Leader of the Band

I’ve recently photographed another batch of my old 20 x 16 inch exhibition prints from thirty to forty years ago. It’s been a surprisingly successful and quick way to breathe life into old black and white work that otherwise might never have seen the light of day again.

Going through the old print boxes is a walk back down memory lane – looking back at images I produced many years ago and recalling the meanings and the stories that lie behind the individual prints. Today’s image takes me back about forty years to the days when I played the guitar. No, that isn’t me in the shot, but a very good friend from University days in whose band I played. I always thought he was a bit of a Buddy Holly lookalike.

_DS75790_wpMy parents bought me an acoustic guitar when I was about sixteen or seventeen. I played and sang the music of Joan Baez, Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel and others. I branched out into Pop too. I discovered Negro Spirituals. Up at University I acquired a semi-acoustic Hofner guitar and joined a  Band that worked to introduce a new range of gospel music into church services. Over a period of several years we produced and marketed several LPs of music on our own record label – the first one being centred on the music of Sydney Carter (some of you might know the song ‘Lord of the Dance’, perhaps his best known hymn).

The man in the photograph was the leader of our band – Mike. Mike was a gifted musician, writer and producer. We shared a house together with others in London when we both came down to London from Cambridge, and we stayed in touch for many years, long after the group disbanded as family lives and careers took charge of our lives. Sadly Mike is no longer with us – heart disease took its toll a few years back. But every time I view this image, I think of him and the great times we shared. I still have that acoustic guitar.

To see more images from my old print archive. Click on Print Archive in the Right sidebar.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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19 Responses to Leader of the Band

  1. Wow, Andy! You’re one talented guy! I thought the image was Buddy Holly. He really is a lookalike. This is a fine image. I love the old film photographs. In the morning, I’m going right over to see more! What a great idea to post them here.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks George. The glasses help don’t they – classic Buddy holly style glasses. I’m surprised how well my old prints have photographed. It was tricky finding a place to shoot them where I didn’t get glare off the glossy surface. And, crucially, the process is so much easier and faster than scanning individual negatives and then having to process them and deal with dust spots that have had 30-40 years to settle despite keeping them in sleeving.

  2. Meanderer says:

    I love the image and enjoyed the story of your music-making back in the day!

  3. athyfoto says:

    Are you sure you weren’t playing with The Crickets in those days? 🙂

    Fantastic image, really powerful. Its amazing what can come out of so few tones.

    “Joan Baez, Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel”
    The last time you mentioned these names I got all melancholic, and it just happened again. Now I have Joan Baez singing “Joe Hill” in my mind and Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo singing “Alice’s Restautant” at Woodstock! Oh this is going to be a long job to get these out of my mind now 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Ha! I was a big fan of Buddy Holly. The image is a lith image actually using inter-negatives – that got rid of all the mid tones and really concentrated the tones.
      Those were the days, weren’t they? Such a lot of good music. I have been singing (to myself of course) Dylan’s ‘Don’t think twice, it’s alright”, and Pete Seeger’s ‘Little Boxes’, along with Woody Guthrie’s ‘This land is your land’. I’m also trying hard to remember who wrote a song whose short title was Eddie’ about a farm hand with an incredibly long name who fell into a well and drowned because ‘…took so long to say his name that Eddie…….drowned’. Ever heard of that one?

      • athyfoto says:

        ‘Fraid not, can’t find anything on the inter McWeb either. Usually my long term memory is pretty good. Now, what I did 5 minutes ago, or what I’m supposed to be doierng in 10 minutes time . . . . not . . . . a . . . . cluet!!

        • athyfoto says:

          OK I have removed my glove puppets now so I can type better.
          ‘Fraid not, can’t find anything on the inter McWeb either. Usually my long term memory is pretty good. Now, what I did 5 minutes ago, or what I’m supposed to be doing in 10 minutes time . . . . not . . . . a . . . . clue!!

          • LensScaper says:

            I found it. The song’s lyrics that is. Amazing how a single line of a lyric can result in three sites each displaying the full text. Sounds like it was a song popular in the American Scouting movement. No-one seems entirely in agreement with the words which I guess is reasonable considering this was probably a song with a strong aural, and oral, tradition of just being learned and passed on without a written record. Who wrote it is unknown. I’m going to post it this weekend because it’s such a fun nonsense song and some of our American cousins who follow my blog might throw more light on it. I won’t be singing it!

  4. oneowner says:

    I love to look at the early work of people I admire. You’ve shown some before and it’s really interesting to me and this is no exception. I’ve always liked the high contrast look of the lith process.

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks for your comment Ken. I wish I had done more Lith work in the darkroom. In the digital era I struggle to match the quality that Lith inter-negatives produced.

  5. And this is why photography will always be powerful – there can be so many memories tied up in one print.
    (And a very striking print to, BTW!)

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks for your comment. Some of these prints hold very powerful memories, but there were a couple I copied and I haven’t the faintest idea where they were taken and sadly the contact sheets in the negative files aren’t dated either – bad error of judgement there.

  6. shoreacres says:

    The resemblance to Buddy Holly is remarkable. And yes, all of that music you and others have mentioned was formative for me, too. Now, I’ll see how long it takes to get “Peggy Sue” out of my mind.

  7. Nelson says:

    He looks like Buddy Holly

  8. Len says:

    Great nostalgic shot Andy. I always wanted to be able to play the guitar but I am tone deaf. Doesn’t stop me from loving music though.

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