Apart from photography, my other great passion is music. In my younger days my friend Gary Evans and I would write and record songs – mainly ballads influenced by the singer songwriters of the time. Even though we weren’t destined to be the next Elton John and Bernie Taupin, our work, even if I say so myself, still stands up to scrutiny. It’s just hidden away, transferred onto my hard drive and occasionally brought into the light of day courtesy of iTunes.
I recorded these songs myself, using a hugely expensive pair of four-track Ferrograph reel-to-reel tape recorders (kindly supplied by my dad). These allowed us to overdub layers of vocals, extra instruments and add echo. The results were good for the time, under the circumstances, but did not match the quality that can be achieved now using a computer plus some appropriate software.
So, when I was invited to photograph a local recording studio I was delighted. The digital revolution has transformed the way music is created and recorded. And here was an array of state-of-the-art equipment capable of capturing music, refining and perfecting its sound, and reproducing it at the highest quality. Gary and I would have been in heaven had we been able to use these facilities back in the 80s.
The recording studio is owned by musician Reuben Vincent and is located in Bagillt, North Wales. An accomplished producer, writer and educator, he is also a very patient, kind and extremely friendly man. Reuben had been my daughter’s piano teacher and has not only given her the skills to play well, but also inspired her to love and appreciate music. He provides composition services too, in fact I asked him to write and perform the music that accompanies my recent Gardens of Britain video – view it in this post.
I was able to watch Reuben’s skills as a producer and sound engineer in action, as he recorded a beautiful piece of music composed and performed by my daughter. While they were engrossed in the creative process, so was I – using a tripod and 17-40mm lens to capture general views of the studio. Always using available light, I also took advantage of the shallow depth of field offered by my 50mm F/1.4 lens – taking detail shots of the various keyboards, mixers, screens and computing equipment used to record and manipulate the music.
Reuben wanted the images of his recording studio in colour and black and white, so I spent some time in Lightroom producing some nice, contrasty, monochrome versions, which are now on his website. You can see some of them here.
As for my daughter’s composition – you can hear it on SoundCloud here; I plan to use an edited version of this for my next garden video.