Interview: CK Goldiing
#100Musicians saw TV presenter and photographer CK Goldiing leave his Sheffield home on July 7th 2015, heading to London armed only with his camera, a bag of clothes and £100 cash. His challenge was to shoot promo shots for 100 unsigned London musicians, and in return the musicians paid CK whatever they considered fair. Living off contributions from the artists alone, he was constantly an ungrateful client away from missing a meal or being unable to afford a hostel bed. Over six months later, and after successfully completing his #100Musicians challenge, Callum Hay caught up for a chat with the man himself to reflect on his astounding journey.
‘I get all my best ideas in the morning,’ CK Goldiing declares, as we discuss how he came to embark on this journey. ‘I found something attractive about making yourself so vulnerable, putting myself and the brand out there on this epic adventure.’ He does admit, however, that it was very difficult at the start to get the ball rolling. ‘People sort of had the attitude, “I don’t know what this guy’s on, but I’m not interested.”’ Yet the local music advocate used the frequent open mic nights in the city to spread the word and connect with the musicians that were so crucial in making the challenge work.
Money was tight, and hostel conditions were not always comfortable. ‘There was no sanitation in a couple of places,’ he recalls. ‘There was one place where the toilet was so bad it was as if it hadn’t been cleaned since it was installed.’ He initially vowed never to return to such a place, but admitted that when money was tight he had no other choice. ‘I remember waking up in one hostel, looking over to what used to be my loaf of bread, only to find that a mouse had completely gone through the thing. I was fuming at the time, but then again I suppose the poor thing was just trying to survive and he took advantage of some idiot who’d left his bread out.’
The artists he shot would often give him a place to stay when he was in need; bands such as Redwire, and radio DJ Loretta Andrews provided CK with a bed for the night on more than a few occasions. ‘Without these people it simply would not have been possible, I realised if you have faith that people can be kind, inviting and hospitable, then that is what you will find.’ He would often try and reciprocate the kindness he received, offering free shoots when he had enough money to be comfortable – and comfortable on a challenge like this meant 40 or 50 quid to his name.
Throughout the journey he admits that there were low points, and at times the prospect of getting through all 100 musicians seemed like an impossible task, but claims that giving up was not an option. It was the power of positivity that got him through the tough times. ‘There is absolutely no doubt that positive thinking was the cornerstone of doing this.’ But in spite of the low points, CK now feels when reflecting on the challenge that he is a more patient and forgiving individual; ‘not to say I was not a friendly person before, because that would not be the truth, but I would definitely say that since the challenge my eyes have been opened to just how friendly people can be.’
Over the course of the six months, highlights were many and hard to pick out; but his work being featured in the likes of Red Bull UK, and also on Creative Boom, an online artist’s platform which he admires, particularly made the challenge worthwhile and all the more rewarding. Yet most of all it is the personal relationships created throughout his journey that has stuck with him, ‘the genuine friendships’ which made him happiest.
Reflecting upon what he has gained from the experience, and where he will go next, the Sheffield snapper tells me the challenge has taught him to not hesitate when putting his ideas into practice, ‘to go out there and just do it’, and that his focus now lies with developing ideas, and creating unique and engaging concepts that are primarily people-driven. So watch this space for his next project.
Check out more of CK Goldiing’s stunning work, and find out more about the man on his website HERE or on his social media accounts:
Facebook: CK Goldiing // Twitter: @CKGoldiing