A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Dave Leongson AKA. JPDL. Told me about a collaboration between himself and a Polish rapper Pav AKA. Heron, in which they are combining forces and bringing back the old school HipHop beats of the 90's and 2000's to create an album in just two weeks at Barleyfield Music on the lower end of the High Street in Cheltenham. They invited me along with my love Jussara, where we got to meet Pav and producers of the studio, Kingsley and Sa. We all got on perfectly well, the producers/ owners of the studio showed us around and talked about the history of how they got the studio and the building.
So we went along for three shoots across a couple of weeks, each time we took a Sony A7 with a Voightlander 28mm lens, a Canon A1 with a 35-70 loaded with Portra 400 colour negative film, a GoPro Hero 7 White with a selfie stick to get those angles and a polaroid 600 with colour film.
I shot with the digital initially to capture the promotional shots to be used for their album and for social media coverage and also to see here for my blog and to submit as work for university projects. When I was satisfied I had captured enough digital imagery I would switch to my Canon A1 with colour film in, to capture those really nice portraits, which I could piece together during the time i'm shooting and testing with the digital. Every now and then I would use the GoPro to get some wide angle video segments to piece together a moving image that they could possibly use for something or just so I can get to grips with videography and editing a bit more personally. But Jussara would film on the GoPro most of the time so I didn't have to think too much at once. If I was on the other side of the camera in the situations I find myself id be a fking one man band. Id also pull out the Polaroid every now and then so that I can give them something in the moment.
The whole time we were laughing and telling stories and drinking Polish vodka, which was nice :)
The ethos of this collaboration (to which I made sure to ask) was about language, Obviously. Two different languages coming together under the understanding of music, and HipHop specifically. Dave and Pav talked about the title of the project called "International Flow". They explained through both of their understandings that "music is the only way out of chaos" and that the flow of music runs through everybody and that there will be at least one song on their album that everybody should like because of the variation in the whole thing.
What I learned from these few days of meeting, chatting, learning and getting back into photographing again was that Dave really is so fking passionate about life, his music, other people and me, and that the world is a lot bigger than the problems we are faced with as a pussyclart society. As for me I had to go against the 'advice' from the government to meet up with these people to photograph something quite important to us all locally. I'm glad I have made this work and I will end on a quote I remember my girlfriend saying whilst listening back to the music they just recorded in the studio.
Jussara - "This music is good because it talks about struggle and perseverance, and it needed to come out during lockdown as perseverance comes from struggle. This music is good as the energy from it flows through your body you simply cant stop dancing, even though you can't understand the lyrics, you understand the flow".