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MICHAEL PUTLAND: FROM ABBA TO ZAPPA

Michael Putland's shots of rock royalty – in pictures,
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“I was in Brazil for Q magazine with the journalist Johnny Black to cover this South American tour by The Cure. Halfway between gigs in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, during a bus ride along narrow, precipitous mountain roads, we stopped at a village. I felt obliged to point out to Robert that his lipstick was rather smudged. He gave me a wordless look, which told me it was meant to be like that.”

On this date in 2019, Michael Putland, dies aged 72. The English music photographer was said to have snapped every major musical star from A to Z—ABBA to Zappa.

Born in 1947 just outside of London, Putland took up photography at the age of 9. He left school at 16 and began working in a photographic studio in London. From 1965 to 1967 he assisted Walter Curtin, a Time-Life photographer. By 1971, Putland was the official photographer for the British music magazine Disc & Music Echo. His first assignment for them that year was to photograph Mick Jagger in London. Two years later Putland was hired as the tour photographer of The Rolling Stones European Tour 1973.

“I was nursing a terrible hangover and had to leave on a plane with the band at 7am from Tempelhof airport, where I stopped every now and then to sit on my steel camera case and take some deep breaths. Eventually stumbling on to the plane, I noticed Mick and Bianca were already fast asleep in the front row.”
Before taking this picture of Harry in London, Putland came across her when he was based in New York: “This gorgeous creature came on the stage in Central Park wearing barely no dress at all, strode up to the mike, smiled at the audience, cleared her throat and spat on the stage. It was shocking somehow, especially as she looked so beautiful. It’s almost impossible to take anything other than a great picture of her.”
Bryan Ferry at his home in London, 1976 — Putland has often claimed that he, “didn’t have a day off in the 70s’. He told AnOther magazine in 2014: ‘My style was always more photojournalistic – I didn’t want to do glossy. There are people that do take very beautiful, glossy pictures but my talent isn’t technical, if anything it’s capturing the real person.”
“Groups are always so difficult to capture in the same frame when playing live,’ says Putland. ‘So I went deep down the aisle at Madison Square Garden and, using a very long lens, was lucky enough to capture this. It’s now one of my most popular shots.”
ABBA
“After photographing Siouxsie with Debbie Harry, Hynde et al for the “Ladies Tea Party” [hosted by Harry at a hotel], it was a pleasure to photograph Siouxsie on her own. She had the most striking eyes beneath the hair and was gentle soul.”
This image was taken after the Woburn music festival, when Putland was asked to photograph Hendrix at Woburn Abbey, belonging to Robin Russell, who became the 14th Duke of Bedford. “During the concert, I had taken a roll of colour of Hendrix that Beat Instrumental used on its November cover. Then they lost the entire film roll. About 12 years ago, I told that story to a cab driver, who said, ‘I’ve got that issue at home.’ So I offered him 50 quid for it.” All photographs: Michael Putland

In 1999, Genesis Publications produced a limited edition book, Pleased to Meet You, containing 400 images of the Rolling Stones by Putland.

In April 2019 he published The Music I Saw, pairs images of the many stars he captured over his 50-year career—including the Rolling Stones, the Cure and Donna Summer.

Michael Putland/Getty Images.

• Read also YOUNG PUNKS & GLUE SNIFFERS IN THE 80S IN THE SOCIALIST HUNGARY.

__________

Featured image: Patti Smith taking a photo of photographer Lynn Goldsmith, New York, 1978.
Text: The Guardian, Wikipedia.

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Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.
Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.

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RUDOLF DETHU

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