26.03.2012, Words by Charlie Jones

The lively shots of Dan Medhurst

A Hackney-based music portrait shoot, Dan Medhurst has shot Afrikan Boy, Katy B and Andreya Triana, as well as working for brands like Adidas, Coke Zero and Vans. His style is surprisingly straight, bringing a satisfying traditionalism to music photography, not least because of his ability to light his subjects perfectly. We caught up with him briefly last week, and asked to see more of his photos.

Where did you grow up?

I did a fair bit of traveling about when I was growing up. I was born in Leicester, soon moved to London, spent my formative years in North London, then my parents moved us to a small town in the countryside called Stamford, a couple of winters in Chamonix, then Lincoln, then Leeds and now I’m back in London. I’m not sure that I have actually ‘grown up’ yet, though. Now I live in luxurious Hackney.

Where did you study?

I studied photography, video and animation at the school of art and design at Lincoln University.

How did you get into shooting portraits and more specifically music portraits?

I have been a fanatical music nerd since I was about 16 so it was only going to be a matter of time before I started shooting it. People are what interest me so I think its natural that I gravitated to shooting portraits, that coupled with the nerdy love of music has brought the two together. I started off photographing a lot of live UK Hip-Hop shows around 2003 and it was a progression from there.


I’m a huge fan of Phillip Halsman’s photography. He’s the guy who shot that amazing portrait of Dali levitating as he paints and at the same time a bucket of water is suspended across the shot, as well as 3 flying cats and hovering chair. He shot that in 1948 on a large format film camera and its still better than loads of photography you see today. I love his approach to making pictures, its like surreal photography. He also shot a series of images titled “Jump” where he asked his subjects to jump in the air for the last few frames of the film. It sounds simple now but it had never been done before and he got some really unique shots of Americas rich and famous.

Anything exciting coming up for you?

Yes there are a few things in the pipeline that are very exciting. I have a couple of things I can’t discuss until everything is confirmed but I’m going to be having a big exhibition toward the end of the year that is being hosted by Paul Smith. Plus I think I’m off to California next month to shoot a magazine feature which should be exciting.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Everything from death metal to bleepy electronica. A few things that I’ve been really into recently are; â–½known ShΔpes, Hidden Orchestra, Shlohmo, Pulled Apart By Horses, Martyn, Taylor McFerrin, Silkie, Submotion Orchestra, Gentlemans Pistols, Throwing Snow, Gold Panda, Children, etc, etc, etc.


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