Follow Your Bliss

Senses Fail aren’t just a band, Senses Fail is a way of life. I still remember it like yesterday, walking down the road with a couple of my best friends… It was the 30th of November 2004 and we were on our way to the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth to watch the Vagrant Records European tour, it featured a few bands that we wanted to see, but one a whole lot more than the others…..

The gig was amazing and i even managed to catch one of the setlists that lead singer Buddy tossed out into the crowd, to this day it still hangs in a frame on my wall. We went to see them a couple days later on the same tour in London, this time i wanted to capture some of the action so i took a disposable camera with me, i think i got 24 shots from that camera and the majority of them were dreadful. As the set finished, their drummer Dan threw his drum sticks out to the crowd and i managed to catch one of them, i was hooked. My life would never be the same again. That night in London i met Buddy properly for the first time, it’s crazy when you meet someone you idolise so much, i’d watched videos of them over and over and listened to their CD’s non stop for months and now i was stood next to Buddy talking and having my photo taken, i couldn’t believe this was happening. I’ve seen loads of bands play live but none with the energy, intensity and passion of Senses Fail, there’s something refreshing about the honesty and emotion of their songs, they have a meaning and a purpose.

Fast forward over 10 years and i’ve lost count of how many times i’ve seen them live, it must be in the region of 35 or more. Each and every show carries a story, an experience and an adventure. I’ve been all over the UK to see them, i’ve begged and borrowed my way into their gigs, flown to Europe a couple times, waited out in the freezing cold for hours just so i could be at the front of the crowd and sing every word back at them. So many amazing experiences and adventures, but my most recent might just top them all. 3 nights, 3 shows and 3 cities; Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, 700 miles of driving, junk food, truck stops, motels, laughter and loud music. The perfect ingredients.

The shows were incredible and being able to photograph my favourite band in these world famous venues is truly a dream come true. If you’d told me 10 years ago i would have never believed you, to sum it up i’d borrow a line from one of my favourite Senses Fail songs by saying ‘our reality is our own to create’.

I shot the gigs using two lenses which meant i had to change over quite a lot, this isn’t ideal. Changing a lens in a photo pit in the dark is pretty tough, especially when you’re rushing and trying to avoid a whole host of other hazards. I don’t have a zoom lens with a fast enough aperture to get good results in low light so this was pretty much my only option. I used my 50mm f/1.4 and my 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye which worked out great and allowed me to capture a lot of the action. The guys have a crazy level of energy on stage so a lot of it is down to timing. Luckily i know the songs really well so i can plan ahead for a lot of the shots as well as my fair share of singing and fist pumping.

I’ll leave you with my favourite shots from the 3 shows, many thanks for the guys in Senses Fail for allowing me to shoot them and generally being awesome people. Also a huge thanks to my mate Tom for being there every step of the way since that night in 2004.

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