This is a great idea.The Smithsonian in the US is compiling a compendium of the best rock’n’roll photography throughout the ages for eventual publication in a book. Nice to see my first entry has been selected for consideration. Some great photography on display here. Worth a visit. Link to site: Source: No more heroes. | Smithsonian Institution Rock and Roll
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Het Depot in Leuven, Belgium to be the “instagrammer” photographer for a recent concert of iconic punk band The Stranglers. In between shooting with a mobile phone and uploading instantly to the instagram account of Het Depot, I managed to shoot some hi-res images with my Sony a7s. As for the scowl in the last shot of bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel: I deserved it. JJ spotted me with my face buried in my mobile phone. He read it as someone disrespectful of the music and made his feeling known by ‘gently’ placing the sole of his immaculately polished Doc Martin shoe on the top of my head. Warning noted. He smiled. I smiled. What he didn’t know was that I was frantically uploading concert photos and footage to the concert venue’s Instagram account. Shoot. Edit. Upload. Social media has its perils. Especially if a very fit karate master takes umbrage. The Stranglers deserve respect. They’ve earned audiences’ complete attention with some of the best synth punk sounds ever written. Apologies JJ. Great gig.
Rock ‘n’ Roll and photography are made for each other. My early visual education was informed and inspired by music photography commissioned by the NME – a British music journalism magazine that had its heyday during the emerging punk period in the late 70s. Along with incisive and intelligent writing from Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons, the magazine also hired “hip young gunslingers” to take the photos. Photographers like Anton Corbijn and Pennie Smith, who shot the famous photo of The Clash’s Paul Simonon smashing his guitar on stage. Smith’s iconic photo went on to appear as the cover album art for The Clash’s seminal “London Calling”. Rumour has it that the NME is on its last legs. A “victim” of the irrepressible digital onslaught? I think not. Like many creative endeavours today, we’ve all forgotten what makes something interesting, something compelling. NME will probably crash and burn as a result of pandering to market research “experts”. Like politicians who have nothing to say, creative people are also asking the market what they want to see and hear. All we want is to hear and look at is something that has soul. A point of view that challenges how we perceive things. Something that isn’t boring. Too much to ask?
Great series of images by Christopher Furlong that record events at a boutique music festival for Punk and Ska fans in Morecambe UK. Difficult to explain the raw energy and excitement of a musical movement that blew away the stifling banality of corporate culture in the 70’s. It could be successfully argued that we have returned to that cultural stasis today. Joe Strummer, lead singer of The Clash, summed up succinctly the purity of the Punk ethos in this quote shortly before his untimely death in 2002. “I’d define it as self-awareness: an ability to trust your own judgement. An ability to see through veils of bullshit or spins on stories or propaganda. Maybe an ability to think for yourself.” I had the great fortune to see The Jam and The Clash live in the late 70’s – I have the perforated eardrum to prove it:)