Photographer Sam Huddleston is based in Hackney Wick in London and focuses on live music and portraits. His Exhibition titled BAD LOVE documents his trip around the USA and to the South By South West festival in Austin, Texas.
Hi Sam, tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Sam, a music photographer living in Hackney Wick, East London. I’m really into photography, art and music. I like to keep an open mind to all styles of both music and art and take influences from all over. What I love the most is rock'n'roll. I’m in love with all the classics artists such as the Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tom Petty. But I get really excited too by all the new music coming out. The psychedelic, surf, garage rock scene is booming and there are so many great bands around at the minute. I have a VW T4 van that I’ve converted into a camper but living in London I don’t get to use it half as often as I would like. I’ve been to festivals and on quite a few different surf trips. On the last one I drove to the bottom of Portugal and made it back to North Spain when the engine blew up. Thankfully I have Nationwide’s Flex Plus bank account which has international breakdown cover and they towed it all the way back to England for me.
How did you get into shooting film and what's the appeal?
I used film when I first began shooting. First with disposables and then my Dad gave me a Nikon SLR when I was 14. A number of shots from the first few rolls came out really good and it made an impression on me. Photography and art and music was there in our house along with cameras so the idea of creating and making something great came early. Back in the day my older brother was always opening my eyes to the possibilities of what you can do with a camera, He’s a great photographer too.
For me, I become more serious about photography when I moved to Leeds to study. I started playing in bands and going to gigs and festivals all the time. Naturally I took my camera and started capturing it all. Film is perfect for this, it suits me and suits my style. Grainy, dreamy, classic, rock kinda style. Although It’s not perfect for capturing a show in a dark venue. Imagine, stumbling around on the monitors right at the front of a punk show. Fumbling with the front of the lens checking the focus whilst the band is constantly moving around the stage. The lights are flashing and changing and everyone is crowd surfing, feet, legs, heads, beer flying everywhere. The other part of the fun (and the frustration) is waiting. You remember the shots that you set up and made happen and the ones you moved to get, but you don’t know how they will come out, or if they will work how you had envisioned. Then when they do come out how you planned, it’s a magic feeling.
What cameras and film do you usually shoot with?
I have an old ROSS MD - 35 which I love and used a lot for the upcoming BAD LOVE exhibition. The Nikon F55 that my Dad gave me and a Canon AE1 (1979) which I bought in Vietnam, The guy in the shop was fixing the battery part of it as I was buying it, it’s all bashed up and battered but that can give some beautiful light leaks. I’m also shooting often with a Canon 5Diii.
Tell us about this exhibition that's coming up?
BAD LOVE is a photography exhibition that shows a series of photos from the trip I made earlier this year to California and the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. There’s a nice mixture of live music photos, portraits of the bands and artists back stage, some travel photos and some party snaps thrown in for good measure. I’m always trying to capture the feeling and style of the band, so that when you look at the photos you can feel their music. Johnny Owen of Live Nation who was at SXSW and Little Lili will DJ at the launch of the exhibition on Wednesday 6th June and will be jamming out tunes from all the best bands that played the festival. There will be a number of A3 framed prints available and smaller post card size prints too. All profits from print sales will go to Youth Music Charity. The show’s open until the 22nd.
What's next for you in 2018?
After the exhibition launch I fly out to join the band Rival Sons on their European festival tour and will be documenting that. It's going to be an experience for sure. Then along with some UK festivals throughout the summer, I’m going to come back to London and really work more on my photography and also illustrations which I haven’t done for some years now. The aim is to keep on working hard and dream about a surf trip somewhere hot at the end of the year.