Blur, band, recording studio, London, 1991
I see this was taken in April, and the band's first album was released in August that year, although their first top ten single "There is No Other Way" was released that month, so this must have been for an interview to mark that. I knew little about them at that stage, but they were an approachable group. Taking an idea (for what it was worth) merely from their name, I wanted to add a sense of "blur" if not Blur by shooting them through the window. For City Limits.
Lester Bowie, backstage, London, 1989
I admired Lester for his madcap/serious approach to music, his defence of respecting your elders and his defiance against pickling jazz into one image. I love his band's Brass Fantasy's covers of popular/pop songs and his album "I Only Have Eyes for You" is still one of my favourites. This wasn't a shot for an interview, but I was covering his concert for The Wire, and took along lights so I could grab a quick portrait in the corridor backstage – where he quickly and irreverently posed between two roughly set-up lights. Love the cigar smoking Groucho Marx-like in his hand. Now passed on (in 1999) he was one of the greats.
Don Byron, musician (clarinet), hotel, London, 1993
This is on instant Polaroid negative film (as I've mentioned before on this blog) and lit by torchlight in complete darkness. After several attempts – some solarising, some with the streaked torchlight not quite successful, this shot saw him more relaxed and with the best light. You can see the three stripes of torchlight in his glasses where I've "painted" the light over him. I originally printed the black-and-white film on colour paper, selecting a deep green colour which I've remade with this scan of the negative. For The Wire.
For more on these portraits, see here, and the Portraits tag at right.