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Pat Pope: Damon Albarn

Work / Photography

Photographer Pat Pope on shooting 90s rock royalty

A selection of 13 previously unseen images of some of the world’s most famous musicians by photographer Pat Pope are to go on sale at Hampstead gallery Zebra One Gallery. During the 90s, Pat Pope rose to prominence, shooting everyone from Lou Reed, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, and Morrissey to PJ Harvey, REM, Jarvis Cocker, Ian Brown, Damon Albarn and Aphex Twin. We caught up with the photographer to find out what went on behind the scenes.

On Morrissey

“I was shooting for a magazine cover. I picked up Morrissey in my car which at the time, 20 years ago, had overflowing ashtrays and fast food wrappers on the floor. These were his two pet hates but he gracefully accepted the lift, saying nothing. We shot at various locations he had chosen. A rare occurrence for any artist. He was hands-on and charming.”

On Radiohead

“This shot was taken in my hotel bathroom in New York. They were supporting R.E.M in America but had time off in New York for their own shows. I had followed them for a couple of days but we hadn’t really nailed it so they came to my room after midnight and we improvised.”

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Pat Pope: Morrissey

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Pat Pope: Radiohead

On David Bowie

“I had been a fan for 25 years and really wanted to photograph him. The problem was every opportunity went to older, more experienced photographers so I had to make my own destiny. My friend worked for a festival company where he was headlining in 1996 so I suggested a backstage studio so we could grab people as they went to catering. We teamed up with Amnesty International with the intention of having an exhibition in London later in the year to make money for the charity.

“Due to major traffic/access problems, and Bowie performing on the first day, I never got to photograph him though we had a very successful four days. Then, months later, they announced the line up for 1997 and Bowie was headlining again only this time on the Saturday. We were on again. This time I was more organised and the time was set.

“Bowie was late and I was very nervous to meet my hero. He eventually turned up. I showed him to his seat and shot three rolls of film all the time thinking I should really be speaking to him but I was too nervous. I had waited 25 years and now I was silent! As he left his PR turned and reminded him he needed a shot in his stage outfit. ‘Will you take it Pat?’ he asked. He returned an hour later by which time I was relaxed. It was like greeting an old friend! We laughed and joked and shot for ten minutes and then he invited me to shoot on stage. This was turning out to be the most memorable night of my life. I really thought we were best friends. I never met him again.”

On PJ Harvey

”This shot was taken while I was still at college. I asked to rearrange the furniture at her house. She didn’t like that idea so we shot outside.”

On Debbie Harry

“This shot was also taken at the Amnesty/Phoenix Festival sessions. She was a friend of Andy Warhol in the 70s and as she was carrying bananas, I asked her to hold them up by way of a Warhol/Velvet Underground tribute.”

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Pat Pope: David Bowie

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Pat Pope: P J Harvey

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Pat Pope: Debbie Harry

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Pat Pope: Ian Brown

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Pat Pope: Jarvis Cocker

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Pat Pope: Lou Reed

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Pat Pope: Aphex Twin

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Pat Pope: Bluetones