Thursday, 6 March 2008

When I worked for the NME...

In the 80's I did 2 photographic sessions with Morrissey. The first was curtailed after a very short time as Morrissey wasn't feeling well. In fact one of my pictures is him with a bottle of cough mixture. I was a fan, I had bought 'This Charming Man' as a 12" and I knew that he was gay. Nevertheless you couldn't help but fall in love with him. He was so kind, sensitive and gentle even to a rookie girl photographer such as myself. The session went well, I shot everything in B/W TriX, none of this digital bollocks. The pictures have been used extensively. Still it's always a struggle to make a living as a photographer and your back catalogue is basically your pension.
I have recently been alerted to the fact that a site named forevill had reproduced the entire session and was enabling the pictures to be sent as ecards! I emailed the author of this site, the intriguingly named ComtesseD'espair who replied "Hey! I love your pictures - they are probably the greatest pictures ever taken of Morrissey, and I love to share them with other fans. They are all fully credited to you, and your copyright is on them. The site is for fans only, no money is being made by anyone. We just love to look at Mozzer!"
While I appreciate the compliment, that's the whole point: 'no money is being made by anyone'. Not even me. And I do have a kid to feed, keep in ipods ect.
Two weeks ago I realised that someone had set up a fan site for the vile Nancy Spungen. I took one of the last pictures of her with Sid Vicious, a month before Sid stabbed her. Sid was playing at the Electric Ballroom as a solo artist and all of the punk luminaries were there: The Pistols, The Damned, Joan Jett (difficult bitch), Marilyn, the Slits (my fave girl group ever)... I've recently been sorting out and scanning my analogue photo files, and came across the contacts for this occasion.
My picture of the doomed couple was splashed on the front of the Evening Standard when Nancy was killed. Bad for her, but a chance for me, my first front page!

Anyway this fan site again had enabled a jpeg to open up, meaning anyone could copy the picture. I emailed the author who was suitably apologetic so I allowed her to use a thumbnail for free as long as it had a link to my music picture library. I also said to her "Why are you doing a fan site on Nancy Spungeon? I used to see her around the clubs and everybody hated her. She was really unpleasant and a bit frightening." Turns out the fan is..."Not a fan, and I hope no one else is either. I just find her life interesting, and as a young teenager a lot of girls identify with her unfortunately... I suppose it's the "misunderstood" and the anger thing. I hope my website doesn't glorify her too much, that's not my purpose." What an awful thought, young American women admiring Nancy Spungeon.
Without indulging in too much schadenfreude, it does warm the cockles when ex-pop stars kick the bucket and I just happen to have some good piccies of them in my library. The exception is Kirsty MacColl, a talented musician and mother of whom I was very proud to take some very flattering pictures, some of the nicest around, even if I say so myself.
Another punk credential I possess was that I was in the Clash film. I just happened to be hanging around Clerkenwell Magistrates court taking pictures when Mick Jones, Topper Headon and Paul Simonon (accompanied by his older woman rock-chick girlfriend Caroline Coon) rolled up accused of shooting pigeons with an illegal air gun. A crew were following them around and I suppose as I was quite unusual myself, a teenage punk photographer with a blonde spikey haircut, I ended up in the footage. I cannot remember if Joe Strummer was there but I subsequently learnt that he shared my passion for sitting around fires...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)