Ian’s Potraits of music

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This weekend sees indie band Frankie and the Heartstrings open a record shop in their home town.

The Mackem five-piece will take over the derelict former Tourist Information Office in the city’s Fawcett Street to set up a hub of creativity – which as well as selling records by local bands, will also host live performances.

Ian West

Ian West

Another part of the shop’s draw will be displays from artists and photographers, including the work of Ian West, a photographer from Boldon Colliery who, for the past five years, has taken portraits, live shots and worked on album artwork for most of the North East’s top bands and artists.

The 32-year-old will have a selection of one-off signed photographs of bands including Field Music, The Futureheads and Maximo Park on display and for sale in the pop-up shop.

He said: “Firstly, I think Frankie and the Heartstrings have come up with a great idea – not only for local musicians and artists, but for the city.

“They’re going to turn a part of the city that has been empty for years in to a really cool, interesting place that will create a buzz. It’s brilliant to be involved and I’m sure it will be a success.”

The shop opens on Saturday, two days before the release of Frankie and the Heartstrings’ second album, The Days Run Away.

Also on sale will be a limited edition “newspaper” that Ian has put together called Portraits. It will cost £5 and is limited to 50 copies.

He said: “I wanted to do something that was affordable, which showed what I do and what a huge amount of talented people we have in the North East. The newspaper idea just seemed like it was a bit more kooky and less pretentious than a serious portfolio.

“It is available exclusively from the shop, though people can reserve them if they get in touch with me.”

Portraits will also feature images of Frankie and the Heartstrings, who the former Boldon Comprehensive School and South Tyneside College student says are a joy to photograph.

He added: “I’ve photographed the band live and worked on the artwork for their first album.

“It’s always a really easy job with them – they have a strong image and know what they want.

“I just need to turn up and do my thing.”

However, the dad-of-one, who is married to Kelly who he has a two-year-old daughter, Emily, with, says working with different bands requires different techniques.

He added: “With The Futureheads, it’s similar. They’re used to being photographed and are happy to try new ideas.

“When I work with them it tends to be over a longer period of time and we try and develop a theme.

“Some bands I’ll only shoot once so it’s a short period of time of trying to capture what they’re all about, but doing it in my style. Field Music are more reserved. Their shots normally don’t have them in the foreground.

“I’d say what I do is like a record producer – the bands will look like they do, but I try to add something extra, a style that hopefully people recognise as my own.”

* To order portraits or for more information, search for Ian West Photographer on Facebook or follow him on Twitter via @Ianwestphoto.