This past year has had it's fair share of highs and lows. 2019 marked my 10th year as a photographer, and I've had the pleasure of shooting some fantastic shows and working with some great new clients. 2019 also saw me make a welcome return to Leeds Festival, having spent a couple of years away. I've had the fortune of working some truly incredible shows, and had the opportunity to shoot much more than the "first three, no flash" that I've become accustomed to - joining Cleopatrick for most of their UK tour, covering the huge Kaiser Chiefs show at Elland Road to celebrate Leeds Utd's centenary, and a couple of fantastic shows at The Piece Hall. I also finally managed to scratch some absolute legends off my bucket list in Cher, Rod Stewart and Alice Cooper.
On the flip side, 2019 has also been quite challenging at times. For the past ten years, the only real ambition I've had as a music photographer was to find a print publication I could regularly shoot for. I've had the pleasure of shooting for some great magazines in the past - NME, The Fly, Loud and Quiet - but gradually the number of print magazines has decreased, and the photography market has become saturated with new, exciting photographers. For the majority of these 10 years, on reflection, I've spent an awful lot of time emailing editors of magazines, checking if there's anything in the pipeline "up North" that I can pick up, and anxiously waiting for a response to an email that I've known will ultimately never arrive.
In hindsight, such sustained periods of anxiety hasn't been great for my mental health, and reached a head this year when I came close to giving up all together. I lost all confidence in myself as a photographer, and started to come to terms with the reality that perhaps my ambition is no longer achievable - something I've dreaded doing for many years, but deep down felt was inevitable.
So what does 2020 look like? At the minute, I'm not sure. I'd like to be more selfish, shooting the stuff I want to shoot, for the people I want to shoot for. And if that means shooting less for the benefit of my own sanity, then so be it.
I need to pay some real attention next year to finessing my own style (photography style, that is. My personal style is well beyond repair!), try to give my shots more of an identity, whilst not becoming formulaic.
I definitely want to shoot more film in 2020. I've long been mindful that enjoying a film renaissance can be seen very much as a 'trend', but I do love the tones, contrast, and challenges that analogue photography brings.
And finally, I'm going to be braver. I've long toyed with the idea of doing something different, be it more portraiture or something more abstract, but I've always talked myself out of it. It's time I started venturing outside my comfort zone a bit more.
So this is me signing off for 2019, and getting back to the drawing board. Below is a bunch of my favourite shots from the past 12 months. Thank you to everyone who's supported me so far, your help has been hugely appreciated.