Jazz Gallery
Soul / Gospel & World gallery
Essential Listening
Gig Guide / News
Opinion / Music Talk
The Hi Fi Experience
Related services
Related Sites & Info
Staff Profiles
Guest Feedback
Contact M V Studio
Back to Home Page




Who is Michael Valentine?

Robin Francis (aka Michael Valentine) started Michael Valentine Studio just before his 40th birthday (not that long ago). He was unemployed at the time after 18 long soul destroying years in the IT industry. They were financially rewarding years, however, Robin felt he had reached a stage where he just needed to do something ‘and be involved’ in something he was passionate about. In 1996, Robin was fortunate to be able to talk to composer / pianist Joe Sample. Robin had brought his bulky Mamiya 645 medium format camera into the Jazz Café, Camden during Joe’s gig and was lining up a great photograph. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the camera battery died on him at the very moment he was eyeing what would have been a great shot. He recalls that heart sinking moment;
“I could have cried at the time, there I was right in front of one of my favourite artists with hundreds of pounds worth of equipment,
and I had forgotten to re-charge the battery!”

Fortunately, Joe was kind enough to speak to Robin after the gig and after hearing of his stupidity… ‘Or misfortune’, he invited Robin back to his hotel for a second chance…“If you can get up very early in the morning, you can take photographs of me before I leave for Paris…!” He said with a warm smile. Robin admits that he never slept that night in fear of over sleeping and missing the opportunity.

Robin never forgot Joe Sample’s kindness and how much he enjoyed the brief conversation about music, his son (Nick) and his journey. However, it would take redundancy in IT ten years later for Robin to finally reach his epiphany. Music has always been a major part of his life. Photography has always been an art form that intrigued him. “Why not combine the two?”

What is Michael Valentine Studio?

“There are many great photographers around today. There are millions of great photography galleries on the web. I wanted michaelvalentinestudio.com to say a lot more than just musician photography. Yes, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’, however; I wanted to share much more with viewers. This would in turn help to promote the musician, educate the viewer and in turn sell more great music. I also believe it is important to promote the gigs I photograph, so I run a gig guide page and newsletter. Hi-Fi is also an important factor in my music listening experience hence the Hi-Fi reviews. What I did not factor in all the above was the time it would take for ‘me’ to complete these tasks.
I am a control freak with regards to this baby.

I am not affiliated with any institution and most probably never will be, until I find one that I feel does not attempt to exploit the few skills I am fortunate enough to have gained over the years!

Photographs are available to artists, PR companies, record companies, music venues and collectors. Finance collected through sales is used to manage the website, camera equipment etc. I am not sponsored by Nikon, or Canon yet!
Most artists understand and respect the time and cost involved in running this website.

Artists who have been extremely helpful:
Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Bob James, Tom Brown, Chris ‘Snake’ Davis, Frank McComb, Terri Walker, Roy Ayres, Danilo Perez, Randy Jacobs, Peter White, Jaared & Madeline Bell

Venues who have regularly opened their doors to me:
PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 606 Club & the Cadogan Hall

Robin Francis
C/o Michael Valentine Studio 2005 - 2023