Greg Interviews Alison Richards (2015)
Q. How did you get started in photography?
“My background is marketing. I used to do strategic marketing for a number of different sectors and I was too busy and lost sight of me. My partner and I decided that we weren’t happy just going to work and being wage slaves, so we started going out to gigs again. I had this point and click camera and I started taking pictures and posting them online and I got some interest. The more positive feedback I got, the more interested I became, and it just grew out of that really. Then I started reading about different techniques and I upgraded my camera. I’d say 2010 or 2011 was when I started to focus on it.”
Q. Prior to working in marketing, you had roles in fashion and the arts. It sounds like creativity has been more important to you than business.
“It sounds corny but I say creativity feeds my soul. It makes me feel relaxed, I feel like I’m really doing it for me, and it doesn’t really matter what the outcome is because there’s no right or wrong. Obviously I get frustrated if I try to do something in photography and it doesn’t turn out how I want, but the creativity of it and getting away from corporate stuff, that’s the driver for it. And I always want to feel like it’s a hobby because I’m not money orientated, so it has to be for creativity and interest first before it has any element of becoming a business and being confined or constrained in those terms.”
Q. How did you get into rock and metal music?
“It was a million miles away from my parents’ circle or anything like that, but there was something about alternative music that captured my attention. I was probably more into punk growing up – that’s what really resonated with me - and then I graduated more toward metal. Along that route I met my other half and he was always into metal. Fast forward to when I started going out to gigs again and I met a guy in a band called Incinery, followed them, became good friends with them and I eventually managed them for a period of time. Through doing that I met a whole host of other people on the scene.”
Q. In photography, has your main focus always been on shooting bands?
“I’m definitely inspired by the music. I did the photography at Bloodstock last year, which is where the pictures in the exhibition are from. If someone asks me to do a job whether it’s paid or not, if I agree to do it, you’ll get the absolute best of me. That satisfies me, but also I’m very big on reputation and delivering to a promise. I was at Bloodstock for four days capturing absolutely everything. They were long days and if I wasn’t passionate about the music and didn’t feed off the energy, I don’t think I would be able to focus my attention for such a long period of time. I do have an interest in other areas of photography but I’m still new to it, I’ve still got a steep learning curve in terms of techniques and understanding why sometimes I want the shot but can’t get the shot.”
Q. How did you first make the Bloodstock connection?
“When me and my partner do things, we don’t do it to further ourselves; we do it because we have an interest in it. We’ve been quite supportive of Metal 2 The Masses and when Incinery won, there was kind of an awareness of each other. Then Incinery went to Bloodstock and as part of the crew I was there. We built up relationships along the way there and I ended up following Beholder on their Weekend Warriors tour. Simon [Hall] ended up showing the pictures to Vicky [Gregory] and suggested that I would be a good addition to the team as an official photographer and Vicky agreed. I then got talking with Paul at the gallery and the next thing I knew I was getting an email asking me if I would show my work there this year, which I was pretty floored by. Being asked to do the photography at Bloodstock, meeting Phil Anselmo and then being pulled up on stage by Pepper Keenan, and then getting an email from Paul asking me to exhibit my work – it’s almost a pinch yourself moment!”