I work as a photography assistant for prominent rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky, which launched me into taking photos at gigs. I fell in love with the music scene and capturing it in all ways possible. When photos weren’t enough I picked up a pen and started writing about the bands I was seeing. Now I am with CLUNK I can hopefully do that alot more!
The second ever Music Photography Awards takes place in London, showcasing the best in the scene from the past year
Where could you find Somadina, Rankin, The Clockworks, and the official photographer for Woodstock in the same room, on the same night? The answer is easy — the room was Abbey Road Studios, the night September 21st 2023. In St Johns Wood, where The Beatles once recorded countless albums, the second ever Music Photography Awards took place. And I had a front row seat (not that there were seats, it was basically a huge gig after all).
Galway band The Clockworks kicked off the festivities with a three song set. Frantic and textured in their sound, Alan Mcgee has likened the four piece to that of early Oasis. The contrast was astounding when their newest single ‘Westway’ came to a euphoric end and the ferocious vocals of lead singer James McGregor turned to a reservedness as he uttered a simple ‘thank you.’
As their set closed, host Lauren Laverne stepped onto the stage to announce the first half’s winners; this half being the open call categories. But before that she revealed that there had been a staggering number of entries this year — 14,000 compared to last years 3000, all of which from 30 countries. The talent from the nominees was astronomical, you can see it for yourself on the Abbey Road Music Photography Awards website.
Among the open categories, Anthony Pham won Music Moment of the Year for his image of Harry Styles, and Alex Amorós received the underground scenes award for his photograph of the Margate Mod Weekender. The Undiscovered Photographer of the Year was claimed by Chris Allmeid for capturing Lil Uzi Vert in an abstract portrait that feels very feline.
Speeches ranged from pithy, to emotional, to bashful, but as the last photographer left the stage, Lauren was back. This time, she was here to introduce Lonelady. Armed with a laptop, a loop pedal, and a guitar she launched into her set. Despite Lonelady‘s experimental sound, you can’t help bug boogie to her electronic funky dance pieces. In all the chaos of the night’s interval I still spotted toe tapping and shoulder shaking; I even had a bit of a jig myself.
Before long, Lauren was back again to introduce the invited categories, those that the panel nominated for the various awards to battle it out. The editorial category was taken home by Aidan Zamiri, whose image of Caroline Polachek can be seen on the cover of her album ‘Desire, I Want to Turn Into You‘. The Portrait award was given to Samuel Ibram’s depiction of Shygirl.
The last category before the icon award was the Artist at Work, won by Tom Pallant and his still of Yungblud mid-gig. With the blaze lighting up the singer’s powerful stance on the stage, it was clearly well deserved.
And last but not least, it was time to present the Icon award. Prolific photographer Rankin joined the stage to introduce this award to Henry Diltz, saying that Diltz’s ‘incredible photographs have been part of culture for over 50 years,’ and that they ‘still feel as modern and emotive as when they were taken.’
Diltz took the stage, dapper and smiling, and the 85 year old Kansas City native accepted the award by telling a charming story about a funny conversation he once had with Paul Mccartney. The photographer (and folk singer for a brief time in the 60’s) didn’t take up too much time on stage, but his serene demeanour and pure coolness carried across the room leaving a great impression of a great artist.
Closing out the ceremony was RnB singer Somadina. The 23 year old played the crowd like a fiddle with her soulful groovy tunes and heavenly vocals. The standout track from her set was definitely ‘Crzy Girl‘ in which there was a call and response that got us all moving.
And with that, the ceremony was over and the party began. Two DJ sets from GODD and Melle Brown saw us through the night. The winners celebrated, the crowd danced, and music once again filled Abbey Road Studios.