Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Beatles ‘backwards’ Abbey Road photo sells for £16,000

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Photograph of Fab Four fetches nearly twice the expected price

A photograph of the Beatles walking “backwards” across Abbey Road has sold for £16,000 at auction, several thousand pounds more than expected. The photo was taken by the late Iain Macmillan, during the same shoot that resulted in the Fab Four’s famous album cover.

An unnamed buyer won the auction following a “frenzied bidding session” at Bloomsbury Auctions in London, Spinner reported. The rare item, one of six photos taken for Macmillan’s shoot, reached almost twice the expected purchase price of £9,000.

Besides the direction of the Beatles’ transit – and the purchase price – there’s not much distinguishing the auctioned photograph from the official Abbey Road cover. But whereas Paul McCartney is barefoot on the LP cover, he wears sandals in this photograph. It is unknown what happened to his footwear in between.

Macmillan took the photos in just 10 minutes, standing on a ladder by the Abbey Road zebra crossing. Police were hired to stop traffic. “I think the reason [the photo] became so popular is its simplicity,” Bloomsbury’s Sarah Wheeler said last week. “It’s a very simple, stylised shot, which people can relate to.”

The BeatlesPop and rockJohn LennonPaul McCartneyGeorge HarrisonRingo StarrPhotographySean 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Justin de Villeneuve’s best photograph: David Bowie and Twiggy

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

‘I photographed Bowie with Twiggy for Vogue. But he ended up taking it for the cover of Pin Ups’

I started going out with Twiggy in 1965. She wanted to become a model, so we arranged meetings with fashion editors, but they all said she looked too young. Eventually she got her break, and the whole look of the era changed: all the girls wanted hair and eye makeup like hers.

By 1973, we were no longer a couple, but I remained her manager. David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane had just come out, and we loved the line: “Twig the wonder kid.” We met Bowie a few times socially, and he mentioned that he wanted to be the first man on the cover of Vogue. I called them to suggest this, with Twiggy, of course, and after a bit of a hoo-ha, they agreed.

To be honest, I wasn’t aprofessional photographer. I had watched Bert Stern, a hero of mine, do a cover with Twigs. I was fascinated by the set up: he would disappear into an office while the assistants set everything up. Then, when it was ready, he would return, utter those immortal words, “Strike a pose”, click the picture and go. I thought: “Justin, you can do that.” That’s the moment I became a photographer.

Bowie was working on Pin Ups in Paris, so we flew there to do the shoot. When Twigs and Bowie were together and lit up, I looked through the viewfinder and realised that David was pure white, whereas Twiggy was tanned from a holiday in Bermuda. There was a moment of panic because I knew it would look bizarre; but the makeup artist suggested drawing masks on them, and this worked out even better.

I remember distinctly that I’d got it with the first shot. It was too good to be true. When I showed Bowie the test Polaroids, he asked if he could use it for the Pin Ups record sleeve. I said: “Idon’t think so, since this is for Vogue. How many albums do you think you will sell?” “A million,” he replied. “This is your next album cover!” I said. When I got back to London and told Vogue, they never spoke to me again. Several weeks later, Twigs and I were driving along Sunset Boulevard and we passed a 60ft billboard of the picture. Iknew Ihad made the right decision.


Born: 1939, London.

Influences: Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Willie Christie.

High point: “This and my pictures for the design store Biba, which are iconic of the 1970s.”

Low point: “When the partnership withTwigs ended.”

Top tip: “Watch the composition of yourpicture; make sure you get the balance right.”

David BowiePhotographyPop and rockSarah 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

The Beatles on the road, 1964-1966 – in pictures

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Photographer Harry Benson was granted access to the Beatles’ inner sanctum in the mid-60s. Take a look at his intimate portraits of a band on the cusp of world domination

Family life

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Readers’ favourite photographs, songs and recipes

Snapshot: ‘No more Christmases then’

This picture always makes me smile. My brother Grahame looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy, Lord Charles to Dad’s Ray Alan. He was a much wanted son, and I arrived eight years later. Grahame was adored by his father, who built this house.

