Sunday, 29 May 2011

Lou Jones style kaleidoscope blog

lou is stefan's girl and the style kaleidoscope her blog. capturing style from the streets of her home town Birmingham, an important document of fashion from this time, now! this is surely what blogs and the internet was made for? i think so, visit and enjoy!

The Style Kaleidoscope

.......A vibrant street style documentary of Birmingham, UK.......

This blog represents Birmingham’s multicultural melting pot of fashion, capturing people from Europe and beyond, as well as Birmingham’s born-and-bred.

Stefan Duerr - mixtape

would just like to thank stefan for all his input on the blog, please visit his website and check out his work, i hope he will allow us to have another chat in the future, his photo's are art, he is an artist that creates with photography.

Style Council - Speak Like A Child 

Because it was my first Weller single & it began my real interest in music.

OCS - Riverboat Song  

This is such a classic tune & it's always exciting to hear it, especially live.

Steve Cradock - The Apple  

This is such a wonderful song, Steve is such a brilliant songwriter. The Kundalini Target & Peace City West are both timeless classics.


Paul Weller - Into Tomorrow  

Because it was like Weller's comeback, and after The Style Council split I thought that was it, but then he came back with this amazing tune.

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now 

Love the mood of it, it's a really special tune with fantastic lyrics.

Ronnie Lane - Ooh La La  

It is just amazing!

Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher 

Great tune & it's in Ghostbusters 2 with the dancing toaster scene!

Dionne Warwick - What The World Needs Now  

Brilliant tune & I am a massive Bacharach fan.

Carpenters - Rainy Days & Mondays 

My favourite song of theirs, just a really lovely tune.

Lloyd Cole - Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken -

Lloyd is one of my favourite songwriters, and it was amazing to take his pictures in Germany last year.

Nick Heyward Whistle Down The Wind

has to be one of the best pop songs from the 80s & it's amazing live.

Tears For Fears - Woman In Chains  

Really love the album & the front cover is one of the best sleeves ever.

Talk Talk  - Spirit of Eden 

is a masterpiece but Happiness Is Easy from the album The Colour of Spring gets my final vote.

Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach - Tears At The Birthday Party

from the album Painted Memory - two genius guys, just amazing.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

'see's and surely dreams in the primary colours' the STEFAN DUERR interview (part two)

only three more questions and answers with Stefan, but plenty more pictures below and still his mixtape to follow.

i need to tell you how stefan and i met, i decided to put a picture of Weller's jukebox, in situ at the black barn studios, on my fb page. you should be careful, you never know who is looking, and sure enough the owner of this photo contacted me, i hadn't asked permission. it's only then i realised, of course i was wrong, this is stefan's art not mine. but stefan is a nice guy and after approaching him agreed to talk, the results are below and before.

all the photo's used on this blog, have been chosen by stefan to accompany the interview.

i have no doubt stefan i will talk again, the art of a photographer is fascinating, the art of a music photographer even more so!

stefan is undoubtedly one of the best!

For you, what came first, an interest in music or photography?

Photography. I got my first camera (Polaroid) when I was around six years old. Music followed later when I heard The Style Council's Speak Like A Child, and from that moment on I was a huge fan of Weller. Then I had the idea to combine the photography & the music together. 

Obviously alot of the artists you are involved with are from the modernist genre, has this style, music and lifestyle had any particular influence on your style?

Yes, I am influenced by classic sleeve art and photos. I think some of this & the heritage comes across in my work. Sometimes older sleeves can give me a direction for my own work as well. 

Out of all your music related photos, which is your particular favourite and why?

The OCS Rockfield main picture - My plan for this was to convey OCS as a 5-piece band. The main three members are Simon, Steve & Oscar but Andy & Dan have been in the group for a long time now & also contribute songs, and I wanted a picture to reflect this. I am not really a fan of the album cover for On The Leyline, as Andy & Dan did not look a part of the band. I love the Rockfield picture because it clearly shows that Simon is the frontman & the band as a whole band. I also love the colouring on it. 
Steve Cradocks high kick on stage - I think this is the most important shot of my career; it started everything off, it helped to get my name out there & was seen by so many people. It's an extraordinary shot, and Steve totally loves that photo. 
Paul Weller on stage - I didn't want to distract from Paul & his shadow so I stripped back the colours on this one, which isn't something I would normally do, but I wanted the shot to focus on Paul as he was completely "in the zone" on stage at the time. 

the ocs '21' sleeve picture without all the graphics.

the moons, obviously at Weller's black barn studio's

declan o'rourke concert picture

Nick Heyward, Haircut 100

Amy MacDonald

Monday, 23 May 2011

with one eye through a lens and heart upon the beat - the STEFAN DUERR interview (part one)

visit stefan's website! look at his pictures, but not before you've read his words


with thanks to stefan for his time and allowing me use these images, as chosen by him.

for me this blog was about exploring my interests, widening horizons beyond just music, vision and sound. understanding how an artist creates, their thought processes, their creative process.

having access to the brilliant mind of photographer, sleeve designer, promo director and visionary Stefan Duerr allowed me to more than fulfil this.

stefan hasn't just answered these questions, like his photographs his answers will engage you, pull you in further to his world. this is an insight. to understand stefan as an artist, look at the artists he has worked with, all of standing, as well as the modernist nobality.

if you are on this blog you will already know stefan's work, because like me you will have brought an Ocean Colour Scene or Steve Cradock album or seen one of Steve's promo video's, probably like me you haven't given it much thought. now allow yourself to revisit stefan's work.

for me a cover sells an album, i simply can't stand a poorly designed, bad thought out sleeve in my collection. fortunately for me most of the music i like is made for stylists by stylists. stefan's are among the very best, a rariety of a sleeve that stands up, even without the music, pieces of art.

whilst i'm listening to music, i will explore the sleeve, look at the pictures, read the lyrics and credits, all this is important as part of the process, part of the artist allowing me to listen or in stefan's case view his work.

don't for one minute think stefan's work is just photography, it is art. his pictures capture a moment, and in his live work, movement - that is his gift. his pictures have colour, texture and an incrediable use of light and dark, they are simply extraordinary.

i was brought up on art, my dad dragged me round art galleries, just as he schooled me in jazz music, he schooled me in pictures. stefan's photo's remind me of those halecon days staring at paintings, i can look, enjoy!

