My Generation: The Glory Years of British Rock an exhibition by Harry Goodwin at the Lowry Arts Centre, Manchester.
Harry Goodwin was the official stills photographer on Top of the Pops during the 1960s and early 1970s and he captured virtually every major act in rock, pop and soul from Britain and America.
According to the Lowry: This exhibition of Goodwin’s work, drawn from the BBC’s archive, forms a unique record of music during this exciting period…Few of the era’s leading musicians escaped Goodwin’s keen eye with intimate, candid and exhilarating images of musicians on and offstage including Jimi Hendrix playing guitar with his teeth, The Rolling Stones in the BBC Canteen and Paul McCartney pouring tea. His shots, whether spectacular or everyday have an in the moment authenticity and appeal.
I was invited to the launch on Saturday 18th May by my old mate, photographer John O’Connor.
Back in 2007 I’d assisted John several times shortly after turning freelance. I can remember visiting his studio in Alderley Edge seeing large portraits of John Lennon, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Motown stars such as Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Supremes, it was like a rock & roll directory of the sixties & seventies.
I was like ‘Wow who took these?’ John replied: “Harry Goodwin”.
I’d never heard the name Harry Goodwin prior to seeing these images & I couldn’t believe that one person had captured such a diverse range of celebrities and musicians during their career. John explained that he assisted Harry during the sixties when he was 19 years old and they had remained good friends. John was helping arrange a bold project of Harry’s work through the V&A to ensure he received the recognition as a photographer who had captured a unique record of the musical tapestry of the 60s and early 70s.
A few years later Harry’s work was being seen by a new younger audience interested in the musical culture of the 1960s. Now his work has been exhibited around the country and abroad through the V&A in London. Click HERE for a short video of Harry discussing his work on Top of the Pops.
So fast forward to the18th May 2013 and Harry was attending the exhibition. We chatted about a number of his favourite images and memorable moments from his career, I can appreciate how every image has a story to tell. This was a retrospective look into his work during his time at the BBC a snapshot covering over 10 years and whittled down into about 60 portraits. I’ve shot celebrity portraits myself over the years and they are rarely straightforward and you are often restricted by extremely tight schedules. Harry picked out his portrait sessions with Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones Brian Jones and these were particularly amusing stories. His recollections were full of details and anecdotal humour, quite amazing when you consider he’s 89 years young, sharp as a pin with a real presence about him. It was a pleasure to share these conversations.
The exhibition was a fascinating journey down memory lane for my parents as this was their generation and they had attended a number of the concerts and seen many of the artists so hearing some of the stories behind the images from Harry really added to the experience.
Meeting him was a fascinating insight into the career and life of a celebrity / music photographer in the swinging sixties.I bought Harry’s book My Generation which accompanies the exhibition
This exhibition runs until Sunday 15th September 2013 and is well worth a visit.