“All too often in this game you just don’t know where your next cheque is coming from” – Danny North, music photographer."
It was the toy camera key ring present from his wife that really did it for Danny North – a rising star in the music photography firmament.
For Yorkshire-based Danny (34) it’s always been about music - but his initial game plan was to strike a major chord on the band scene rather than in the creation of music imagery.
“Ever since my dad took me to see Iron Maiden play live I just knew that music was going to be my life” he tells Litebook. “Then he bought me a guitar and gave me full support when my wife Michelle and I played together in a band. We weren’t bad at all and played to 2000-strong audiences from time to time.”
But he adds: “Doing anything at all creative and original is always tough and when you are a support band you often end up playing for not much more than diesel money.”
It was when Michelle, his childhood sweetheart, bought him a VGA camera that Danny finally realised that his career in music ought to be as a photographer, not a guitarist. “This toy camera triggered everything for me” he recalls. “It was my first realisation of the sheer versatility and immediacy of digital technology. I did start a BTECH course in photography when I was sixteen but all these years later this camera really opened my mind as to future possibilities in the profession.”
Danny moved up to a Canon 2MP point and shoot camera, “I searched for one with manual settings so I could do exactly what I wanted creatively” – and began shooting portraits of Leeds-based bands for a fanzine.
“I wasn’t making any money but I was getting my work seen” he says. “Then the New Musical Express (NME) saw my images and gave me a commission.
I remember earning £75 for photographing a gig - and I was like a kid in a sweetshop. There I was doing something I loved and I was being paid for it.
I had also spent some time as a sound engineer in a working men’s club, handling the sound for various bands, but I would also have to worry about drunks spilling beer on my mixing deck - so that wasn’t a very creative period for me.
But to start working at a job you really love and feel that you are actually getting somewhere is just the best feeling of all”
Now Danny is becoming well-known in the industry. He is the tour photographer for top band, The Kaiser Chiefs and he’s a major contributor to Spin Magazine (New York) plus many other titles, including national newspapers in the UK.
He has also just picked up a coveted commendation in the elite Lex Van Rossen European Music Photographer of the Year Awards; hosted two exhibitions and published a book.
A recent stills highlight was a commission to be on stage with Oasis.
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