Pigeon Poo, Podcasts and Iain Lee

My encounter with Iain Lee, broadcaster on talkRADIO. And podcasts.

I’m a big radio fan. I listened to Iain Lee on BBC 3 Counties Radio for years and loved his breakfast show. It was a sad day when he left. It was a happy day (night) however, when Iain began his new show on talkRADIO, “The Late Night Alternative with Iain Lee” weeknights from ten pm. The show is flippin’ brilliant. Once again Iain can muck about and be far naughtier without getting his wrists slapped. Being an old git I’m usually far too tuckered out to stay up and listen to the show live so turn to his podcasts to get my fix. And thank you Iain, for opening a door on a whole new world. Iain was a guest on Adam Buxton’s podcast and vice versa. I became a Buckles addict, a Podcat. Then Adam sent me off on an adventure to various other recommended podcasts, the stand out being S-Town. Please, please, dear reader, go and listen to S-Town. But I digress, back to Mr Lee.

The Photo Shoot

I’d been in touch with Iain a long while ago about musical matters. My girl Millie had even called into his BBC breakfast show once to have a big row with him about pigeons. She was defending them against Iain’s claim that they’re all manky. Iain had taken a look at my website and when the time was right, he contacted me to do some promotional photos for him. He liked the idea of an industrial feel to the images. I had just the place.

We headed off to Westcott Venture Park in North Bucks. I’m very familiar with this place having gained permission to spend hours poking around in its derelict, grungy, haunting buildings. The site used to be the home of a rocket testing facility in the fifties and sixties and is the location of numerous abandoned spots. The site still whispers clues to its past as you explore. Iain and I clambered around the places I had scoped out. Not phased by cobwebs and copious amounts of pigeon poo we bravely sought out locations for our shoot. I think you’ll agree, the photos work pretty darn well. Iain is just the best bloke to hang out with, the craic was immense. What do you think guys? Guys?

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

Iain Lee | © Kelly Jo Photography

 

 

 

Book Cover Artwork – Kelly Jo Photography

The Empire Cinema lives once more

What a wonderful thing.  I’m so excited and in awe of how fate works.  An author over in America is having his book published and was looking for an image for his front cover.  The image of my beloved Empire Cinema in Bridgetown, Barbados, came to his attention and he immediately wanted it for the book.  Today I have ceremoniously handed the image over to the publisher and off it goes….all ready to be famous.  The book is to be published in July and when I manage to acquire a copy I shall of course be showing it off to all and sundry.  Here’s the image which featured in a earlier post all about the precious, hauntingly beautiful Empire.

The Empire Cinema, Barbados

The Empire Cinema, Bridgetown, Barbados

Waiting patiently to be beautiful again

I just had to show you some of what I’ve been getting involved with out here in Barbados. I’ve blogged before about what was the old Empire Cinema in Bridgetown and want to tell you a little more about it. I had passed by this jaw-droppingly beautiful building many times over the years and one day couldn’t resist the urge to get inside to photograph. Since then I’ve been back to photograph several times & I have donated the images to a very special foundation created to save the majestic Empire. The photographs have been used on their website and in their promotional material.

BEAT Barbados are tirelessly campaigning to bring the Empire back and plan to transform it into a state of the art yet sympathetically restored centre for performing arts. If it goes ahead, The Empire could be the leading entertainment venue in the Caribbean! CEO and Founder of BEAT Barbados, Jim McGowan (seen below exploring the projection room in inappropriate footwear for such an activity) has dedicated the past two years of his life to persuading government to back his proposal, along with getting plenty of financial backing to make this happen. Some extremely well known celebrities are among those championing the project. The Empire is causing a real buzz in its own crumbly, silent and patient way.

As we stand, the Barbados Government is considering two proposals, The Empire – Theatre & Performing Arts Centre or….The Empire – A Micro Brewery. What do you think? Feel free to comment below, hope you like the images and find out more at BEAT Barbados here…

The Empire Cinema, Barbados

The Projection Room high up in the balcony.

When the Empire was originally a theatre this was through the left stage door. You can just make out a hand painted movie poster from the seventies on the right.

The side view of The Empire. If BEAT gets the go-ahead there will be a beautiful atrium added to this side of the building along with a gorgeous open plan space to breeze around in during the interval…

Stage Door

One of the three doors ‘backstage’, you can see the existing original balcony through the open doorway. The balcony would be sympathetically restored complete with new contemporary bar, cafe and rooftop terrace.

This is one of the old ticket ‘offices’.

Up in the projection room we found the old switch for opening and closing the curtains for the cinema screen.

The Empire Cinema Barbados

Some original seats up in the right hand side of the balcony. The Empire has lost a lot of its roof making it rather rotten and treacherous.  Standing there I could imagine the place crying out for help…I know, I get very emotionally attached.

Jim McGowan spending time in the place that has taken over his life for the past two years. With Jim’s passion, excitement and sheer tenacity this dream could become reality, giving Barbados & its people a place to be really proud of.

What do you think should happen to The Empire?  Speak your mind below…

HDR Photography Project – a sneak preview

The Empire Cinema, Bridgetown, Barbados.

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I’ve been working on a project for the past year and breaking from my norm.  It’s still in progress and I’m building up a body of work that’s going to be released to the world perhaps next year.  But I wanted to give you a sample of what to expect.  The images are HDR photography (High Dynamic Range) and I layer 5 identical images together taken at different exposures.  The result is very dramatic.  To add to this I’m obsessed with derelict buildings and this type of photography works rather well in such places. Textures, shadows, light and colours I find are rich and unique in these haunting, eerie, bewitching places. I’ve been lucky enough to explore and photograph such locations both at home and overseas.  Let’s start off with this one…the Empire Cinema in Bridgetown, Barbados. It started life as a theatre back in 1907 and was closed in the 1970s.  It’s in a terrible state of repair but still so beautiful and hopefully it will be restored one day. Please let me know what you think!