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.

 

Maximum Harpist

An iconic image of The Who‘s Pete Townshend and his trademark “windmilling” guitar-playing style might seem like an odd starting point for promotional photographs of a harpist, now I come to think of it…

But Fran of “Poppy Harp” is no ordinary harpist (as you might have seen in previous posts). She’s the total antithesis of the traditional image of a classical harpist – you know, hair in a bun, twin-set, pearls, sensible shoes… She’s definitely on the rock and roll end of the harp-playing spectrum and I wanted to try a photograph which reflected that. So inspired by this classic mid-sixties promo poster for The Who…

…I came up with these…

 

Great fun. Many thanks to Fran for being such a great sport. See her website here

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.

Harping On

When I was asked to do some promo photographs for a harpist, I felt compelled to warn her that my studio is at the bottom of two flights of stairs – I had imagined a huge harp of the sort you see on TV. It was quite a surprise then when she said she’d be bringing two of them. Thankfully, they didn’t quite measure up to my mental image of them, and the harpist wasn’t built like a Russian hammer thrower with one huge harp slung under each arm. Far from it. This is just a small selection from a very productive shoot…

Nope, definitely not quite what I was expecting. But a great fun shoot with a very talented and photogenic subject.

Find out more about Fran and Poppy Harp here