In the summer of 1970, Grahame was 14. He woke up unusually early and looked out of that very window. He told me this just a few years ago. “The old man was digging the garden. Then he stopped and looked across at me. He waved. I waved back and then he carried on digging. I went back to bed and didn’t think any more about it.”

It wasn’t until the morning that he remembered that Dad was in hospital – he’d been there for weeks with a “bad headache”. Just after 9am, Mrs Bernard from next door came around. Addenbrooke’s hospital had rung her as we didn’t have a phone. She whispered to Mum in the kitchen, then Mum’s crumpled face announced that dad had died. He’d had meningitis. He was 50. All our lives my brother and I never spoke of “that day”.

Then, when Grahame was diagnosed with lung cancer, we both discovered there is nothing like a grim diagnosis to prise open painful memories. Secrets only siblings share. He told me his story of waking early that morning years ago and “seeing” Dad in the garden the night before he died. My unspoken memory of that day consisted of my big brother announcing, “That’s it then, no more Christmases.”

Nearly 40 years later, he asked: “Do you know what I said when they told us Dad was dead?”

“No,” I lied.

“That’s it then, no more Christmases.” And so, gently, we carefully tried to unravel our complicated childhood. Too late. Within weeks Grahame died. Like his dad, he was 50 years young. Gill Powell

Playlist: It’s a summer of Springsteen for me

Radio Nowhere by Bruce Springsteen

I was trying to find my way home,

But all I heard was a drone.

The opening riff of Radio Nowhere rang round Madison Square Garden. The Boss and the E Street Band strode on the stage through a cloud of dry ice. It was only then I realised that the 37,000-strong crowd had not been booing in frustration but yelling Bruuuuuce!!! in honour of their idol. Last on was the massive figure of Clarence “Big Man” Clemons who made his station just in time for the sax solo.

I’ve been a Springsteen fan since the late 1970s and, with my wife Nan, have created a whole family of fans. But I had never seen him live and when an opportunity came up for a family holiday to New York in October 2007, it was too good to miss. My concerns over the electronic tickets bought online from Canada were unfounded. Here we were, seeing Springsteen in theGarden – two legends at once.

This wasn’t just the daughters pandering to Dad for paying for the holiday. They loved it. The show covered his newly released album, Magic, as well as songs from his back catalogue. I’m sure Born to Run was the highlight for many, and a rousing performance of American Land closing the show had them dancing in the aisles, including a fellow Scot in a kilt and rugby top – where do they come from?

I just need to hear the opening bars Radio Nowhere to be back in New York and that sweet autumn night.

The following summer, Nan and I had a weekend in Cardiff, joining a crowd of 60,000 in the Millennium Stadium to see a show on the European leg of the same tour. In July 2009, the whole family saw Springsteen’s next tour at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Midway through the show, Radio Nowhere prompted one daughter to say: “I love this song, it always makes me think of New York.”

The Boss’s 2012 tour was announced late last year, making Christmas shopping easier for me. Nan and I are having a few days in Barcelona with a visit to the Estadio Olímpico to see him this month. Lauren and Melanie, who were with us in New York, got tickets to see him headline the Hard Rock Calling festival in Hyde Park in July. Their older sister, who has missed out so far, is going to the RDS stadium in Dublin with her partner. And for me, there’s another trip to see him next month at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and a reunion with old friends who haven’t been together for 30 years. So it’s a full summer of Springsteen.

Radio Nowhere doesn’t feature anywhere as one of Springsteen’s top 10 tracks but it’s is the most evocative for me. Now, how do I request it for this year’s set list? Sandy Tuckerman

We love to eat: Staffordshire oatcakes


Staffordshire oatcakes

Cheshire cheese

Bacon rashers

On Sunday mornings my mother and I would make our way from the small Staffordshire coal-mining village of Norton le Moors to church in Smallthorn. Although we must have made this journey throughout the year, my memory of it is in winter. It is cold and grey, and I seem to recall the smell of the smoke carried on the biting west wind, from the hundreds of pottery kilns in and around the nearest town of Burslem. My father would not be with us for he was not a Roman Catholic, nor was he in the habit of attending his own Anglican church.

