About ten years ago I did some filming on the sands at Morecambe Bay for an audio/visual piece I was working on while studying for my degree. I remember at the time being massively impressed by the vast expanse of the place and remember the resulting film being, visually, very satisfying. So, when I got the opportunity to photograph ‘The Grand’, an excellent three piece rock band from Wakefield, I immediately knew where I wanted to do the shoot. The only question was, could I remember how to get to the exact location I’d been to a decade earlier?
I had an idea for a composite image comprising three separate images, each featuring all three members of the band but with a different member of the band being the focal point in each. The band member who was the main focal point of the photograph would face the camera and the other two band members would stand either side, at varying distances behind, facing out to the sides. If I’d planned it correctly, when all three images were brought together it would hopefully appear that certain members of the band on the periphery were facing themselves, which I thought might make for a more interesting and engaging image.
It proved to be a really challenging shoot, mainly because of the weather conditions, which, it being late January, were pretty awful! The gale coming in off the Irish Sea made it very hard for Russ, Tom and Andy to look anything other than absolutely frozen to bloody death when they were supposed to be going for cool and enigmatic, and it also played havoc with my tripod positioning, as did the wet sand into which it kept slowly sinking. On top of that it was beginning to rain and the tide was quickly coming in. Not being in possession of any knowledge of tidal times, I wasn’t actually prepared for the tide being in… Although waves can probably look quite pleasing otherwise, when trying to create a seamless composite image they make things slightly more difficult. Same goes for the ever darkening clouds affecting the light.
I’d envisaged spending quite a long time on this shoot, ensuring that the positioning of each band member was as consistent as it could be between each shot and that I compensated for any changes in light etc… so that the final composite would be as seamless as possible. In reality we were on the beach for as long as we could stand the adverse conditions, which was about ten minutes, tops! Still, I think we did okay, all things considered, and managed to capture some cool looking shots that belie the conditions under which they were taken.
And did I find the exact location on Morecambe Bay? Regrettably, my inner homing pigeon let me down. The fish and chip cafe just off Blackpool’s sea front, however, did not.