Wednesday, 9 March 2011 I decided to post this photograph because it's a perfect example of the kind of photograph that no one really has to take any more. At least, I don't need to.
It's an unpublished photograph of the the Los Angeles punk band X. It was taken in 1984 and it was commissioned by The Face magazine.
It was in the early years of my career as a professional photographer and I was still finding my feet stylistically. I used to try incredibly hard in those days, maybe too hard. I often used to sketch out several ideas and show my subjects and ask them to pick one. Or I would spend ages driving around town trying to scope out the perfect location for the photos.
In the case of the photo above, I'd found this building in North West London that had these old metal trusses running through it and the end parts were in the shape of 'x's. I met the band at the offices of their record company, in Central London, and persuaded them to let me drive them to this location, about half an hour's drive away.
Always the press officer at that particular record company (WEA) would say to me "why don't you do the photos on the roof of our building." I presume she said this to every photographer that ever came to her office to shoot a WEA band. I think X were just happy to get out of the office for a while. But it led to an hour or so of driving and twenty minutes taking photos. Which, as I'm sure you can imagine, is not an ideal balance.
Of course, these days people don't need to take photos like this because the 'x's could easily be put into any old wall with Photoshop. And that's even if anyone were so daft as to need to be as literalist about things as I was back then.
In the great film about Helmut Newton 'Frames From The Edge' he explains that he never wasted any time in strange or exotic environments looking for interesting locations and he'd always find the perfect spot to shoot very close to his hotel.
Whether this is really true or not, it's certainly an interesting discipline.
You can watch frames From The Edge here -