The previous post featured South Shields born Will Binks, who at 16 started a successful North East punk fanzine, in this second part he talks about his passion for photography.
Will can often be seen ‘doon the frunt’ at North East punk gigs so if you see him give him a shout.
After the fanzine and short-lived tape label I was ready for something new, and even as a child I always had a passing interest in photography.
When did you start taking photos, was it with North East punk band The Fiend back in the 1980s?
When I was eighteen years old, in 1984, I got a Pentax SLR camera and flash from Alan Brown’s shop on Frederick Street in South Shields. I took it to gigs and yes I did do a photoshoot with the lads from The Fiend.
(The Fiend featured on the blog in January 2021)
However, it was a bulky camera, with film, batteries and developing not cheap at all. I was at the age where I wanted to socialise and enjoy a drink with friends, so I often left the Pentax at home and took out my parents’ Kodak Disc camera. It was pocket-sized and you just pointed and clicked.
Great I thought at the time, but in retrospect a mistake. The quality of photos was to put it bluntly, terrible. I wish I persevered with the Pentax. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?
What was the atmosphere like at punk gigs?
To be truthful, it was scary sometimes but mostly it was okay, although I know folk who suffered violence. There were times when you could sense trepidation in the air, and you just knew what was gonna happen.
Thankfully, I sidestepped any trouble but I definitely had a few lucky escapes.
There seemed to be a lot of that irrational tribalism between different areas. I never did understand folk wanting to assault someone just because they were from another town or city. I’m pleased to say that nowadays it is much, much better.
For you what is the difference between taking photos on film back then, and digital now?
Back in the day, I was restricted by how much film I could afford to buy and having the cash to get those films developed. It wasn’t particularly cheap. Photography was, and still is, an expensive hobby.
The good thing was once I had taken my pics and had the film developed that was that. You had your images and there was no post editing back then.
Nowadays, your time is split between taking pictures then spending hours, if not days, at home editing your images to your own specifications. It is very time consuming but I thoroughly enjoy it.
I’ve always said I take pictures for my own gratification. If anyone expresses a liking for any, then I’m pleased, but I should stress that it’s not the reason behind why I do what I do. I am non-commercial. I am not motivated at all by financial gain.
Hard to say, I know, but what is your best pic?
A very difficult question. Regarding my live music photography, it changes constantly. Here’s one I took of a sunrise from back in 2016, something that I always enjoy witnessing.
Where can people see your pics ?
I’ve had some of my images used in books and by bands on their record or CD sleeves. All I ask for in return is that I am credited, and that I get a copy of the product once released. I don’t think I can be much fairer than that.
All my pics are public and viewable in full resolution on my Flickr page. I invite everyone to follow the link and check out the many albums of pictures there. Hope you enjoy what you see.
Alikivi October 2022