Category Archives: Music

50 years on and still rocking…

This year is my 50th year as a professional photographer. But more importantly, today is also the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones first gig at the Marquee Club in London. To celebrate our mutual longevity, I thought it might be appropriate to again post my picture of Mick Jagger, taken at the Hyde Park free concert on July 5, 1969.

Mick Jagger, Hyde Park free concert, July 5, 1969. © Rob Walls 1969

Brian Jones had died only two days previously and this was the first concert for replacement guitarist, Mick Taylor. And so here we are both still rocking on 50 years down the track…long may we continue…

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Filed under Biography, documentary photography, Music, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, portraits, Rob Walls

Money for sh*t…

It’s been an unusual week for stock photo sales. A couple of years ago I wrote about wintering with wombats. One of the photographs I took on that field trip was of the curiously cubic crap of the wombat. The shape, it seems, serves the purpose of preventing the wombat’s droppings from rolling away as it marks out its territory.

Currently Alamy has over 30,000,000 pictures. Do a keyword search for wombat droppings and you’ll get just three pictures. All mine! All mine! My own little niche market. You might be surprised (as I was) to find that this week a publisher in the United States paid $500 to use this picture. OK, now don’t all rush out and start shooting wombat shit. For most of you, it’s going to be almost as hard to find as that proverbial rarity, rocking horse sh*t…and with this sale, I imagine I’ve probably filled all the requests there’s likely to be for this particular subject.

Money for sh*t. This picture of the curiously rhomboid shaped wombat droppings sold again this week.© Rob Walls 2011

The other unusual picture sale this week, was of this poignant memorial which was erected in the outback New South Wales town of Broken Hill almost 100 years ago.

Monument in Broken Hill, New South Wales, to the bandsmen of the RMS Titanic who went down with the ship off Newfoundland on 15th April, 1912 © Rob Walls 2011

A moving memorial to the musicians of the RMS Titanic in the Australian outback mining town of Broken Hill. This picture was licensed for use in an audio-visual in Ireland.

Now, just in case you can’t avoid the temptation, I’ll warn you in advance; comments that refer to me as a “sh*t photographer” are unlikely to be published:-)

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Filed under Australia, Australian, Digital photography, documentary photography, Music, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, Stock photography, Tasmania, travel

What’s the best thing that happened to you today?

About three years ago, while travelling in Borneo with my son, Kim, we befriended a Canadian couple, Carol Mah and Warren Duggan. We hung out together for a few days, bonded by a shared love of music and cold beer. Carol introduced us to a delightful custom. As we raised the first large beer at the end of the day, we would each, in turn, tell each other what the best thing was that had happened to us that day.

Well, today, I was photographing the huge open cut gold mine at Kalgoorlie, known as the Superpit, when an African childrens’ choir disembarked from a large bus to view the mine. Beautiful children; the boys with shaven heads and the girls with tightly-braided hair, they chattered happily as they gazed down into this enormous hole. Well, Carol and Warren, the best thing that happened to me today, was when their choir-mistress called them together and they gave an impromptu performance to the dozen or so of us gathered on the viewing platform.

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If you would like to share my delight and hear the Watoto Childrens’ Choir go here.

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Filed under Australia, Australian, Biography, Digital photography, documentary photography, Music, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls

A slightly surreal day…

189 km from Broken Hill © Rob Walls 2010

This afternoon, on a gun-barrel straight stretch of road 189km from Broken Hill, I came across this wrecked Toyota Landcruiser. I stopped to see if I could offer any help, but the crash site was deserted, but there was a rudimentary camp site, with a folding chair some rugs and an opened first aid kit.

What made the scene so surreal, was that there was still a CD playing loudly from inside the wreck: Tammy Wynette, Stand by Your Man! I left the music playing and walked away wondering, to the sounds of Johnny Cash. Ten minutes later I was photographing emus…

© Rob Walls 2010

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Filed under Australian, documentary photography, Music, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, travel

Roy DeCarava 1919-2009


From Roy DeCarava’s book, The Sounds I Saw

It was 50 years ago that I first encountered the photography of Roy DeCarava. Addicted to jazz and hungering for information about my musical heroes, I used to devour the pages on the jazz monthly, Downbeat. DeCarava’s pictures in the pages of that authoritative magazine left an indelible impression at a time when, jazz and photography seemed to be two arts walking in step and doing so hand-in-hand.

It was the era of Bert Stern’s documentary, Jazz on a Summer’s Day (if anything the precursor to practically every music festival documentary that followed). It seemed to me the most natural thing that if you didn’t play an instrument but could use a camera that to attempt to capture the ephemeral music that was jazz on film, was an obligation.

For the life of me, I cannot remember which musician said this of which photographer, but I like to think that it was Dizzy Gillespie of Roy de Carava, who said, “That cat blows a mean camera”. Just as Gillespie’s music will resound for generations of musicians, so Roy DeCarava’s pictures will resound with me for the rest of my life. Roy DeCarava, more tha just a jazz photographer, died on Tuesday last (27th October). That cat really did blow a mean camera…

PS If anyone knows the source of that quote, I’d be delighted to be informed.

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