The service always seemed to last a very long time and as it was then conducted in Latin, it made no sense to me. It was not a ritual I looked forward to, and the great compensation for what I considered a boring and incomprehensible hour was the visit to the oatcake shop on the way home.

The open door released a waft of heat carrying the most heavenly and comforting yeasty smell of cooking oats. A bare, whitewashed room housed a huge iron table of a hotplate, while the rotund proprietor, swathed in a white apron, ladled the oat batter from a giant bowl cradled in one arm, a ladleful at a time, evenly spaced, each one hitting the hot iron with a slap and a steamy sizzle.

Having artfully dispatched the last oatcake, he would return to the first and begin flicking them all over in a mesmerising rhythm that ensured both sides were cooked to perfection, at the same time exchanging pleasantries with his hypnotised customers.

These were not the small, hard oatcakes we think of as Scottish. The Staffordshire oatcake, particular to Staffordshire alone, is nearly as large as a dinner plate; thin, pliable, almost rubbery, its surface pitted.

Eventually, a dozen oatcakes, wrapped in greaseproof paper and a few pages of the Evening Sentinel, would be ours. My job was to carry this warm, sweet-smelling parcel clutched to my chest until the Turners bus arrived and had dispatched us home, to our small, terraced house in Cornhill.

The oatcakes would then be heated, one by one, on the cast-iron gas stove grill, turned over and spread with crumbly Cheshire cheese and a rasher of bacon. Then they were heated through again until the cheese melted into the cratered surface and finally finished off with a generous dollop of HP brown sauce. We rolled them up round the filling and ate them with a cup of sweet, hot tea in front of the roaring fire my father had lit for our homecoming after church. Dear oatcake shop, thank you for thisfond memory.

Marilyn Mann

We’d love to hear your stories

We will pay £25 for every Letter to, Playlist, Snapshot or We love to eat we publish. Write to Family Life, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU or email Please include your address and phone number.

FamilyPhotographyBruce SpringsteenPop and rockFood & 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Rock stars: before they were famous

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

A new picture of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger at primary school has emerged. Why is there something so compelling about seeing the icons of our own youth during theirs?

In pictures: rock stars in their high-school yearbooks

Fresh-faced, clean-cut, square-jawed or just plain square: irrefutable photographic evidence proves that to be a rock star you don’t necessarily have to look like one – at least not while you’re still in school.

The recently released Wentworth Primary School class picture featuring a young Michael Jagger and an even younger (by five months) Keith Richards doesn’t make it easy to pick out the rock legends from the bunch. That’s understandable – they’re seven and eight — but even high school yearbook photos – some taken a few short years, or months, before stardom first beckoned – don’t give many clues either.

Nobody is making a huge bid to stand out from the crowd. Back when Iggy Pop was still James Newell Osterberg Jr, he looked just like everybody else. Even Madonna, whose singular style influenced a generation, is sporting the haircut of the moment, inspired by Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill. Flamboyance, iconoclasm and self-possession appear to be in short supply.

Appearances, of course, deceive: school is a conformist environment – one deviates from the norm at one’s peril, even when the norm is transparently horrible. Most of these crazy kids are conforming to the point of being unrecognisable – only Springsteen and Steve Tyler carry a hint of their future selves. As for Marilyn Manson’s subsequent transformation, well, now we know he had a good reason.

There’s something terribly sweet about all these fleshy, mutable faces, before time unpacks its etching tools and gets to work. Everyone looks so interchangeable. These are legends in embryo, smiling goofy smiles.

Perhaps the most striking thing about school photos is that they show musicians strongly associated with one’s youth inhabiting a completely different youth of their own. Blondie is a band inextricably linked to the late 1970s, but her picture shows that Debbie Harry – complete with beehive – spent her formative years navigating a very different era. We like to peg our pop stars to a specific time and place, forgetting they come from somewhere else entirely.

PhotographyPop and rockMick JaggerKeith RichardsThe Rolling StonesIggy PopMadonnaBruce SpringsteenMarilyn MansonDebbie HarryTim 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds