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Sharon Latham On 'A New World Blazing', Touring With Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Manchester City And More


Last week 'A New World Blazing' exhibition had it's official launch in London it features images of photographer Sharon Latham's time on the road with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

We were invited by Red House Galleries to the launch and to see for ourselves some of the absolutely amazing photographs on display at Gibson Brands in London.

The exhibition can be viewed online here with limited edition prints and special deluxe artworks available to view and purchase, a select number of which are signed by both Sharon and Noel.

Noel Gallagher “Down the years I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best photographers in the world and I would put Sharon right up there. At its best a photograph should speak. What are the pictures saying? They are saying: We - NGHFB - have the best job in the world. To work, play, travel and party with these people is an absolute pleasure. I’m so happy that Big Shaz was there to capture these moments.”

The exhibition is called 'A New World Blazing' Did Noel come up with the title as it sounds like it could be the title to one of his songs.

Well, the title was chosen completely by Noel back in 2019 when we first started planning the exhibition. Unfortunately, if I told you about the meaning behind it I’d have to kill you. 🀣

How long will the exhibition be running for?

The exhibition will be online indefinitely at www.anewworldblazing.com or www.redhouseoriginals.com plus we are hoping when the pandemic slows down to tour the exhibition in some pop-up locations.

I've seen the collection and there are some absolutely stunning images in it. What is your favourite picture you have taken on tour and why?

It’s a tough one, I have a couple of favourites for various reasons. One is the psychedelic door which is a deluxe print in black and white and features a set of images I shot on a video shoot in New Orleans. I like it because it’s quite trippy and weird. Another of my favourites is the ‘Home’ print taken at the Manchester Arena in 2018. It was my first time shooting at the Arena after the bombing so that was quite an emotional gig. And then there is the one of Noel with the gun in the Joshua Tree Desert. I just love that image because it’s such a surreal shot – very cowboy and Indian. 

You were the Manchester City Official Photographer for years, how did you end up touring with the High Flying Birds? 

When I told Noel on my final shoot with Man City he was mortified and couldn’t understand why I was leaving the club, as obviously it’s a dream job. I told him I had other things I wanted to do and that it was time to move one. He said to me “But, Shaz, what will you do?” I said, jokingly “I will come on tour with you”, and he just said, “OK then”. That was it.

Is it true that you used to wear a variety of hats so the players could recognise you and knew to run towards you to celebrate a goal?

Lol it is very true. I had several very bright, colourful hats that I would wear, and I genuinely did look ridiculous. However, the players all knew where I was sat in the photo pits because they could see the hats and therefore aimed for me when celebrating so I could get the shot. It didn’t work all the time but sometimes they remembered and ran. It’s very similar to why I dye my hair bright purple and bright blue colours. When you’re in the photo pit at very large gigs, the artist who I’m shooting always look at me because of my strange hair colours and cuts.

What has been the highlight of being on tour with the band?

I’ve seen some amazing places and visited some beautiful venues across the world. It’s honestly such an honour and privilege and I never take it for granted at all. I think the highlight is genuinely getting to know and work with some of the nicest people ever, from the band members to the back line staff, like the techs, the lighting and sound guys, they’re all amazing. Oh, and Noels not bad either πŸ˜‰

Where is the strangest place you have taken a photograph on the road?

I suppose some of the strangest places would be on the video shoots we did in the USA including the Joshua Tree Desert, and the weird and wonderful house in New Orleans. However, one of the most unusual shots I ever took of Noel was when he was warming up backstage in Texas. There wasn’t a spare room for him to use to warm up as the theatre was really small so he went into the gents toilets and I got a snap of him singing in the loo.

Out of the members of the band, who is the most and least shy of the camera?

No one genuinely loves the camera to be fair. However, because I’ve toured and worked with the guys so much, they are very much used to me being around so they tend to forget I’m there.  I’m lucky enough to get some wonderful real life relaxed shots of them. 

Does Charlotte have an infinite number of capes as I don't think I have ever seen her in the same one twice?

Charlotte has a whole range of wonderful, amazing capes and she takes them all on tour with her. They are totally epic and some of them are vintage and simply beautiful. 

When you go on tour with the band, what home comforts do you take with you and why?

I’m a well-seasoned traveller and with having to carry a lot of camera kit I tend to travel light and efficiently. My main luxury or comfort I allow myself is a good travel pillow, I use it on flights and in various hotels and motels when necessary.

I have the 'Any Road Will Get Us There (If We Don’t Know Where We’re Going)'. It's a great collection. Are there plans to follow it up with another book when the High Flying Birds can eventually tour again?

Hopefully when things start moving again in the world and Noel does start touring, yes. Noel has mentioned doing another book because this one was quite well received.

Do you ever need an assistant while on tour? Can I come with you?  

Like my packing I have to travel light I’m afraid so there’s only room for me and my cameras πŸ˜₯

Finally, what one bit of advice would you offer anyone starting up as a Photographer?

Take photos every day. It allows you to master and practice your craft and allows you to determine what type of photography you like – be that people, landscape, sports, architecture or fashion, there are so many various avenues to go down in photography. Snapping every day keeps your skill levels up and helps you learn more about yourself and your photo equipment. 

I also say shout as loud as you can to whoever you can about your work. Show it off and get it seen. 

Big thanks to Sharon for taking the time to answer our questions she can be found on Twitter here and on Instagram here.

Photo Credit: Noel Gallagher at Cardiff Castle in 2018 by Sharon Latham.

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