New Project-29

Picture Perfect: Sheffield pals open Studio 6 at The Leadmill

Words: Laura Mills

This year, two students at Sheffield Hallam University, Tom and Reece, have set up their own photography studio at The Leadmill. The lads met at a gig in York that they were both photographing and were instantly connected by their passion for music, film photography and gigs. For Reece, this venture is a dream come true and has been on his bucket list for years!

Currently, the studio is still being set up, but when lockdown is lifted they hope to invite a variety of bands and models down to snap. To enable them to carry out this work, they have a range of high-tech equipment in the studio including a professional setup of backdrops and general studio lighting such as umbrella lights and softboxes. Tom and Reece have a Canon 6D Mk ii each, plus a collection of film cameras: Pentax K1000, Nishika N8000, Canon AE-1 Program and a Mamiya RB67. They’re hoping to release an IGTV series soon where they review these cameras and give general information about them.

What are they hoping to gain from doing this? They want to work with a range of musicians from the Sheffield music scene as well as gaining a large following from locals. However, they aspire to work further afield too with artists from cities like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. Tom explains how he loves speaking to musicians and promoters: “They have insights and you just learn so much, so any experience and knowledge gained is always a win.”

During this project it’s not only bands they hope to work with but other external organisations too including local camera shops. There’s an aspiration to work with Sheffield artists such as Pete Mckee one day too as Tom is a “huge fan of McKee and his art style”. This project isn’t the first taste they’ve had of working in a studio: both have experience in academic studios and Tom photographed a gig at The Leadmill before Coronavirus hit, Sabella’s final show in January of last year.

One thing I really admire about these two is despite the past year almost drying up most people’s motivation and creativity, they’re still putting their heart and souls into making this project work. Even in these unprecedented times, they have adapted their approach to making sure any work in the studio is carried out while safely, sectioning up the studio with tape to enable people to keep 2m apart and ensuring plenty of masks and sanitiser for when they can invite people down. They plan to also offer outdoor shoots to help keep themselves and clients safe.

I was keen to find out how they thought Covid-19 had affected creative startups like their own. Tom explains: “In terms of the music industry, I think it’s really struggling; smaller bands are finding it hard to manage to stay together and to keep inspiration. We haven’t had anyone in yet and the rules about photography has been a bit vague. The Government are sending a few mixed messages; they need to crack down on the rules and start being specific and methodical about it now.” He adds, “Bit jealous of New Zealand really.”

Looking optimistically into the future, the lads have their own personal goals. Tom expresses how Reece is a huge fan of bands such as Cassia, Giant Rooks and Bastille, “so if he manages to photograph or go on tour with them at some point, I’m sure he’d be ecstatic. For me, the dream has always been to photograph Sheffield artists, and I’m a huge fan of Richard Hawley, Arctic Monkeys, Reverend and the Makers and every Joe Carnall project – he’s probably my favourite musician.”

Whatever these guys explore in the future, I’m sure with the grit and determination they both possess, they will prosper. Good Luck!

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