We interviewed Fred Perry’s Subculture photographer about capturing cultural moments

Fred Perry has always had a unique place at the heart of British subcultures and music, this heritage still informs the brand today. For the last year, their shows at the 100 Club have been about putting iconic bands in independent spaces.

*Click photos to see gallery*

Capturing those moments has been Ellen Offredy, who has been photographing with Fred Perry for the last few years, following the brands iconic image through a series of live shows held across the UK.

With Fred Perry one of a number of partners involved in this year’s festival, we wanted to find out a little bit more about what photographing Subculture has been like for Ellen.

Can you remember the first show you ever saw?

Ellen: The first show I ever saw was one that I’m a little embarrassed to admit. But when I was 9 years old my mum bought tickets for me to go and see Busted with my friends for Christmas. I was so excited to go to my first concert; I even made badges with all of the members on. I just remember standing on my chair at the arena jumping up and down singing all of the words to every song. I’d like to think my music taste has improved a little since then…

Tell us about how you first started photographing musicians?

Originally, I was training to be a journalist. I had just started writing for national, sometimes global, publications when one of them asked me to attend and review a festival. They asked if I could take some pictures while I was there, but at the time I didn’t even own a camera, so I borrowed money from family to purchase a really simple DSLR. I got such a buzz from photographing the musicians playing that weekend that from then onwards, I stopped writing and my camera became permanently glued to my hand.

What makes a musician someone interesting to photograph?

There’s something about photographing musicians that gives you this raw kind of energy that’s rare to find anywhere else. I also love the fact that it brings you closer to other creative’s, people who have a story to share and something to give that adds value to the lives of their fans. There’s no greater feeling than standing in the photo pit and turning around to see the faces of fans lit up with excitement and a burning passion for the music being performed right in front of you. Each artist is also so unique that it’s a different experience with every shoot, it’s such a fast paced industry and it’s constantly changing.

How have you found your experience recording and documenting work for Fred Perry Subculture?

I love documenting the concerts that Fred Perry Subculture put on. Fred Perry is a brand I’ve always respected and admired from my teenage years through to now, so it’s such a privilege to be part of the team. The concerts they put on are always filled from the front to the back of the venue with genuine music enthusiasts who are a part of a movement, a scene and subculture that without people like Fred Perry wouldn’t always have a home. The 100 Club in particular is such a heritage venue; it’s an honour to shoot there so frequently.

Do you still see those subcultures as being a prevalent part of how you view/see the music you shoot?

As I mentioned before, subcultures have a big part to play in music. You could argue that each genre has it’s own subculture that helps musicians build a following, which ultimately leads to their success. Documenting the music that is at the forefront of those subcultures feels really special. Shooting with Fred Perry in particular has definitely opened my eyes to different subcultures, the people I’m surrounded by and impacted how I shoot certain artists. It’s all about being in the moment and capturing an image that truly represents the people in it. After all, they do say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Do you prefer to be shooting a band on stage or off?

I prefer to be shooting a band on stage, where the members are really in their element. The energy of the room can change the way a person presents themselves, especially when they get caught up in the moment and the chaos of it all. You capture real emotions shooting live, no one is posing or trying to look pretty for the camera. That being said, I do enjoy photographing bands off stage too. It’s a much more intimate environment where you have more control and can work with the artist to get the prefect shot.

What one quality, in your opinion, makes a great live venue?

For me, it has to be good lighting. I can’t shoot a gig in the dark.

All photos are Ellen’s own. 

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