I use the NME, I use anarchy! (end of an era)
You know all that stuff I was going on about in my previous post? All that business about having a bedroom full or band pictures? Well those band pictures were sourced from all over the place, bought at Afflecks Palace, peeled off walls around Manchester, swapped with friends for cigarettes, taken from album inlays or record covers but most commonly cut lovingly and precisely from the pages of The NME.
I used to read the NME religiously (wearing a Nun's habit). My dad would pick up the paper each fortnight and I'd go through every word. Even stuff about bands I didn't like, just so I could not like them a bit more.
I'd study the pictures and then decide which were going on my wall and where. My thumb is stained Blue Tack blue to this day.
Extra special editions I would keep hold of before inevitably selling them in the pursuit of hedonism and escapism. I had the Lennon death edition, the Kurt Cobain death edition (above), A Sex Pistols edition and an Ultrasound edition for some peculiar reason.
Again, I was being influenced subconsciously by music photography. At the time I thought the pictures were just there, in front of me, I didn't realise they were having any real impact but if you think back to some of those covers, how could they not?!
So you can imagine how excited I was when one of my shots first appeared in The NME. I have no idea what the shot was or when but I do remember I was absolutely buzzing.
With other music mags I was typically pretty ambivalent about them using my work, I'm generally not that bothered where the image goes as long as it's out there (and not being used by The Sun or Mail, or someone), it's much more important to me that the actual subject of the image wants to use it. But every time the NME used one of my pictures it really made my day. Especially so when they used one of my pictures on a cover!
The news has come out today that The NME will cease printing and I feel strangely emotional about that. The NME, like, most printed press, had been going through a hard time for the past few years and personally I think they'd chosen the wrong direction but the amount those great writers, editors and photographers have given to British music fans over the past few decades is immeasurable. The amount they have given the bands they have featured also so. Some of the great American bands could barely get any press in their own country but the NME would always see something in them and give them a cover and/or two pages. They have been a hugely important part of the cultural scene and I'm extremely sad to know I won't see anymore copies being grabbed up in newsagents up and down the country.
Here's some of the great NME covers but first, my daughter Pheobe holding the paper when I had a shot on the cover. I had to actually tell her to look proud! I didn't actually realise till months later but I had another 3 different shots inside.
One of my favourite moments working in photography.