I was kindly asked by The Spa Hotel to photograph one of their gigs recently. “Live By the Sea” is into it’s second year with some great acts coming up. This is a great little venue, with it being enclosed you really feel on top of the artist! Photography wise it’s a little trickier!! There’s zero, and I mean zero natural light!! That means high ISO and a fast wide open lens. This isn’t too much of an issue as long as the camera can handle these conditions….I often found my self pushing my ISO up to 6400. Secondly because the venue is small it’s a little tricky finding a good spot; the place was packed on Saturday night so finding a gap can sometimes be a little problematic. Next time I’ll take the long lens. Put these to one side and it was a brilliant night!!

James Grey Robson & The Lovely Burn

Supporting on the night were local band James Grey Robson & The Lovely Burn. Based in Darlington, they are an alt Americana duo. Prior to this gig I had never heard of the band before. Just two guys; James and Chris with two guitars, I didn’t really know what to expect. I arrived early to photograph and watch them sound check. Sitting there in the empty room, just me and the sound guy watching, James and Chris get into position. A strum of the guitars, a quick beat on the box then James opened his mouth. Now I’m not going to lie, I was shocked….I almost fell off of my seat. They were fantastic. I sat there just watching for what seemed an age then it twigged that I was meant to be taking photos. I hope through my photos you can see the raw emotion in James’s voice.

Mark Morriss (The Bluetones) 

The headline act was Mark Morriss formerly of The Bluetones. Since The Bluetones split up in October 2011 Mark has been busy writing music for others, including David Walliams audio books, but also writing a steady stream of his own music. Mark is currently writing and recording another album for Acid Jazz records which is due to be released shortly. Mark’s performance was brilliant; as you would expect. There was a really good mix of classic The Bluetones’ and new material from Mark as a solo artist. He really got the crowd going, and they were singing almost every line of his songs!

Photographing Mark was extremely difficult, firstly being on stage alone with just a guitar means a lot of the time he’s staying in one spot. Secondly the place was jam packed (good for the venue and acts, but bad for trying to find places to photograph!). This is where that long lens would of been extremely handy. This just meant I had to be a little more proactive in finding some good angles and waiting for the right moment. I was always trying to photograph Mark’s emotions whilst he was singing…here’s a look at what I got

Here’s what I got

A huge thank you to everyone at The Spa Hotel for inviting me and their hospitality on the evening.


www.facebook.com/jamesgrayrobsonmusic/ – James Grey Robson & the Lovely

Burnwww.markmorrissmusic.co.uk – Mark Mossiss

www.thespahotelsaltburn.co.uk – Live By The Sea