Kevin Cummins is an icon within music in his own right and has built a recognised portfolio of work that includes some of the most iconic people in music. The era in which he set out was dominated by the punk scene and this is when he produced some of his most commendable documentary photography.
We had the chance to meet up and have a chat with the man himself and honestly were amazed to find out the scope of celebrities and musicians that he had met and photographed over the years. As an avid Football fan he has also shot a number of sportsmen and footballers including building the last memories of Manchester City’s Maine Road for a publication named “We’re not really here”. We must also mention that Cummins is a true blue and comes back for all home games. So, he ventured back up to Manchester from his current base in London and toured us around his beloved hometown showing us a select few locations which were particularly iconic in his career and memories.
Epping Walk Bridge
It was in January ’79 that Kevin Cummins was assigned to take photographs of the band Joy Division for their first proper NME piece that then went on to become a defining moment for them as a group. Kevin told us that originally the shot was to be of them stood on the bridge looking south “because everybody wanted to get out of Manchester then and move to London”.
“It summed up their sound – there was so much space and they looked so insignificant in the snow. It made a beautiful architectural shot”
It took 3 frames for Kevin to have defined Joy division in what has become an iconic image that will immortalise the group in memory.
One of the most famous club’s in the Madchester days, Hacienda was the venue for much of Kevin’s work. The live gigs gave him a chance to develop his documentary photography portfolio of musicians including one of Madonna – who has denied the claims of ever having visited Hacienda but Cummins managed to capture her leaned up against the pillars synonymous with the world famous venue. In it’s hey day it was arguably the place that made Manchester the capital of Music and there was a buzz spread far and wide across the world.
Peveril of the Peak
This pub is one of Manchester’s most celebrated pubs, and it’s charming victorian exterior sets it apart from the rest and really makes it an architectural gem. Kevin visited this on a shoot with Oasis – he was doing a shoot for a Japanese Magazine and they wanted the image to encompass Manchester and it’s landmarks. Kevin told us that all Oasis wanted was a drink and so they managed to find a location with both. He took just 10 minutes outside with the lads and then went inside and that was probably it for the day.
Oasis a band that were synonymous with Manchester were at the top of their game in Brit-pop culture. I’m sure I do not need to go on to explain the importance of this Mancunian group and the influence they have had on music.
58 Baring Street
This was the studio of Kevin for around 6 years in the 1980’s when he was based in Manchester. It was on the ground floor of a textiles mill, but was in an ideal location as it is right next to Piccadilly Train Station which was convenient for the bands commuting up from London. He told us of a time that New Order came for a shoot – he had spent maybe 12 hours the day before prepping, completing a few rolls of film and running down to the colour lab round the corner to get them processed. He had to check the lighting was set up and settings were precise for them the following day – so a far cry from the ease and efficiency of digital film nowadays. They came up the next day and Kevin spent about 10 minutes with them and the shoot was complete.
Kevin’s work with Joy Division and New order has been made into various
During this shoot Kevin picked some of his favourite pieces from our SS16 collections to wear. Take a look at the selection below.
- Nudie Jeans Steady Eddie Dry Selvedge
- Belstaff Racemaster Mahogany Waxed Cotton Blouson Jacket
- Adidas Originals Black & White Suede Gazelle OG Trainers
- CP Company Khaki Green Garment Dyed Unlined Bomber Jacket
- Belstaff Thom White Crew Neck Pocket T-Shirt
- Polo Ralph Lauren Performance Flagstone Heather Sweatshirt
- CP Company Slim Fit Navy Marl Pique T-Shirt
- Stone Island Black Plain Long Sleeve Shirt
- BOSS Calasso Black Water Repellent Jacket
Learning about Kevin’s experience in Manchester in what is remembered as the height of an iconic era was brilliant. We then headed to The Lowry Hotel where we got to view some of his work which is displayed in the lobby and in the entrance hall on each floors. We took this time to ask some more questions about his career and find more about the man behind the lens. Stay tuned for the full interview where we discuss football, musicians, cultures and fashion. For now check out this Spotify playlist that he gave us with some of his favourite music.
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