Friday, 20 May 2016

POUR ME ANOTHER by Jill Furmanovsky

POUR ME ANOTHER by Jill Furmanovsky

Jill likes a smile. It reassures her. I think I smiled in this shoot almost as much as in all the other shoots put together - partly because Jill wanted me to but mainly because I was having a good time. Jill has a studio in Kentish Town and collected me from the Tube station and took me there in her car. Although she had told me beforehand that she was a shy person and wanted to meet me in advance of the shoot in order to get to know me, we had not yet met but I felt in tune with her the moment she approached me outside the station - she was smiling. I like a smile. It reassures me.

Her studio felt very comfortable and it was dotted with all sorts of interesting stuff - a collection of old vintage cameras, various photographic books, photographs of bands including a wonderful collage of pictures of Oasis in rehearsal. In fact, it was a photograph of that band in the Guardian Weekend magazine which caught my eye and prompted me to write to Jill. She is a child of the 60s/70s and took her first rock picture in 1967, of Paul McCartney, with an instamatic camera. Soon after starting her course at the Central School of Art, she went to see "Yes"in concert at the Rainbow and somehow blagged her way to the front of the audience pretending to be a professional photographer and ended up taking a whole roll of film and then, with a further bit of blagging, she got offered a shoot by another photographer and, not only that, she was offered and accepted a job as the Rainbow's official photographer - not bad going for a shy person, eh? She has never looked back since. She worked with some of the biggest names in Rock music including the Rolling Stones, Madness, Pink Floyd,  U2, the Pretenders and Rod Stewart. I told her that I was at University in London in the early 70s and we talked about the NME and people like Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray. She told me little snippets of stories about Mick Jagger, the Gallagher brothers, Madness and Chrissie Hynde but she never betrayed any confidences.

Initially, she took some close-ups and at one point, she showed me her famous photograph of Charlie Watts, and continued with even more close shots of that kind. The last shot was me holding a roll of paper with my date of birth and then a dash after which there would be a blank but I told Jill that my daughter used to get upset at the thought of me dying and I would tell her that I wasn't going to die but that I was going to live forever (cue Oasis).

Jill called a halt and, after giving me her signed copy of her book, "The Moment", she returned me to the Underground and I was able to ponder on my few hours with one the foremost rock photographers of our generation. I received some photographs fairly soon after the shoot and, although, I had the feeling that I would choose a close-up similar the one featuring Charlie Watts, I found myself increasingly drawn to those inspired by paintings. They had a dynamism about them plus the smile, of course, or maybe due to the smile. I was spoilt for choice because they were all magnificent. I looked through them again and kept stopping at this one. I was the right choice. I was reassured. After all, we all like a smile. Don't we? 

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