FILM/TALK: Photography A Visual Language: The Music Document Part 1

This short film is part of a conversation featuring photographers Danny North, Tom Oldham and Roger Sargent hosted by John Kennedy. In this film they discuss how they began working as music photographers, the role of the photographer in collaboration with artists and the trials and tribulations of working with magazines and record companies. 

You can see Part 2 by visiting

This talk was part of a day of talks titled Photography A Visual language: A Day of Conversation held by us in collaboration with Van Arts: Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, Canada and the Editorial and Advertising photography course at the University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Film courtesy of Reece Pickering and Tchad Findlay.

Roger Sargent was born in London in 1970 to a maverick English teacher mother and a father who filmed TV classics The Professionals and Minder. Roger’s transient childhood took in Somerset and South Africa, with a brief break in Gwent along the way. After becoming a mod with a passion for punk rock, he joined Magnum legend David Hurn’s documentary photography course, but almost dropped out to go on the road with Fabulous, a band made up of NME Journalists and porn stars. On graduating – and following a brief sojourn at Melody Maker and I.D. Roger went to the NME, surviving trauma and trends for a decade. Having worked for Rolling Stone, Mojo, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian amongst others, he has most recently won critical and popular acclaim for two major exhibitions, The Libertines – Boys In The Band and Future Legends.

Tom Oldham is a London based portrait photographer, who first started shooting music 25 years ago. Starting out at raves (as a means of getting in free, obviously), Tom regularly featured in titles such as Sleaze Nation and Ministry magazine, before entering into the far murkier waters of brand and PR work. Music has always run concurrently with this commercial work, and Tom recently completed a six year long book project titled On/Off as a fundraiser for the charity War Child, where he captured portraits of artists the second before going on stage and then the moment they left the stage. Tom has also produced over seventy covers for The Fly magazine, features in the 2016 Taylor Wessing portrait prize and today proudly contributes portraits to MOJO magazine.

Danny North’s work is broad in subject matter from portraits of strangers in Brazil, longboarders in the Ukraine, or the Foo Fighters for the cover of Rolling Stone, Danny North is exceptional at capturing the spirit of the moment. Proudly raised in the North of England and now based in London, his dynamic portraiture and lifestyle photography has been commissioned by clients such as MasterCard, Apple, Clarks, Interscope, Atlantic, Sony, Virgin, Universal and Capitol Records. His work has also been published in Newsweek, The Guardian, The Independent, Shortlist, NME and Q Magazine.

John Kennedy presents and produces X-Posure four nights a week for Radio X, formerly Xfm. The show has run since 1999 and was the first to give airtime to a wide variety of bands and artists from Adele to MIA, Mumford & Sons to The xx, Clean Bandit to Razorlight. He has been described as the ‘doyen of underground alternative music’ by the Observer, ‘acclaimed, respected, intelligent’ by The Independent, and in The Times as having ‘long been putting together shows that demolish genre boundaries and confound expectations’. John has, as Q magazine once put it ‘like the late John Peel, relentlessly championed new music’. He has interviewed everyone from Paul McCartney to Joanna Newsom, Wiley to Iggy Pop, Femi Kuti to Nick Cave. He has been DJing since he was a student, puts on gigs every month and has been sharing his musical taste on the airwaves since 1988.

%d bloggers like this: