Jolly! How the hell are you these days man? You seem busier every time we chat to you, you sure you’ve got time for an interview between all the gigs you’re at?
Haha hell yeah you could say that, I think the last month I been shooting a gig or just going down to support a band. You guys are the same, NHC have been flat to the mat too! Go you! Do I have the time? Always got time for you guys!
Tell us a wee bit about yourself to introduce you to the readers who haven’t yet met you. Tell us a wee bit about how you started what you are doing?
Well we should change that! I’m telling you now, your life would change if you met me. I’m Sebastian Akehurst otherwise known as the Jolly Bearded Photographer, specialising in Music and event photography. Moving from my family home in Armagh, N.Ireland, I moved to this mad lovely city of Glasgow. With intentions that I was going to be here for 5weeks last year, this rapidly changed as I you crazy scots have accepted my ever growing furry face.
What can I say....At the moment I’m taking on my second year of being on Jolly Bearded Photographer. No intention of stopping at all!
What got you into photography in the first place?
hmm... good question! Going back now 3 years ago in my final year of my course in University of Ulster, Coleraine N.I. I had experimented with working in the subject of Toy & War Photography. As I had sat in lectures and listening to hours of theory in types of photography for a long time. With the success of my project ‘Stray Bullets’ that explored the D-Day, Vietnam and The Middle East conflict. I flew out to the wonderful city of San Francisco where I worked for 3 months.
Sadly with my visa running to a end, I flew back to Armagh discovering no more student loans and I had to become a adult or least act like one haha. The idea of that I remember a lot of my classmates (not to sound like a big head here) but that I had produced some sweet photographs so the idea of expanding my photography went into affect. For instance I always had a great love for music so I thought I would combine my photography with... Going down to a small gig back in 2014...
Most importantly, do you use a beard oil?
haha YES! Cannot have a name like Jolly Bearded Photography and not have a well groomed BEARD. sacrilege I say! haha
Well at the moment I have a collection of beard products from oils, shampoos and conditioner from this xmas and even a EPIC BEARD COMB with added bottle opener (Cheers to pal Marcus!)
So, tell us about some of your best jobs then, any stand out gigs you’ve done recently where the bands you were there to see impressed you a bit more than the batting average?
Wow! That is one tough question! Recently that’s a lot of gigs! Can’t just answer saying “i love them all” haha
This is going to be a long answer... I will summarise to 4 out of zillion haha
Number 1: Hmmm...back in January (29th) I had one of my biggest shoots down in Tuts. I was there to shoot the singer/songwriter “Adam Ross Green” who was down to support the artist Alex
Clare along side another singer/songwriter Luke Quinn. I had been down from the beginning of soundcheck and had been over the moon in receiving my first photo pass. With having the pass I was like i’m going to stay here all night now ha! cause i was aim to watch the other performances at gigs. Managed to get a few snaps of Luke and Alex’s set, where when it was closing up I got found by his manager. She was like “you get a shot of Alex? and I replied I did and her next question “when can you get for me!?” I was like give me 20mins, so i got home and was over the moon about it so I touched it up turned it to black/white as requested and added my logo. BOOM it popped up on his Instagram/facebook. it’s now at 654likes on insta and fb on 400likes! Guess it’s being there at the right time ha!
Adam Ross Greene: https://www.facebook.com/adamrossgreene/
Luke Quinn: https://www.facebook.com/lukequinnmusic/
Alex Clare: https://www.facebook.com/alexclaremusic/
Number 2: This St.Paddy’s day i had my first debut down at The Cathouse! Meeting and Shooting a band managed by NHC very own Chrissy Mullen, Painting Rockets who were in support of another fantastic band The Virginmarys! This gig was fantastic as it was my second time with a pass but this time “AAA” I felt amazing with getting to meet Ally Dickaty and Danny Dolan from Virginmarys! Getting a night out in the Cathouse was also a fun way to spend the rest of the night!
