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Monday 11 December 2017

Interview: Actor Ian Kelsey On His Dramatic Recent Coronation Street Return & New Focus On Photography

Veteran Brighton-based actor Ian Kelsey has enjoyed an almost three-decade long career on both stage and screen, Kelsey is now turning his focus on photography; a hobby from his teens that is now consuming his working life.
Pic by Toby Smedley

"My dad taught me how to use a dark room when I was in my early teens and ever since then I have always had a camera to hand," Kelsey reminisces. 

"I don't know why, but I was always the one to remember to take a picture to document the occasion, whether it be a night on the razz in York or working on a beautiful location on a film set.

"The one thing I do miss with the advanced technology is the anticipation of waiting to receive the photos to be delivered back in the post. I am always looking for the next shot .. always." 


After Kelsey left school he spent the next six years building trains. He developed an allergy to cedar wood and re-trained as an actor at the Guilford School Of Acting, and landed a role in the Warner Brothers movie adaptation of Black Beauty.

He soon became a small screen regular with a three year stint on Emmerdale, before moving on to tread the boards as Danny Zuko, on tour and in the West End production of Grease The Musical.

It was during a recent lull in parts that Kelsey realised he enjoyed being at home and doing the everyday parental chores, such as the dreaded daily school run.

"It's hard sometimes when you're method of feeding mouths is by working away from home, and most of the time just to stay afloat, never mind saving anything, so that made me look at a way of keeping myself at home but able to turn down long tours for peanuts and still put food on the table. 

"That was the day I opened my twitter app and started Ian Kelsey Photography"

Kelsey was able to raid his contacts book and soon found his first major photographic commission.

"I got in touch with an acting pal who runs a drama school up in Manchester, it just so happened they were looking at getting headshots for all their students.

"I quickly realised it wasn't just about getting the lights and framing right, it was ALL about getting the people in front of the lens to relax. 

"I believe what I have learnt on stage and screen over the years has really helped in the process of getting the best out of the client and ultimately getting the best shot possible."

Kelsey's talent was duly noted by local band on the rise40 Shillings On The Drum


Having teamed up with local charity Brighton & Hove Impetus, for their current Connect4Loneliness campaign, the band turned their attentions away from asking Kelsey for a band photoshoot to asking him to catalogue the publicity images for the campaign itself.

"Band photography really excites me. I have to capture what they are all about in one shot," enthuses Kelsey. 

"40 Shillings on the Drum have a great vibe about them and their lead singer,Daniel Scully, is completely nuts when he picks up the microphone. Also they sound great!" 

Finding the right venue for the shoot proved simpler than first feared.

"I was looking for a studio to shoot a specific idea I had in mind, and after a chat with Toby Smedley, at Exposure Photography, in Lewes, he kindly offered his studio for free. 

"My (initial) idea didn't work out but we had fun shooting the band and the charity together."

40 Shillings on the Drum were more than happy with results.

Scully said: "Photography may be a new direction for Ian, but he has a natural ability behind the lens and captured just what we were after.

"We're so happy with the results that we're hoping to work together again in the near future."

Brighton & Hove Impetus CEO Jo Ivens added:

"We're so grateful to Ian for his recent photoshoot with the band in support of our 'Connect 4 Loneliness''campaign. 

"It was good fun and he put us at ease. Big thanks to Ian and best of luck with your career in photography."

Kelsey hasn't ruled out further acting roles, especially with heightened interest after his short term return to Coronation Street.

"I haven't given the acting game up so anything that drops in front of me that is good, I will still eat up. 

"I kept my eye on Corrie this time though, I never normally watch myself back, but what happened in the storyline was quite dramatic. 

""We had a lot of fun filming it and I really wanted to see how it came through the wash on the screen."

Check out Ian Kelsey's photography HERE. For more information on 40 Shillings On The Drum CLICK HERE. Keep up-to-date with Brighton & Hove Impetus HERE. All the above would like to thank Toby Smedley at Exposure Photography for the free use of his studio and equipment.

by: Mike Cobley




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