FOCUS: Scarlet Page
23 July 2020
Prolific documentary music photographer Scarlet Page talks to us about she embarked on a career photographing the stars of the music industry. The pandemic for some has unleashed a new creative path, read on to find out more behind Scarlet's lockdown project Buddy.
© Scarlet Page. Stereophonics - Performance and Cocktails album artwork.
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into photography?
I completed a degree in Photo Arts at PCL/University of Westminster for three years in the early 90’s. I went on to assist Ross Halfin, a photographer in the ‘rock’ business for about 18 months before branching out on my own. I didn’t set out to be a music photographer but it felt comfortable to be one having grown up in a musical household.
© Scarlet Page. Slash - Resonators
You have photographed many a music star. Can you tell us about any stand out shoots?
I love photographing the really visual artists such as Marilyn Manson but at the same time love photographing musicians who ‘hate’ having their photograph taken, I feel their pain but try to make it as quick and painless as possible striving to capture the essence of the subject in as natural way as possible! In the last year I worked with Stereophonics again on their number one album doing all the press shots, which was brilliant as I have worked with them over the years since 1996.
© Scarlet Page. Chrissie Hynde - Resonators
Can you offer any advice on how to engage with your subject?
I hate being photographed so feel empathy for my subject, some are natural performers but the more reluctant ones I try to draw out with a mix of silly banter and working fast. My lighting set ups are unfussy and I love to work with natural light too depending on what the final result needs to be. I like the images to look like it was a scenario that was really happening rather than a set up shoot.
© Scarlet Page. Brian Molko - Kerrang Magazine
The pandemic has had a huge effect on the music industry, has this allowed you to develop a new creative path with your Buddy project? We’d love to hear more about how it came about
Yes, all the events I had been booked for have been moved to 2021 and I have spoken with press officers about FaceTime shoots that their artists have done, sounds interesting! I have been able to indulge in digitising my negatives and slides that I shot from ’94-2007 and focus on my print sales side of the business which has been keeping me afloat. ‘Buddy' was a project I have always wanted to do, during lockdown it was a creative necessity for me to shoot something. Luckily for me when my other half got home from work I could escape and shoot in the early evenings during lockdown. All the shots were done quickly in the gardens and neighbour hoods of the kids. The only requirement was that they hold their ‘buddy’. One of my children aged 9, has leaned very heavily on comfort toys at this time and this also inspired me to push forward with the idea. I like the parallel this forms with my Resonators project where I photographed guitarists with their guitars, their number one love, their raison d’être.
© Scarlet Page. David Bowie - Press shot.
As a relatively new member of our community can you talk about your reasons for joining the AOP.
My friend Adele Rider has always had a connection with the AOP and pre lockdown I came to a talk that she gave on ‘mindfulness for photographers’, we photographer’s spend much time on our own and I felt it would be invaluable to be part of a community which could inspire and offer support. As a represented photographer at Female Perspective I became a member before lockdown and it has really given me so much in these last few months. I have made incredible contacts and watched many webinars by AOP and f22 group.