not wrong... The first exhibition of Stephen's work has opened in
Manchester at Tampopo on Albert Square and includes photos not just
of His Great Mozness but also legends such as James Brown, George
Clinton, Bono, Gregory Isaacs, John Lydon, Prince etc etc. Find
out more about the exhibition >>>
father with a five-year-old son Paul, Stephen now lives and works
in Reading. The Haçienda days may be behind him now.. but
he still has many fond memories of his days in Manchester snapping
Mozzer and other music greats.
asked Stephen Wright about:
Smiths connection: "I used to go down to the Hacienda and
the Apollo and I used to pop pictures down to music papers. It was
me with my first camera learning to take pictures. The Smiths played
twice at BBC Oxford Rd, before that they played one of their best
shows at the Free Trade Hall. I went along there in 1984 with one
reel of film ' cos I was skint and starting and climbed into the
rigging and took various pictures of them on stage there including
one that is in the exhibiton of Morrissey's bum with flowers hanging
down the back of his jeans. I sent that to Rough Trade.. and then
they rang and asked if would I like to do a session with The Smiths.
...'that photo' outside Salford Lads Club: "It
was a dark day in Salford...we did pictures on both ends of Coronation
St [where Salford Lads' Club is in Ordsall] and then we went to
the Arndale Centre. I wasn't told: 'we want a picture for a sleeve.'
It was: 'will you do a session with the band,' based on the photos
I'd sent down.
...the huge interest in 'that photo':
"In all honesty, I had no idea until three months ago that
this particular picture was so well thought of. I left Manchester
13 or 14 years ago... I haven't shot a live photo for a dozen years
but every now and then someone would say 'are you the Steve Wright
that took this?' Either because I'd left Manchester or because I
wasn't really involved in doing pop photos any more.. I was out
of the loop."
think Morrissey looks like Mona Lisa - he's got this kind of
'smirk!' I was just starting as a photographer.. it was me and
my first Nikon. But there's something the way they naturally
posed, that's quite interesting. Stephen Wright, photographer
he thinks of 'that photo':
There was an article in the Guardian in February and they used this
picture and they declared it ;the finest ever picture of The Smiths.
"I think Morrissey looks like Mona Lisa - he's got this kind
of 'smirk!' There's something about that picture that it all pulls
together.. I was just starting as a photographer.. it was me and
my first Nikon. But there's something the way they naturally posed,
that's quite interesting. I only had two possible lenses to take
pictures with and it isn't the right lens to take that picture with...
So techically it was shot on the wrong lens!"
photo of the exhibition:
Gregory Isaacs, 1983 at the Hacienda. He just looks so drugged!
Just so stoned.. I'm sure he was! I was in the Haçienda frequently.
It never really felt like work...
...other photos in the exhibition: There's U2 in 1983 at the
Manchester Apollo, there's several Smiths ones... It's quite a curious
mix that ranges from Miles Davis and James Brown to John Lydon at
the Apollo in 1984 and The Smiths.... All of these people were quite
...the fresh interest in his work:
Ironically I've made less money photographing things I loved ie
the musicians than if I go and do a corporate event for an agency.
The warmth of it is the very idea that someone, somewhere in the
world likes those pictures enough.. and then I go into the darkroom
and print them and pop them in a box. And I know when I go to the
post office.. that somewhere in the world, someone will no doubt
buy a frame, bang a nail in and shove it on their wall. And that's
the most flattering thing."
From Soul Brothers to Salford Lads - the photography of
Stephen Wright is @ Tampopo 16 Albert Square, Manchester
from from July 6th to September 25th 2004. Mon - Sat 12 noon
- 11pm; Sun 12 noon - 10pm.