Nick Cave, London 1989.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011 Commissioned by the German magazine Spex, this photograph was done in Bridges Place, which is an alleyway close to Trafalgar Square.  It’s a smelly, somewhat medieval passage which, even on sunny days, is quite dark and dramatic and it narrows down to about two feet at one end.  My photograph of Douglas Adams was taken in exactly the same place.

It's one of the places in Central London which, just a few feet away from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life, can photographically be made to look quite otherworldly.

Because, in those days at any rate, lots of hotels, record companies, film companies, PR agencies and management offices were concentrated into a few square miles of Central London, I had a few fail safe spots where I knew I could always go and make an different looking photograph.  Bridges Place was often preferable to a chintzy hotel room or an anonymous, windswept roof.  And it certainly suited my downbeat style better.

I don't work that way now and I don't necessarily recommend it but it was the way I worked then.

Over the space of about 12 or 13 years, I’d photographed Nick Cave at least half a dozen times and every time I met him he acted as if we’d never met before. You’ll photograph some musicians for five minutes and twenty years later, you’ll run into them again and they’ll instantly remember your name.  It’s not that way with Nick Cave.  I never saw any glimmer of recognition in his eyes each time we met.  None whatsoever.

It’s okay though, it doesn’t bruise my ego.

Well… maybe just a bit.

But perhaps it’s a good thing. The first time I ever photographed Shane McGowan, he seemed slightly disagreeable (though one learnt that it was never easy to tell with him). Whilst I was out of the room, he told my assistant that he didn’t like me at all because I was some “c**t”  he’d fallen out with when I photographed the Pogues.

I’d never, in fact, ever photographed the Pogues.