Manchester’s bustling bar Sandinista has just launched an exhibition of photography by Tom Martin – a photographer (often known for his work with NME and Kerrang!) whose latest project has been securing shots of our favourite live music artists. Tom was born in West Yorkshire, but over the last ten years has crossed continents in the quest to capture the stunning live music photographs and portrait-work he is known for. 2015 sees him bring the best to Manchester, with a selection of snaps set to include Jay Z, Metallica and lots of Leeds Fest features as just some options.
Therefore you can really get into a musical mood at Sandinista this December. The non-conformist, cool-feeling bar will provide all you need to enjoy Tom’s photographs – which show contemporary music photography at its finest. Expect energy, enthusiasm and experience a-plenty: here is a photographer who emphasizes that the visuals of music matter, not just the sound.
And it matters that it is taking place in our great city! Tom himself was keen to reflect on why he wanted to make the most of a chance to showcase his skills in Manchester in particular:
Your photographs (especially on your website) show your range of encounters and experiences throughout the world! Why are you bringing them to Manchester?
I grew up near Sowerby Bridge, which is right in the middle of Leeds and Manchester and I’ve lived around here all my life. Both cities hold significance to me, I endlessly get asked if I’m going to move to London for my career but I’m happy here in the North, it’s where I want to be. When I had the opportunity to show this work across both cities I jumped at the change. I also really wanted to put these photographs up in good lively bars. These are shots from loud messy shows, I want people to be able to have a drink and a chat and see them, rather than being in a quiet, cringy gallery!
The upcoming exhibition is set to showcase live music photography. Why did you decide on this focus in particular?
I’ve done a few exhibitions over the last couple of years with pictures of people, fashion and reportage but I’ve never done a show of my live music images, which is ridiculous really because it’s such a big part of what I do. I realised that it’s been 10 years since I started shooting live and that I’ve built up this big archive of shots that just sit on hard drives. There are lots of photos in this show of pretty huge name bands that no one has ever seen before.
When we think of music, we often think of sound. Why is photography important here too?
Ooh good question! I’m not ever sure that it is really that important?! I think there is a place and a demand for quality images of live music because people want a record of that gig or event. The right image can tell the story of a performance and capture the atmosphere so it can be remembered and seen by people who weren’t there.
Who/what was your favourite musician/act to photograph? Why was this?
I don’t think I could choose just one band but I did love shooting the Live from Jodrell Bank shows. It’s a very special venue for live music, The Flaming Lips, Elbow, New Order and loads more bands played there whilst there were projections onto the satellite dish and lasers and all sorts. There was so much going on at those shows that I didn’t know where to look and what to shoot.
If you could photograph any musical artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Maybe Notorious BIG when he was younger rapping on street corners in Brooklyn, I always thought that would have been so cool to photograph.
What are your future photography plans? Do you have any other projects?
I guess just to try and keep evolving what I’m shooting really. I get bored I want my work to be interesting, especially to me, so I just keep trying to say yes to shooting new things and going to new places. Nope no projects at the moment, although I’ve always got a wish list of schemes on the go and I’m quite spur of the moment with it so who knows what’s around the corner!
So get yourself down to Sandinista for Tom’s fine photography, as well as their tempting cocktail and dining offers. You are sure to leave with so much more than just food for thought. There are photographs fit for every course. Sandinista, 2 Old Bank St, City Centre, Manchester M2 7PF
You can also visit Tom’s website for more information and photographs: http://www.tmoose.co.uk/