Interview With Photographer 'Jeff Price'
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I suppose you could say that I am an 'old git' as I was born in 1950, into a working class family in the Salmon Fishing Village of Handbridge, just South of the River Dee, in the Historic City of Chester. Like an awful lot of kids born in my era, I fell foul of the eleven plus exam and went to a local Secondary School, which I left at the age of 15, and went straight to work in the offices of The Chester Chronicle as an advertising clerk. Being an Arty type I very soon found myself working in the Photographic Department as a Darkroom Technician and that is where the Photographic bug began to bite purely by accident, I did have a Brownie 127 at home, (which I still have), but I had never considered Photography as a career, that is until 1967, when I was in the office by myself and an accident occurred just outside, a low loader shed it's load a flattened a top of the range car, so I loaded a Leica M3 and away I went, the resulting images ended up being exhibited in The British Press Pictures Of The Year, North West, Heats, so move over David Bailey, don't forget folks this was the Swinging Sixties. In the same year I was lucky enough to picture Radio Caroline North in Ramsey, Isle Of Man, I could not go on board because the Maritime Offences Act was made Law the same day and as soon as I set foot on dry land I would have been thrown in the Chokey, however, my picture have appeared in a book entitled, 'When Pirates Ruled The Waves' and can also be found all over the net and in publications all over the planet, underscored with those immortal words, Photographer Unknown. I have since worked in a Freelance capacity for every News Paper in Merseyside and Cheshire, including landing back at The Chronicle in 1995,from where I was made redundant in 2006, I have also worked in D and P and Commercial Photography, Press and PR. I started in taking pictures in the Music Industry in 1984, firstly with local Bands, where I met my partner in crime, Journo, Rob Evans, who eventually persuaded me,(press ganged me really, haha, only joking), into covering concerts and Photographing interviews, that was then 1997 and since then I have pictured , Toto, Journey, Whitesnake, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Saxon, Dan Patlansky, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Styx and many more and my pictures have appeared in Classic Rock, Powerplay, Breakout, Burrn in Japan and publications throughout the globe. Marital status, separated..(form a queue ladies) two offspring Keith, 40 and Claire, 37 and four Grandchildren, Olivia, 13, Sam, 9, Caitlin, 7 and Grandads partner in crime, Evie, 5, I love them all, they are my life. Other than that I have had a long association with music, I used to play the drums and I have been a vocalist in a Folk Duo, (The Hard Faced Gits), and a Rock Band, (Electric Sweat), I honed my vocal skills in the darkroom at the Chronicle when I was 17, I used to take a record player and vinyl with me to keep me company and annoy people.
What were you all up too prior to being a photographer, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
I have always wanted to be a Commercial Artist and I spent most of my childhood sketching or drawing, but on leaving education I was told that there was no call for such a trade in Chester, so I did what everybody else did, got a job and made my contribution to the Family Budget. I paint with light now.
What do you believe is your greatest achievement to date?
Outside the Music Industry, going back to Art college at the age of 45 and gaining a Grade A Photography A Level, which culminated in an exhibition of my work, mind you I have also exhibited work for Cheshire Youth Services and there could be another one in the pipeline and maybe a book. Within the music Industry, thanks to Rob Evans I have the opportunity to capture pristine images of the performers and music that I love which will hopefully inspire others and stand the test of time.
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the photography scene who has left you awestruck and why?
To be honest, I wouldn't say that I have been in awe of anybody that I have met, I think that you have to treat other Photographers with respect especially those that are top class. I have met and chatted to Fin Costello and I have to say he is a top bloke and so for that matter so is Kevin Nixon of Classic Rock, we are good mates. I also have a lot of respect for Sakura, the little Japanese lady with a Scouse accent, Simon Dunkerley, great guy and of course your good self. (Sean: To be included amongst such talented photographers is an honour, thank you) I enjoy working with most of the Photographers that I meet.
What process do you go through to prepare yourself for a live a show?
I do very little preparation other than checking the camera gear, batteries etc, which to me is common sense anyway, apart from that, I do check out pictures on the net, to check the Mic hand, you should show fingers holding the mic and not a clenched fist, it looks ugly. Also I may listen to the artist to get a feel for their work.
Do you have any advise for those looking to get into gig photography?
Yep of course, use your eyes look and watch for the little things that will make your pics different, use your feet, they are your inbuilt zoom. Don't stand straight on, the mike will look like it is growing out of the artists face, show courtesy to other photographers in the pit, don't go on the stage unless the band asks you to and when you edit your images be brutal only use the very best, don't bang them all on the net.
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
Easy question. The Stones. The music is amazing it is straight to the point, down and dirty and we could all swap medications... All old bastards together.
You have to opportunity to photograph a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick and why?
Another easy one, Keith Moon. A fabulous drummer and an outrageous sense of fun, we could cause bloody mayhem together. ROCK ON.
And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Death and destruction at Crimbo. What is this world coming too...