Login Register

Rock show photographer John Woods showcases star-studded shots at Coffeevolution

Lindley man has been capturing stars in action since the early 1980s including Adam Ant, The Housemartins and Killing Joke

He has captured rock and pop stars in their element.

And now Lindley photographer John Woods is to reveal his outstanding collection of live gig shots to the public for the first time in a new exhibition.

Live action shots of Adam Ant, The Housemartins and Killing Joke will be amongst those that will cover the walls of Coffeevolution on Church Street from 7.30pm today.

They were mostly taken at gigs in Huddersfield , Holmfirth and Leeds from the early 1980s and also include snaps of local bands such as the Killermeters and Shambolic.

Until now the photos have languished in the private collection of John, 50, who is most well-known as being a wedding and family photographer based in the Byram Arcade.

“Sorting through my photos to decide what I wanted to include in the exhibition has been a great process.

“It’s quite a random selection of shots I really like.”

John earned his music photography stripes from touring with the Housemartins.

“I left Huddersfield to go to arts college in Hull where I studied photography and began to roadie with the band. I decided to take photos of them at their gigs. It was the first type of photography I really got into.

“I became friends with the guys and one of my shots made it onto the back of their second album (The People who Grinned Themselves to Death).

“When I moved back to Huddersfield I continued to go to gigs to take photos, which included many at Huddersfield Town Hall, The Picturedrome and Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.

Exhibition of rock concert photographs over the decades by Huddersfield photographer John Woods at Coffee Evolution, Church Street, Huddersfield. Photographer, John Woods.

“I hardly ever had a press pass, so just took them amongst the crowd. Henry Cartier Bresson talked about this thing called the decisive moment, which is when all the waiting for the perfect shot becomes worth it.

“Getting that shot on stage is what I love even though it takes a lot of patience. One of my favourites I’ve taken is of Killing Joke at the Picturedrome in 2014, after waiting for all three guys to walk into the centre stage light.

“Your success can be at the mercy though of the lighting engineer but I try get it right by cranking the ISO up as far as I can.

“I also don’t use flash because it’s distracting for the band. But I get the aperture as close as I can and at the moment I’m using a Fuji XT1 with just a couple of lenses because it’s lightweight, which is what you need.

“The musicians don’t know me but sometimes they ask if they can use my pictures for their websites.”

John took many of the photos simply for his love of the process.

Exhibition of rock concert photographs over the decades by Huddersfield photographer John Woods at Coffee Evolution, Church Street, Huddersfield.

“I’ve never sold any and they’ve just gone into my portfolio because I’m trying to gain another qualification to become an associate of the Master Photography Association.

“However, some may be up for sale at the exhibition.

“I did a bit for the NME after going down to its offices in London with my portfolio to ask if they had any work.

“They sent me to Leeds to get photos of The Godfathers.

“I went home and stayed up until 3am processing them and by 5am had 10 by 8 prints which cost me £30 to have courierd to their offices.

“But I realised there wasn’t much money in it when the NME sent me back a cheque a while later for £23.

“I shoot in both colour and black and white but using the latter gives more dramatic effect, I find.”

Exhibition of rock concert photographs over the decades by Huddersfield photographer John Woods at Coffee Evolution, Church Street, Huddersfield.

John’s exhibition will run until April 14 while he continues his day job, which he says now has more in common with live music photography.

“Earlier on live music photography and weddings were completely different, with music being more free and weddings very regimented”, he said.

READ MORE: Huddersfield band profiles: Klammer

READ MORE: Bastille's Charlie Barnes on his solo career, Amplifier and playing Glastonbury, Leeds Festival and Benicassim

“But now the two types overlap more, because at weddings now people want more spontaneous shots as well as the formal ones.”

The exhibition will be open during the cafe’s opening hours of 7am to 7pm Mondays to Fridays, 7.30am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 6pm.



Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent