Extreme Harping

Early evening, December, and I’m on a Birmingham rooftop photographing mega-talented harpist/tutor/entrepreneur Fran Barsby (of PoppyHarp) for a CD with a working title of (I think) “At the edge”. There’s a cold breeze and occasional spots of wintry rain. And it’s freezing!!!! Myself and my glamorous assistant Alastair Barnsley are wrapped up in thick coats, scarves, and wherever possible, gloves. Fran, however, is wearing what you can see in these images apart from brief moments in a coat as we walk between locations. I’m shivering just typing this. So just to make Fran REALLY uncomfortable, I persuaded her to climb onto various barriers and fences with her harp and try to balance. Easypeasy.


A Swift Harp

I’ve photographed the multi-talented Fran “Poppy Harp” Barsby quite a few times over the last couple of years and last week I had the opportunity to see the performing “harpist” and “event organiser” aspect of her very diverse range of talents.

Fran had organised a harp music event in Digbeth, Birmingham entitled Hidden Gem by The Future Blend Project and I (along with a couple of intrepid members of FOTO-CLUB) went along to record the event photographically.

The guys who arrived early were able to get some great shots of the setting up of the event as well as non-performers trying out some of the fantastic range of harps that were being prepared for the show.

However,  I arrived rather later (don’t ask) but was in plenty of time for the start of the show. What I hadn’t reckoned on, however, was that the concert was being recorded too which meant that our noisy DSLR shutters were messing up the sound recordings even from some distance away. This meant that I didn’t get as many shots of the performance as I would have liked but it was a very enjoyable evening and we were treated to some simply beautiful new compositions and performances. Here are a few shots from the event…

The lady herself - Fran Barsby

The lady herself – Fran Barsby

Stretching In The City

A while back I photographed harpist/author/teacher/designer Fran Barsby for her ever-growing Poppy Harp brand. A couple of other shoots later and I’m out on the windy chilly streets of Digbeth, Birmingham, an area renowned for it’s amazing graffiti, to take some illustration images for Fran’s new book on stretching and warm-up routines for musicians. The location was Fran’s choice, wanting some urban grit and graffiti as an interesting counterpoint to her various stretching positions. Ably assisted by partner Elliott, they stretched while I shot (& shivered – it was freezing!). Here are a few images from the shoot…

Phew! I was exhausted just watching. But here’s Elliott’s shot of me barely breaking sweat…

To find out more about Fran and Poppy Harp, click here to be directed to her website.