Andy Bell Total Guitar Issue 272

Andy Bell of Ride and Oasis


Having been in my teenage years in the 90’s, my musical tastes and influences were mostly from the Seattle music scene…along with much of the youth at that time.  But while I was a huge Nirvana and grunge fan, I was also massively into what was later dubbed shoe gaze.   Bands like Sonic Youth were a massive part of my life.


When I arrived at a removals storage company in central London to photograph Andy Bell, I was extremely excited.  Ride was one of the pinnacle shoe gaze bands, and was one of the reasons I discovered bands like Sonic Youth.  To be able to photograph and talk with someone who unknowingly had a massive influence on my youth was something special, and something I continually thank about the profession that I am in for.


I arrived at a rather nondescript removals company in London on a dreary, rainy, and muggy day.  The weather had been appalling and I had just walked the 10 minutes from Liverpool St station to the warehouse in the rain.  Thankfully, my peli case is waterproof and the only damage done was to my wet clothing.  I walked in to see that Ride’s sound man had setup Andy’s live rig in the middle of the warehouse…awesome!  It’s wasn’t the greatest backdrop in the world for a photoshoot, but it was something I could make work.  Weirdly, it sort of fit the mood of the day and it’s inconspicuous appearance suited Andy perfectly.  I couldn’t imagine photographing him in a fancy bar…this seemed right.


Once the interview was finished, and Andy and I finished talking about everything from music through to football, we started on the photoshoot.  Andy didn’t take of his rain jacket, and I really didn’t mind.  Normally I would have asked for the jacket to come off, but with it’s rain drops and Andy’s slightly wet hair, it again was perfect for the day.  My aim now was to try and capture the day, as well as Andy and his personality.


Total Guitar ended up running a 6 page feature on Andy Bell, and it featured quite a few of my images.  Below is a scan of the opening spread of the feature followed by the actual photographs that were used in the feature…along with my favourite from the shoot that sadly wasn’t used…but I will tell you which one that is when you see it.  Enjoy!










The last image here is my absolutely favourite from the shoot.  It was a candid moment just after we had captured the smiling image above.  Andy just leaned forward and looked at me and I managed to fire it in time to capture the moment.  There’s just something about it that I love, but the magazine did not use it so I am sharing it here.  There were a few other images of mine in the feature in Total Guitar, and these were mostly photos of the different guitars and pedals that Andy uses.





As mentioned in the Frank Turner post, I am going to start writing a little bit about the gear and techniques used for each shoot.  Here is again used my Nikon d800e and I used my favourite lens my 50mm 1.8.  I love this lens.  It’s pin sharp and it’s focal length is ideal for what I shoot.  I am not known for shooting portraits with a traditional portrait lens…my work is known for being a bit wider and I love the little bit of distortion I can get.  Most shoots as well I tend to use more than 1 light.  But for Andy, and some of this was due to space, I opted for 1 Elinchrom Quadra head, shot through my large octobox.  This gave me 1 large, controllable, soft light source.  Whilst the light source is nice and soft, I give it a little edge by lighting things a little more dramatically and not using and fill.


Any comments or questions, please feel free to ask below in the comments.