Number 3: When I moved over here I made friends with a lot of people and one band (Awkward Family Portraits) in particular that I had met busking, long story short from seeing them start to releasing their debut EP this year was something to be fantastic. Very pleased for them and recommend the to get down and see them.
Finally Number 4: Last one I for now!
The mad Easter weekend where I joined you mad guys for a night in the Barrowlands for ICW’s Barramania for the WestGap food drive! Well I say that was night! Big respect for that photographer who takes the snaps, I was amazed!
How different is the local music scene in Glasgow to where you worked at first?
Very different! Of course there are gigs in N.Ireland but in my town I had a sweet set up where as the photographer for the bar (Viva) had great collection of music every weekend. From TradRock (Finvola), Metal (Thunderwolf, Seventhson. - N.Ireland) Rock (The Rival Movement, Obsidian ) Singer/song writers (Ben Reel)
Seventhson. - N.Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/SeventhSonNI/
Since I met promoters and band members out here it’s been crazy! For instance, about 3 weeks ago I had 27 different events that on in Glasgow and Belfast. I love to be at all them but it’s going to a few and saying I be back for a some.
Any unusual photography related injuries that you can share with us?
Since I started this mad business I came to the conclusion to explain to band members i’m shooting that if they do hit me and knock me out that they should just make sure my camera is ok and just place me in the corner. I wake up eventually and with a cool scar!
But for now I haven’t really injured myself, but I have when I was starting out got really enthusiastic at this bar back home (Viva bar) when a band called (Gozer the Traveller) were playing at. I just jumped onto the sofas to get a arial shot of the crowd and band, but I ended up smashing my head off the ceiling. I survived, shook it off and carried on with the night.
Gozer the Traveller: https://www.facebook.com/Gozer-the-Traveller-293365147519890/
If i do get a injury I'll be sure to have a witty post about it on my social media, like a busted nose and me still grinning through the blood and beard haha more likely happen with you mad bunch haha
What pisses you off most when you are at a gig to take photographs then. Is it an unresponsive band, dodgy lighting, or smoke machines?
(Or have we missed out the possibly worst, too many other photographers at the one gig!)
ahah photographers only annoy me if they get in my shot!
Having gigs in bars, you do get a drunks thinking its the paparazzi for them but sometimes you just take the snap instead of having a argument with one - safe option.
Oh, and dodgy lighting and smoke machines to be completely honest, it’s all about adapting to the surroundings, I know this sounds horribly cliched, but it’s true. Sadly not all venues will have a lighting rig. I been to a few where the lighting is a few lamps scattered across the stage!
I have not yet got a unresponsive band. I guess only if I used to go some gigs and just take my camera and the band hadn’t a clue who I was but they would give a look of let’s not f**k up, play all right. Most bands just completely blank and go in their zone and I’m in mine.
So, what’s new for Jolly Bearded Photography in 2017 then, anything special on the horizon! The floor is yours!
Well at the moment I’m planning a lot of fun things for instance my iconic hoodie I have is now filling up I’m planning my next one haha with some new designs.
Keep pushing my name out, I have always joked about getting a blimp with my name on it just to fly over Glasgow and other neighbouring cites. Although does that sound like I’m setting up a dictatorship! haha
Start pushing my blog out more with reviews and bands that have been ranting about with family/ friends and anyone who wants to listen. In January I had begun a two part piece on Blogger where I broke the whole story down about JBP. From my first gig to how I got up here! Maybe write a piece for you lovely guys! Would you like that?
I'm also hoping to get into doing some PR for bands, and assisting bands I know from N.I to get over here. Introduce them to all of the NHC, I’m sure you guys all won’t mind.
Last year I managed to get some work in the EP design department for:
Awkward Family Portraits, Zenga The Titan and FNUF. This really was a fun time for some I ended up taking a few promo shoots that became apart of some of the finalised covers!
Also finally I hope to get my toys out of the toy box for some more personal photography and hope get some prints up of my existing pieces. So this very exciting, I tell you one thing, coffee and an adrenaline to keep going is the drive here.