This new blog is about creative success, and one of the most creatively successful people I know is the music photographer Karen McBride.
In my archive there is an article I wrote about her in 2003 entitled Karen McBride, Rock photographer with the X-Factor. Please note that article pre-dated the famous television programme of the same name! Maybe they saw my article and got the idea for the title!
Anyway, since then Karen McBride has carved out a unique career with her inventive, accomplished but often uncompromising photographs of musicians and performers.
A silly and superficial way to judge the merit of photographers is to look at how famous the people they have photographed are. According to that principle, Karen McBride has done pretty well, but I won’t mention any famous artists till further down.
Instead I will make the point that she has always taken a great interest in photographing obscure, unsigned bands who may or may not become famous in the future. In fact most of the artists Karen McBride photographs will never be famous.
But she takes a special interest in all of them and she tells me that the attention she gives them, making them look good in photographs, can be a great encouragement to young performers who may be lacking in confidence and self-esteem.
However a few of those obscure and unknown bands photographed by Karen McBride go on to achieve a higher profile. They include the Ting Tings and the Scissor Sisters.
And she has also photographed a singer named Robbie Williams on his European tour, as the official photographer for the sponsors of the tour.
I could reel off a long list of other well-known artists she has photogaphed but if I did, this post would turn into just a piece of publicity copy.
So instead, I’ll just finish with a couple of observations.
You might think that working with famous artists and being featured on the covers of magazines would mean she could bask in the adulation, rest on her laurels and not get out of bed for any but the most prestigious photo shoots. But it’s not like that in today’s world. She still works hard, still photographing obscure artists as well as famous ones, still striving to maintain her hard won creative success.
The other thing is simply that her style is very quirky and often goes against the rules of conventional rock photography. She takes risks – they don’t always work – but she is single-minded in her creative vision and a stickler for technical details. I think that is one of the keys to her success.
She’s done loads of other stuff as well, so take a look at http://www.karenmcbride.com And that’s all I have to say about Karen McBride – here are a few of my favourite images of hers.
444 words written on the 42 bus!, a few more added later Excellently concise Aidan (for a change!)