Wolverhampton School of Art

Students photograph the Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festival

BA (Hons) final-year Photography students, Bradley Pearce and Charlotte Walker, were invited by Big Bear Music, the organisers of the Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, to document the 2015 festival through photography.

The festival involved around 175 performances across 40 venues including New Street station, Selfridges and the Mailbox, with almost all of them free to the public. Most forms of Jazz and Blues are featured as well as a lot of loosely related music. Bands and musicians come from across the region, the rest of the UK as well as from many other countries to perform.

Before starting work on the festival, Charlotte and Bradley attended a Photography workshop held by award-winning photographer, Merlin Daleman and the festival’s director, Jim Simpson. At the workshop they looked at work from the previous year; analysing the images and discussing how they would be able to generate the crowd and band interaction when they started the project.

Charlotte told us: "Working with Big Bear Music was brilliant; having hands-on experience and working with a number of people in the photography industry; opening new doors and opportunities for work. 

"This helped me to develop people skills and to be able to 'capture the moment' and create a client base for the music industry."

Sarah Yang from Big Bear Music told us: “The work that they produced is excellent, they have some stunning shots. They are also both extremely courteous people and a pleasure to have around. It is a great pleasure to work with students of photography from the university and we will be pleased to offer shooting opportunities for the future events.”

Following their success at the festival their photographs were displayed as part of an exhibition at Birmingham New Street from December – January 2016.

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