Photographing Moonrakers

Photographing Moonrakers

January saw me heading down to Oxford to photograph Moonrakers, a folk ensemble that along with their brand new recruit Jacqui, have a bunch of shows booked for 2019 and needed new images to promote the heck out of them.

I suppose I’m slightly biased, but the decision to invest in images for any band or artist makes total sense to me; it’s tough trying to attract the attention of promoters or punters at the best of times, let alone with tired old photos of yourselves that have been kicking around on social media for years…

It was the first time I’d met any of the band. You always want to create a good first impression; I’d done my usual homework by learning everyone’s name beforehand and watched through all their existing videos and site content. What I hadn’t done, however, is researched where the band’s name may have come from. As soon as the subject of their band-name ‘Moonrakers’ came up, I proudly announced ‘James Bond, innit?’ referring obviously to the Roger Moore 1979 Bond classic.

“No” replied Jon, the band’s founder”it’s not”. ‘Ah, right’, I thought, immediately regretting my confident outburst. Obviously they’re not going to name a folk band after a Bond film (although to be fair, ‘Goldeneye’ would be a pretty cool name)…

It turns out Moonrakers refers to a folky legend about some smugglers who’d hidden some contraband in a village pond, but when they were caught trying to retrieve it out of the pond with rakes by HM Revenue and Customs (who were probably called something else back then), they pointed at the reflection of the moon in the water and said they were trying to retrieve the round cheese. I’m not sure I completely get the story, although to be fair it’s no more probable than the plot of the Moonraker movie. Moonraker wasn’t the worst of the bond films though; at least it didn’t star Timothy Dalton who in my opinion was the worst Bond of all time…

Anyway, I’ve drifted back onto Bond films (sorry Jon). Keen to recover the situation, I got on with the business of taking some photos.

Moonrakers were lovely people to hang out with. I think it was their first photo shoot as a band and naturally folks are a bit apprehensive about some stranger pointing a camera at them (which by the way, I completely empathise with; I hate having my photo taken). My aim is always to take the job seriously but not too seriously…I’d like it to feel like your mate is just taking some snaps of you on their phone. Normally after about twenty minutes, most people have forgotten about the camera and that’s how it was with Moonrakers…

Most of the images were just a single flash head through a white umbrella. The images taken outside by the wall actually had the band sandwiched between a parked car and some large rubbish bins which, due to some selective framing and a tiny bit of photoshop, you’d never have known unless I told you…

As I said at the top of the article, Moonrakers have a bunch of stuff coming up so if you want to go and see them in person, check out their site.

Thanks to Sarah, Jacqui, Eleanor and Jon for putting up with me… 🙂

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