Apparently 2015 is the year for Grime. What do you call it? A Grime resurgence? For me, Grime never went away but you can’t deny that it is attracting more fire at the moment. We’ve seen: the Godfather chasing the art with no compromise, Heavy Trackerz working with artists like Flirta D and Stormzy on one tune, celebrating London’s finest at UK's Born ‘n’ Bred festival - where more than one stage was used as a platform for Grime’s elitist.
Vicky Grout is a London based photographer with a unique eye on the scene. Grout’s talent has gained her access to moments and inside artist’s circles that has got her those special shots, that’s made her an essential piece to the Grime line-up. She now joins ranks with other dedicated creatives like Risky Roadz, Ewen Spencer and even Top Boy, who live and breath to document Grime - making their heart-felt mark where it matters and when many other people stopped caring.
What was the very first photograph you took and how long did you take to decide, you loved this enough for a profession?
I think the first photograph I took was of some flowers in Kew Gardens with my godmother's DSLR when I was about 10 and was amazed by how fun it was, I was just taking pictures of everything from then on.
I don't think there was a specific moment when I decided to photography a living. It started out as a hobby and somewhere along the line it became a profession.
What came first Grime or Photography?
Grime I think, as even though I've been shooting for a while I took a break from it for a bit, and it was in that break that I started going out and became more involved in the scene. I was already going to raves when I started shooting again so that was the main thing I was shooting.
How did you feel about Skepta as an artist when you took those powerful shots of him showstudio x machine afterparty?
Skepta is one of the most influential people in the scene at the moment, and I was beyond grateful that he had asked me to take his photo. That moment was a bit of a gamechanger.
What attracts you to documenting Grime - the people, the music, the energy?
I love grime raves the most because you're never left bored. There's always some sort of movement/energy involved which I try my best to capture.
With anything that is popular, there is a risk of a ‘counterfeit market’. Do you feel responsible for representing Grime authentically?
I think the only way to represent it authentically is to actually be there. In the heart of the rave or in the heart of E3/Tottenham/Lewisham where have you. I think the way in which the 'grime aesthetic' has become so popular a lot of people focus too much on the image and what looks 'cool' than the music itself.
Speaking to artists from the scene, it is clear they respect the ability of photographers like yourself, to support and elevate their own self-promotions. Instantly you have power to capture a moment that can credit or discredit an artist - do you feel more pressure to document the artist's with talent but no record deal?
I believe that as somebody that's trying to make a name for themselves it's important to do stuff for those that are in the same boat.
What type of photography are you more passionate about - the shots in a rave or the 12 page magazine editorial?
They're both very different. With editorials you think long and hard about the shot and a lot of effort and thought is put into the process. Whereas action shots in the rave are a lot more based on chance, whether the person happened to be doing the right movement at the right time etc, as you don't have that time to sit and wait for the right angle.
Are there any classic or new Grime clashes you would like to capture on camera? Wiley vs. Kano, Devilman vs Skepta, Bog H vs. P Money?
All classics and would be amazing to cover all of them, but I think Big H vs P Money would be the most entertaining. Would love to get a shot of H's face.
As Grime continues to stir up attention in it’s homeland and further afield internationally - what part do you want to play in Grime’s continued global success?
I'm not too sure, it would be nice to follow the scene over to the States if it goes there and see how different it would be to document it over there. However I feel it might lose it's authenticity if it ever leaves/ventures further than the UK.
Any exciting projects we should watch out for? Will there be a Vicky Grout exhibition or curation, where you work with your creative peers like Simon Wheatley and Wot do you call it?
I don't like planning too far ahead, I'll probably end up doing something spontaneously!
Who's fashion/ style in Grime stands out to you?
Skepta, Stormzy and Nov are slowly becoming fashion icons for everyone I think, everyone in the scene is wavy though!
How would you describe your fashion / style?
I think I dress like a little boy most of the time! My wardrobe consists of mostly streetwear and sportswear, I just like feeling comfortable. And you won't catch we without a pair of trainers on haha.
GET IN TOUCH WITH VICKY:
Vicky Grout / Instagram
Words & Interview by: Miatta Momoh
Photography: Stefan Foster