Too Many Men: How Female Photographer Vicky Grout is Slaying the Grime Scene
Grime music has really shot up in popularity over the last few years with artists such as Skepta and Stormzy making headlines in papers and festivals more and more often. Photographer Vicky Grout has been involved in the London grime scene from the off and has worked with most of the prolific names within it.
Originally Vicky would attend grime nights as a fan and take pictures of the acts for fun, until April 2015 when Skepta chose a picture she took of him to be the cover for his single ‘Shutdown’. Since then her work has featured in the likes of Time Out, Clash and Fader magazines (to name a few), providing inspiration for so many young budding photographers to get out there and get noticed. On top of that however, her success has highlighted how a woman can break the mould and be a successful woman in an industry dominated by men.
Vicky (@vickygrout) specialises in portrait photos, which is partially why her shots work so well on album covers, but it wasn’t until 2014/2015 that she really started getting noticed.
She has been heavily involved in shoots for the new PUSH magazine, shooting covers featuring BBC Sound of 2019 winner Octavian and West London prodigy AJ Tracey (who’s debut album peaked at 3rd in the charts earlier this year). But nowadays being on a shoot with Vicky is almost a mark of achievement within the grime scene itself. Many newer, less established artists are being shot by her too, such as Suspect and Murkage Dave, who both operate outside of the mainstream grime scene.
Even host of BBC Radio 1Xtra – a platform for up and coming artists in both grime and drill – Kenny Allstar has employed the skills of Vicky to produce the cover for his album ‘Block Diaries’. So how did she gain recognition in this male-dominated industry?
“It was all so unintentional. I was a raver and a fan with a camera,” she tells us, “It’s exciting to document something which is underground or up and coming. My pictures have got us both [Skepta and herself] noticed, so I feel like we’re helping each other out.”
It isn’t just male artists that Vicky photographs though. She’s been influential in providing both a platform and an inspiration for so many women in the music scene in general. A quick scan of her Instagram account shows her involvement with female artists far and wide, from Mancunian singer IAMDDB to a whole host of up-and-coming musicians in Palestine.
Vicky has recently collaborated with mobile network operator O2 to produce O2 Sessions: a photography tutorial based around capturing high quality portrait photos on your mobile handset.
Follow Your Passion
Talking on starting out, Vicky’s mentions the importance of being involved in your subject of choice: “Find a topic or a niche you’re passionate about. Because if you’re not passionate, it will come through in your work and people will see it.”
Most importantly, find confidence in yourself. “Make sure you get your work out there” says Vicky. “I know so many artists who torture themselves over their work and never put anything out – and nobody sees it. Don’t be overly critical of yourself and your work.”
This guest post was authored by Joe Franklin
Joe Franklin was born and raised in London, England. He writes about the music scenes in London from the rise of grime to the fall of British rave culture. And every pulled up tune in between! Happiest at 140 bpm.
For more photography tutorials and stories on how photographers turn a passion into a career check out O2 Sessions.