kicked in during my early teens with adventures in the school darkroom. Music arrived not long after that in the form of the tenor saxophone and the battle to be my number one was on. Sometimes the photographer would be ahead, sometimes it was the musician in me.

Where the two overlapped was my love of music photography. Quite often that could be rock and roll photography in Rolling Stone Magazine form, but my true love of music photographs was jazz, especially work by the great Herman Leonard. But strange as it may seem I didn't think about mixing my two loves until April 2013.

I'm a member of The Kage Collective (pronounced Ka-gay) and I was looking for a quick project to use as content for our monthly output. I decided to contact Tommy Smith about going along to a Scottish National Jazz Orchestra concert (Tommy is the director of the orchestra) and documenting both behind the scenes and the actual performance. That one night developed into a long-term project that I am still working on to this day as their official photographer. I've also shot a handful of jazz CD covers and even had the cover of Jazzwise magazine too.

It's hard to explain what I'm trying to capture in my music photography, but every now and then, when I squeeze the shutter button, I feel I've captured a true moment, something timeless that would sit perfectly in any of the jazz photography books on my bookshelf. These moments only exist for 1/125th of a second and they're gone. There is nothing before and nothing's a heartbeat. I see a lot of these moments in my viewfinder, but by the time I see them, they're already gone. That's why they come once in a blue moon. Sure, there are hundreds of keepers during a gig, but these special moments are much more elusive.

So I'll keep trying to find these pure moments as I'm lurking in shadows and hoping my trigger finger is one step ahead of my eye. In this age of the smartphone and the constant snapping of hundreds of thousands of pictures each day, I think we all question the relevance of our pictures. But with an archive of over 47,000 jazz photographs, I have to believe there is historical value in what I'm doing. Time will tell.

'Shooting Live Gigs' Fujiholics workshop with Warren Millar

Warren Millar, Fujiholics shooting gigs
Image Credit: Warren Millar

The Studio in Widnes was the venue for Warren Millars sell out Fujiholics workshop ‘Shooting Live Gigs with Warren Millar’. The Studio, a superb Creative Community, live music venue where Warren is resident photographer, hosts a multitude of events throughout the year from wrestling to bazaars. Situated in the heart of the Widnes community it was the ideal venue for our delegates to try their hand at some live music photography. Warren had arranged for local band ‘Faster Than Bulls’ to perform a live set on stage with full lighting set up and sound desk operator.Read more

Warren's Weekend

So this weekend saw my Fuji X gear get a good hammering. Friday Night I was at The Brindley Arts centre in Runcorn for Jenny Colquitt’s EP launch gig. Jenny is an amazing singer song writer from my home town Widnes who I have got to know very well through my work at “The Studio” a small but great music venue again in Widnes where I am the in house photographer. Read more

A Fujiholics Story - Warren Millar

About me

From the day, way back in the mid 70s, when I first picked up a camera I have been amazed and inspired by the whole world of photography. Its was a fun thing to do then and still is now.

In 1986 I landed a job as one of the first civilian Police Photographers/Scene of Crime Officers with Cheshire Constabulary and this started a 20 year career as a Police Photographer working for four forces including Gloucestershire Constabulary for eight of those years. I was working there during the Fred West Murders and although based in Cheltenham I did have a small involvement in the case. I have photographed some scenes that most people would never see in a life time !

In 2006 I was forced to give up photography for a few years in order to look after my wife full-time due to her ill health from M.S. So from 2006 to 2008 I wasn’t doing much photography at all. I lost my wife to ovarian cancer very suddenly in 2009. This was a big turning point for me and my son and I decided that life was too short and since that day Photography has been my life.

Although I don’t rely on photography for a living (I have a part time job) I have been there and done it . Live Music and gigs are now what I love photographing and im Lucky to be the resident photographer at a local music venue in my town called “The Studio” . After photography Music is my second passion. Im quite new to Fuji after Matt, Jim and Rich ( who are guys I always love being around) battered me into submission !

I'm bloody glad they did, I love the Fuji system now.

So you’re a Fujiholic?

Without a doubt, hell yeah I am! And I have to also say a big thanks to Sarah at Cambrian. She was very kind and loaned me a X-T1 for a three day music festival I was covering. I must admit the first day I did keep going back to my DSLR gear but by the third day I left all the DSLR gear at home and just shot with the Fuji. I now shoot with an X-T1 and X-Pro1, 18mm, 27mm, 56mm and 50-140. Would love to have the chance to try out the X-T2 for my gig work  if and when it comes out.

Which is your Favourite lens and why ?

Would have to be my 50-140 f2.8 ……. Its just stunning !!

When you next go travelling, what gear will you take?

For just traveling or walking around the streets I would just take the X-Pro1 18,27 and 56mm. When I'm at “The Studio” or music festival I can afford to take all my gear and with no complaints from my back !

When out shooting, what are your settings? Why?

At gigs and festivals it's 99% Shutter Priority and RAW and as lighting can change from one second to the next, I find that auto WB works very well for me. This may also sound strange but I do prefer single point AF when shooting gigs over zone AF.

 What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

Again this is where I differ from most photographers , I use almost exclusively PS. Its what I'm used to and what I've been using since the digital age. I do have LR and have used it but just couldn’t get used to it. Black and White I use the fantastic Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

What's Next?

What I've always done I suppose just loving photography and what I can do with it. I have quite a few gigs at “The Studio” to cover and also getting together with Matt, Jim and Rich at Africa Oye 2016. I am also really looking forward to holding a “Fujiholics” workshop at “The Studio” on Music and gig photography complete with a great live band to photograph in the afternoon with full sound set up and stage lighting - 25th June 2016


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