When the postman handed me a parcel today with the label “Universal Music Group Nashville”, I had no idea what was inside. Upon opening, I see the shiny flight case with the name Eric Church on it. Opening the flight case revealed five albums, three of which my photos from the Holdin’ My Own tour were on the cover, the other two by the awesome @reid_long. Inside also a collector’s edition poster and a book with some amazing screen print artwork showcasing all 61 dates from Eric’s record breaking 2017 tour.
I looked at the albums for a while, filled with pride. These are going to live alongside my Mr. Misunderstood On The Rocks work. The limited collector’s edition box set, which is filtering out an album a month throughout 2018 is something truly special to me. Several years back I had this tunnel-visioned goal of becoming a tour photographer. I can say “tunnel-visioned” now with hindsight. At the time, I became so obsessed with the “dream” that it overshadowed the bigger picture. I was admiring the photographers that had earned their place on tour buses with both their incredible eye for creativity and their loyal work ethic. I aspired to be on that tour bus - what I had felt for a long time was the apex for my music photography.
What I realised a couple of years back now was that in wanting this goal so much, I was contradicting everything I believed in as a photographer and general creative person. I was definitely not practising what I preached to other photographers and that is to create your own style and identity. Make yourself unique. Admire and respect others, but don’t try to simulate or covet. And I thought to myself at the time, “Flex, stop daydreaming and start doing the real stuff - but whatever you do, do it with passion or don’t do it at all.” And it was then that I discovered many more layers to my art. Helping the country music artists in the UK as well as in the US, expanding my photography beyond the increasingly stoical genre of live music, which ultimately meant just focusing on what I do and trying to do it to the best of my ability regardless of whether it was for Bob down the lane, or Bob in the BBC Radio 2 Studios.