Monty’s Halloween costume. Or that’s what he keeps telling all the other pups! Cone of shame! Allergies are so bad I lick my paws till they are red. Can’t wait till tomorrow’s frost! #coneofshame #halloweenpupcostume #barkbox #morkie #puppymillrescue #montydog #dogsofinstagram #monty (at Ron Berg Photography)
Another photo from my shoot with @tedalexandro and @hollisjames in New York this week. Sort of has a Shawshank Redemption look to it. #teacherslounge #astoria #queens #NewYork #comedy #comedians #shawshank #briankellyphoto #www.briankellyphoto.net →
Marketed as a guide to New Wave Peter Noble’s Future Pop is a fantastic time capsule of the early eighties music scene. This 1983 book has quotes from all of the sitters, but it’s the portraits that shine. Part photojournalism, part art-school pretension, most of the pictures have that wonderfully scrappy sense of a photographer pushing hard for something new and amazing and falling somewhat short. But this is where the charm lies: aggressively ambitious but ultimately grounded.
Peter Noble was a photographer a few years ahead of me in Toronto and this book came out just as I was finishing high school (and beginning to take photography more seriously) so it had a great effect on me. We met up recently in London, England and re-visited the Future.
Chris Buck: – What are you most happy with, and what are you least happy with about Future Pop?
Peter Noble: I’m not really happy with the book.
When they first showed me the finished book I realized that technically they did a shortcut, they basically published low-quality halftones. And they converted a lot of the color shots that I took on 35 mm transparency to black-and-white shots, which I thought was insane.
They were trying to save money and they didn’t tell me beforehand. So I threw the book against the wall and started crying. (Pause) As the photographer, I just cried.
Can you give an example of a picture that was rendered black-and-white in the book that was particularly special picture in color?
There’s tons of them. (Holding up the book) that John Lydon one was color. Oh, that David Sylvian was a color shot. That was against a blue satin bed, and that’s when they played at Ryerson and he has this really colorful shirt on, and what I was doing…they were lying on the bed…I was standing above them, shooting down, so that was like the backdrop.
The Nick Cave shot was actually black-and-white, but you can see how it looks gray – and the blacks don’t come out right. When you print black-and-white photographs, the blacks have to be black, not gray.
You photographed Madonna before she was a big star. She’s probably the biggest artist in the book and she isn’t even on the cover.
She wasn’t known at all when I photographed her. I had a friend who was living on Canal Street, and he just said, “You should go photograph this singer.”
I lot of the shots came about in funny ways, I mean, look at that shot of Rick James French kissing my old friend Beth Bovaird – it’s hilarious. We did that in his bedroom after he played this big concert in Buffalo, New York.
We somehow had the knack of getting backstage. “Hey, do you wanna go to a party? Rick’s having a party.” They’re like, “Look at these crazy New Wave people,” you know, because we all looked kind of cool.
Rick James’s mother was there, and the whole party was in the house. Rick would hold court in his bedroom, and he had security guards on the door. Finally, we were allowed to go in and see His Majesty. It was just very funny.
How long after the book came out did you stop being a photographer?
I think maybe…I don’t know what year this came out.
I think it’s 1983. There’s definitely some people you photographed that aren’t in the book because it was after you did the book, so clearly you kept doing the book and kept shooting…because Sonic Youth is ’84.
Yeah, but what happened was in October 1984 I moved to England, and that was it.
Did you ever have any plans to re-do the book and do it the way you wanted? Show the color pictures in color and lay it out in a contemporary style.
No, no. I believe that it was of the time. They’re interesting photos, but let’s not dwell on the past. It is what it is.
So I’m bringing this up and making it uncomfortable…
No, not at all! I was young; I was excitable. You know, it was a long time ago. How long ago was that? 30 years ago?
Yes, but this era is still in still forefront in the public’s mind – the cover of Mojo this month is Debbie Harry, “A Modern-Day Icon Speaks.”
Too bad they didn’t get any of my photos because some of my photos are the best ones taken of her.
Live music at #mylio party (at Stephan Weiss Studios) →
The Grand Canyon #roadtrip #oaklandbound #tannifer2014 (at Mathers Point Grand Canyon) →
Ted Alexandro enjoys nature. (@tedalexandro) #teacherslounge #comedy #comedians #briankellyphoto #astoria #queens #NewYork #www.briankellyphoto.net →
The beautiful and talented chef @ashagomez talks about food, love and her two Souths in a video co-produced with @jenniferdavick. Watch at www.vimeo.com/108201183 →
In preparation for our first ever Community Table with photographers, Brite Productons and I reached out to art producer friends to ask them the following question, “If you were able to ask a professional photographer just one question about our industry, what would it be?” Well, Suzee Barrabee, Director of Art and Print Production at […] →