Photographing the Funny

Comedy has always been my passion. Always. I started out in photography in my twenties photographing music because that is what I knew. That was my world. I was in bands, I was around musicians and starting out I went by that old adage “write what you know” - but for photography…obviously. 

Comedy though, that was elusive. Those guys were, and are, my heroes. I never wanted to sully what I imagined they were in my head. I didn’t want to know that they are as infallible, as fragile and as messed up as the rest of us. I wanted to admire from afar yet be a part of that world. I never had the confidence. I’m not a funny guy (ask…anyone) I had nothing to add to the dialogue. 

Hello Latitude Festival. 

Latitude, if you are not aware, is the most amazing festival nestled on the coast of Suffolk. It also presents the biggest and best line up of comedy outside of Edinburgh every single year. All in three days. 

I photograph Latitude every year as I used to be local and over the years, I have photographed less music and more comedy - to the extent now that it is pretty much all I shoot. Not because most people are there for the music and only come over to the comedy tent for the big names in the hope of a sale - but because I have kids and it has been the only time I have been able to binge on a year’s worth of the cream of British comedy - and also because I love comedy. In all its forms. I devour it. I am an unashamed fan boy. 

In my time shooting at Latitude, I have had the absolute joy and pleasure of photographing the likes of Trevor Noah before The Daily Show, heroes and trailblazers such as Barry Crimmins, Jack Dee, Rich Hall, Ruby Wax and Eddie Izzard; seen comics go from the circuit to the stratosphere such as Katherine Ryan, Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe; see bona fide comedy legend Simon Munnery perform experimental comedy in the middle of a field to literally no-one and be able to get in at the ground floor to follow the career of comics now on the brink of stardom in Lauren Pattison who I first photographed in the Chortle Student Comedy Award showcase, 

All of these make me extremely proud of what I do. But never would I have considered pursuing comedy photography. In my mind, the greats of this very niche genre - not stood in my way - but certainly had it cornered, and I didn’t want to be seen as stepping on their toes at all. 

Yes, I was that arrogant! 

Of course I wouldn’t be stepping on their toes. They are in a different league. I was, is and never will be competition. This was a lesson I learned when I started out in concert photography properly and consequently forgot. 

I remember it vividly. Hop Farm Festival. 2009. One photographer was particularly helpful and kind to me - giving me tips on shooting and the business. I said that he didn’t have to be so kind. In the pit, at a festival, everyone is trying to make a living, everyone is out for the sale. He said to me ‘You’re not my competition and never will be - I don’t mind passing on what I know.’ 

Back to comedy, I never thought it would go any further than a glorious weekend each year - but based on this, I am now photographing for some fantastic guys who run The Comedy Crate in Northampton. Three comedy nuts who love and care for comedy as much as I do. They have let me in month after month to document each of their brilliant line ups. 

It is here I consider that I have truly cut my teeth as a photographer - been able to sit down and chat to comedians, break down that barrier I had before. I am still in awe of their skill - but I am there on a more equal footing, I have earned my right to be there…and…I have had some really good feedback from these comedians - who owe me nothing, but have said lovely things about my work. This has spurred me on, made me realise that I have a place and have a professional service to offer these guys on my own merit; that I am not riding on the coat tails or stepping on the toes of those who have inspired me.

On Thursday, I think I stepped up my game and produced some of the finest work I have ever produced. I am truly proud of some of the frames I captured and am eternally grateful to the Comedy Crate guys for allowing me to hone my craft at their nights. 

From here on in…getting into the studio with some of these comedians to actually pay some of those bills!! 

For more comedy shots, get on over to

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