With my first camera in my hand I was lucky to be working in Manchester and start my career photographing musicians live. As time went on these included many well known names – Madonna, Prince, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, James Brown and many more!
These have been widely published in magazines and books and these images have become a small part of the visual history of modern music.
THE SMITHS Apparently it’s the most famous photo of The Smiths and that makes me smile.It’s the band not the photo that’s classic! Tho’ I love it that people enjoy it years later and that I caught them at their magnificent peak.
To me I count myself so very lucky, as a huge fan to have got the opportunity to see and shoot The Smiths live and then to get to meet them and shoot the Salford Lads image. The first live show I shot was in 1984 at the Free Trade Hall – I was so skint I could only afford one reel of film and had to walk a long way home. From this show I caught the shot of dead flowers hanging from his jeans, but my favourite now is of Morrissey waving flowers above his head, shot from the side of the stage. More live shows followed and then Rough Trade asked me to shoot a session …
“That“ photo was shot on a cold, dark, winter day in Salford, yet somehow it has a darkness that sets the right mood. I and friend George Pace went to shoot the session mid December with a pocketful of film and a bit of taxi fare. It seems so casual and un-posed and in a way that’s just how it came together.
These days its been accepted as part of the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the Manchester Art Gallery and the Salford Art Gallery. All rather funny when the original film was processed in a bedroom and darkroom, with the chemicals kept in old drinks bottles!