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The Smiths in 1984

I recently scanned five rolls of  film I shot of The Smiths playing Sheffield City Hall in March 1984 whilst I was at college studying Photojournalism. I had heard “Hand in Glove” and just a couple of others when I knocked on the stage door and asked their manager if I could take some pictures. I was led past the band waiting with guitars to go on sat at a table full of drinks and flowers, and sat on their PA speakers on City Hall stage. The crowd barely filled the stalls and the circle and upper circle were virtually empty, all of which would change for the band in just months. A few minutes later they were all squashed at the front reaching out for Morrissey who was flailing around the stage swinging a bunch of flowers (slowly reduced to mere stalks) and Johnny Marr played a gorgeous cherry 1959 Gibson ES355 with block inlays all night. Fair enough – if I were him I wouldn’t let it out of my sight either. I was amazed at how tight they were. I’ve been a fan ever since and am now the proud owner of my own cherry 335. Funnily enough I received an email from their drummer Mike Joyce some years ago after telling Mark Radcliffe on Radio 1 the story. I sent him the contact sheets and he was really pleased to see them. I remember crawling around the stage and sitting right by his kit as he belted out some unbelievably solid drumming. Competely brilliantly, there is some amateur footage of this very gig on youtube shot by the road crew. I’m very pleased that the pictures have just been enthusiastically received by photo agency Camera Press so they’ll appear in print for the first time. Here’s a few.

 

All images copyright ©Michael Powell

The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984

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The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984

The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984
The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984

The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984
The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984

The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984
The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984

The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984
The Smiths perform at City Hall, Sheffield, UK – 19 March 1984

Powell in glossy from Brazil

Many thanks to Ricardo & Paula for sending me this impressive magazine from Brazil featuring my photographs of their wedding. This tip-top “ONTOP” magazine features an eight page spread of 37 frames. Eagle-eyed readers will notice me listed in Portuguese as Buckingham Palace’s official photographer!

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Richard Attenborough

I had the pleasure of photographing the recently departed Richard Attenborough a few times. He was delightful. The last time we met we walked down a church path chatting with his arm around my shoulder. He surely couldn’t have remembered me and yet he treated me like an old pal. A charismatic and forcefully charming man, many of todays so called “stars” could learn a lot from him and the way he lived his life. I urge you to read his obituary in The Times today (26th August).

 

LORD ATTENBOROUGH

Sir Peter Blake

I recently visited the Royal Academy of Arts and bumped into pop artist Sir Peter Blake so took a few shots of him with some recent works including his Beano lithograph celebrating famous cartoon characters leaving the Dundee school that inspired the Bash Street Kids. Weirdly it was almost exactly 20 years since I last photographed him and in that very room. Now and then photographs below.

 

© Copyright Michael Powell  www.michaelpowell.com
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Baguette of the north

This caused quite a stir. It’s a commission I did for my pal Adrian at Imagewise on behalf of the supermarket Morrisons that involved the projection of a giant baguette onto the Angel of the North, the 177 ft wide sculpture of and by Antony Gormley. I don’t intend to get drawn on whether or not this should have taken place (go to The Guardian Online for that) but I did take offence at those including Gateshead Council who claimed it was faked or “Photoshopped” as many insist on saying. The shot is 100% genuine. The shutter was open for 15 seconds on a tripod and fired by radio remote. The discussion it created in the North East I believe was because the projection was quite faint. Even with two hours of displaying it right next to the A1 only one person claimed they saw it. The image was actually over-exposed by two stops in camera to make it look that vivid. The Daily Telegraph used it page lead over a third of a page.

This version was a chance to show-off a bit and try a different technique. The figure is me and I am firing the camera by radio trigger with a flashgun on the floor behind me also fired by a radio slave. After the flash has fired I have run up to the statue wearing a head torch and holding a flashlight. The 30 second exposure that exposed the statue correctly has also recorded my movement.

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