Erland Cooper at Left Bank!

Words by Nicole Fazlinia

For the very first time, I had the brilliant opportunity to shoot an event at Left Bank Leeds, which was packed with some incredible musical talent on, the behalf of Aire Street Studios, without Mark’s professional guidance for the very first time. To be entirely honest, it was a terrifyingly big hypothetical jump to take, but every decent photographer/journalist newbie would snap a chance like this up without a second thought, so I knew I had to do it. 

No one tells you about how much effort and email correspondence goes on just to be able to get that glorious press pass. Once again, I didn’t have to deal with most of it, clinging onto Mark and Mag’s skirts for dear life, and they snagged a spot for me and a runner on the guest list, with the help of PR manager Ian Cheek. After showing the aforementioned glorious press pass at the door, a PR rep let us into the truly stunning church venue, which boasted high ceilings and beautiful century-old architecture dating all the way back to 1907, previously under the name ‘St Margaret’s church’. To have a shot at different angles of the venue, the staff led us to the back stage area, which featured a dressing room, and an indoor balcony area, overseeing the stage. 

We were lucky enough to have London-based cellist, singer, and song writer (and also the supporting act of Erland Cooper in this case) Midori Jaeger take a quick minute to speak with us here all about her upcoming album, after bumping into her backstage. Although she couldn’t disclose too many details about this mysterious-albeit-exciting news we are sure it will be one to look out for. Soon enough, her set commenced, with her perched centre stage in the intimate and dark atmosphere. Immediately the churches walls were filled with the beautifully calming echos of her cello, and her own unique, emotionally charged lyrics. Her impressive vocal range was combined with her creatively spectacular, emotionally charged (and, more importantly, personal) lyrics to bring a typically classical music string instrument to a whole new genre of music. The churches’ one-of-a-kind, moody-yet-ethereal feel was a perfect match for her alt rock vibe.

After a short break, Erland Cooper himself made an appearance on stage. I had spotted him earlier that evening, as he seemed to be grabbing some emotional support refreshments for last minute energy just before the doors opened, and he seemed just as content as ever, bouncing around stage and addressing the audience as if we were simply long-lost companions - I loved this. In my humble opinion, an artists stage presence, and overall ability to place the audience at ease is a key factor in any performance. Building that sort of trust allows the audience to really understand and immerse themselves in the music. A chance to have the full experience.

Whilst both the pianist legend Cooper and the wonderful support act, Jaeger, were playing, I took it upon myself to snap some pictures, capturing them mid-motion, whilst they are at their most immersed into their respective crafts. Ultimately, this meant I could achieve pictures that truly encapsulate them, and their passion, in real time. Not a sight better to see as an audience member, if you ask me! Although, as a photographer at shows like this you might not be able to help feeling just a bit out of place. I couldn’t help but feel I was disturbing the audience, or the talent themselves, so I tried to keep photography to a minimum, carefully considering and selecting my moments to press that little button sat on top of my camera.

At the end of it all, I got a gloriously unique free show, in return for taking notes, mimicking my thought process, and also just taking a quick pic here and there. Not too shabby, eh? I believe it’s so important to experience as much as we can during what little time we have on this big ball of floating space dirt, so if you want to have a cheeky go, why not reach out to PR staff, the venue, or even ask photographers if you can tag along? Find a way in, you won’t regret it.

Check out my review about Erland Cooper’s brilliantly bird themed show for Leeds Living  To contact Aire Street Studio for headshot photography, events, commercial needs, or studio hire get in contact with here or book a slot on our booking page here 

Catch you in the next article!

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