"Stefan, see's and surely dreams in the primary colours, thats all you need right! To turn photography into an art form. 
Stefan is my German brother, and the most colourful and dramatic modern photographer on the street."

Steve Cradock
Ocean Colour Scene

"Stefan's photography is second to none. He has a beautiful eye for colour and nuance, and an unusual ability to bring out the best and the unexpected at the same time."

Declan O'Rourke

"Stefan is a better class of photographer - full of great and original ideas that translate well into a final image - his photos work!
The best mod photographer in the world!"

Eddie Piller
Acid Jazz Records

About Stefan Duerr:

Stefan Duerr was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1968. His interest in photography began during his childhood and developed into work with landscapes and portraits, before his first stab at live pictures in 2006 for Paul Weller. This led him to Ocean Colour Scene via guitar ace Steve Cradock. Stefan became the official photographer for the band, producing the artwork for Cradock’s debut solo album, as well as documenting the recording of OCS’s forthcoming album at Rockfield Studios and their live performances. He also works with many other bands and artists, taking pictures and designing sleeves. His portfolio includes Paul Weller, Steve Cradock, Nick Heyward, Haircut 100, The Vals, The Rifles, Dirty Pretty Things, Marner Brown, Declan O’Rourke, The Moons, Steve Pilgrim and Amy Macdonald.

Questions & Answers:

when you work with a band for designs, how do you work with their ideas or come up with your own, where do you start?

Firstly I ask them for all their ideas (which normally involves input from everyone) then we piece together what fits the bands image the best and what represents the album or song well & I start work from there. This will also involve the band image in terms of the members - is there a main frontrunner or is it about the whole band; have they changed direction, do they want a change of image?; do they want all the artworks to flow for the albums/singles or have we got a licence to change things as we go along? 
Sometimes I do something that reflects the album or single title - for example, when I worked with "Nichts" on their recent album, (Nichts are a huge German 80s punk new wave band who recently made a comeback)  I had to incorporate their 80s bandname typeface into a modern design but the two styles did not fit together, so I decided to turn the sleeve into a b-movie poster. I put together pictures using the images from the lyrics and this worked perfectly with their existing typeface.   
If the band are giving me the freedom to come up with the design myself, I start with the music. I read through the lyrics & translate the song into an image. This might involve several images or colours at a time & I build the design from there.

What has been your favourite job to work on so far and why?

Steve Cradock's The Kundalini Target vinyl, because I wanted to give Steve and Sally Cradock something really special, as it's an album about love and his family & his first solo record. When I work with Steve Cradock, it's a really magical process, because I can totally understand what he wants immediately and turn it into a design that he is happy with. I tend to "get" Steve's music very easily in terms of transforming it into an image & can get a design together in my head before he finishes his sentence, and it's always great to speak to him about art and photos as he is passionate about both these things. He totally understood my photos from the start. 

What does a "good photo" mean to you?

For me, it is all about the colouring, which is my obsession & what I am known for as a photographer, it's become my identity mark on my photos, it's how you can tell it's my shot. Black & white is great, but only gives you depth to play with. You also have to capture a moment that others can clearly see.

What do you try to capture in your pictures?

If I am taking shots at a gig, I want to capture the mood of the band that night in the shots, and this is all dependant on the music & the reactions of the crowd. So I am acting instinctively the whole time; it's not a technical process - I just think like a fan does about the music. If I am shooting OCS, Weller or another favourite band, I know every next move, every step, when the kicks are coming - so that makes it easier for me to get the shots I want. It is really important to be in tune with & passionate about the music, so that I can transform it into the image that works for the band. 

Who has influenced you as a photographer?

Nobody to be honest - my inspiration comes from my lifelong love of the cinema, particularly the films by David Lynch. 
Blade Runner, The Big Blue, Lost In Translation.... David Lynch works with so many long shots, that make the scene look like a painting or a photo; even though the story may be straighforward, it's turned into art. Blade Runner is like one big painting to me.  
And i love painters like Michelangelo, Dali, Monet.

With something like the sleeves you have done for Steve Cradock, do you get to hear the music before you design the sleeves? Is hearing the music part of the creative process?

Yes, whether it's a demo or near-completed work, I listen to it over and over so that I am immersed in it. Then I can transform it into images, colours, a visual formation. It's a bit like painting but using music as the start of the inspiration.

How did you get involved with Steve? Was it as a photographer first? Then a designer?

I had taken some live shots of Paul Weller in Germany in 2006. After that, I got an email from Sally Cradock asking if I would take some shots at the OCS Birmingham Town Hall gig to be used on the live dvd. Following on from this, Steve asked if I could do a design for the Kundalini album. I told him I had never done a design before, but I would try, so it is all down to Steve giving me the opportunities that I am working now as a photographer & designer.

Copyright Warning:

All photographs are the exclusive property of Stefan Duerr and are protected under international copyright laws.

Any infringement of these images will incur severe penalties.
Please respect his copyright!