Jola's Royal Albert Hall photoshoot touring with Adam Ant.
After being a huge fan (make that MASSIVE fan) for more than 30 years I finally had the opportunity to see Adam Ant with his new band line-up in concert back in 2015. My ticket to the “Dirk Wears White Sox” tour at Sub89 in Reading was bought for me as a gift,
I was apprehensive that after so many years it wouldn’t be quite the same, but I needn’t have worried, it was electrifying! The sound was fantastic, atmosphere incredible and I thought I’d faint when the band performed one of my all time favourites “Kings of the wild frontier"!
Having always preferred the atmosphere of smaller venues, this one did not disappoint. I was lucky enough to be at the very front of the audience and linking arms with a fabulous lady next to me both of us sang our hearts out! As always, it was the drums that mesmerised me the most, the two drummers were both absolutely incredible, the powerful beats could be felt coming up through your feet and into every bone in your body!
I have always been drawn to tracks with incredible drumming, and this was absolutely the ultimate.
Fast forward two years and imagine my excitement when the opportunity to photograph Jola, one of the bands immense drummers, during the hugely successful ANTHEMS tour at the Royal Albert Hall in London!
With just two days notice, some reshuffling of schedules and I was there! The excitement and intrigue began outside the enormous arena, as I had no idea what to expect. Whilst waiting, in the midst of a rain deluge I chatted to some local painters and artists who were outside (undercover) painting stunning watercolours of the Prince Albert memorial.
Then at approximately 3.00pm, the fans had begun to queue up, and the band members began to arrive, Joe, with his bright red hair, Will, with his funky sunglasses, drummers Jola and Andy and guitarist Adam-Paul. I waited inside the stage door, patiently waiting for Jola to change into her stage outfit, complete a stage soundcheck and meet me ready to shoot.
As a natural light photographer I am more accustomed to being in control of the lighting, timing and posing of my clients, but this was unknown territory!
I had planned an outdoor, edgy, urban shoot, but heavy rain ensured we could not shoot outside, and an ever decreasing time limit meant we did not have very long together. I had no idea whereabouts indoors we would be allowed to shoot (or if we were even to be given permission!) However, the guys at the stage door were fantastic and after much patient waiting we were allowed backstage for the very best backdrop to our photoshoot possible, the stage!
Jola is a phenomenal drummer and I admit I was a little in awe of her incredible stage presence. But I needn't have worried, Jola has a huge personality, with an infectious laugh, it was an honour and a delight to finally meet her and she made me feel as though we'd known each other for ages!
Jola and I made our way onto the stage that would later that evening host one of the best concerts of the Anthems tour!
Walking onto such an incredible stage in such a breathtaking venue was both daunting and exhilarating in equal measure. Jola looked amazing in her incredible stage outfit and dramatic make-up, while we decided were to shoot, and how to control the erratic lighting we chatted a little about the Dirk tour from a few years back.
Lighting was immense (as you would expect in such an incredible venue) but the “light check” wasn’t quite so in our favour, particularly when they were turned off completely and then came back fluctuating between green and blue! We worked with what we had, and used Jola and the drums as the main focus of the shoot, of course some awesome pictures were created!
It’s awe-inspiring that Jola has such powerful drumming skill when she has such a petite frame, it brought to mind the quote "... and though she be but little, she is fierce” - William Shakespeare
Although I was not a part of the tour itself, I felt as though I had a teeny tiny part in something hugely magical, and I loved every single second, and I hope Jola is as pleased with her images as I am. this has certainly been my most memorable shoot to date :)
"Adam Ant is one of the most iconic figures of the early Eighties, it seems strange that this was the first time that he played the Albert Hall, reportedly worth the wait with an exhilarating performance, perhaps the best of the whole Anthems tour."
Below are some images from the shoot and the build-up, I couldn't resist including some showing just how wet and grey it was outside! I hope you enjoy these photos, and can feel a little of the atmosphere of what was an immensely memorable day with an incredibly talented performer!
To see images from our Friend or foe tour portrait shoot, click here.