The Strand Gallery, WC2 in London is putting on an exhibition, ‘She-Bop-a-Lula’, in aid of Breakthrough, the UK’s leading breast cancer charity. The series of photographs are a celebration of female singers, photographed by award winning female photographers – such as this image of Ari Up, taken by Caroline Coon.
This photo of Nico was taken by Fiona Adams in 1965, during the release of Nico’s first single ‘I’m Not Saying’. She says of the image: “At the time my studio was a portacabin on the roof of Fabulous magazine’s offices and this session was shot on the fire-escape. I photographed Nico on several occasions, this was the first, and she was always very photogenic.”
Photographer Lucy Hamblin took this photo of Laura Marling in NYC in September 2008. “I had been listening to Laura’s first EP and heard she was
coming to play a show in NY,” she says. “I had seen the rocking horse in a prop house and decided to blow the entire shoot budget to rent it for a few hours. Laura barely spoke the whole time; thoughtful, charming and ethereal.”
Donna Santisi photographed Patti Smith in 1976 at LA’s Roxy Club during her ‘Radio Ethiopia’ tour.
This one of The Go-Gos was taken by Janette Beckman in 1980 in LA. “This was shot at the historic hot dog stand Tail Of The Pup, which was the band’s favourite spot in LA,” says Bechman.
In Las Vegas in 1979, Roberta Bayley took this picture of Debbie Harry. “The band was playing the Aladdin Hotel. The hotel and casino was where Elvis Presley married Priscilla in 1969, and where he played many shows,” says Bayley. “I did not think it was a coincidence that Debbie wore all white for the show and entered wearing a gorgeous Stephen Sprouse sequined scarf, a la Elvis’s capes.”
Stephanie Chernikowski took this photo of Marianne Faithfull in 1981 in New York. “I had asked for a couple of hours but when I walked in she said ‘you have three shots’”, says Chernikowski. “I took at least five before she grabbed me, gave me a kiss, said ‘I love you’ and waltzed out of the door.
She was a whirlwind.”
This Katy Perry picture was taken by Christie Goodwin in October 2011 at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, during Perry’s ‘California Dreams’ tour. “The peacock outfit is just lovely and I knew I wanted to capture Katy showing off her feathers,” shares Goodwin. “It’s one of my favourite pictures and I know it is one of Katy’s too.”
“Skin was making a video with the director Tim Royce,” says photographer Amelia Troubridge of this 2003 image. “I was asked to record the day for the album imagery. She had such great energy and style, a real joy to work with.”
In 1993, Erica Echenberg snapped some photos of Courtney Love, who she describes as a “crazy but talented lady”. “This was not one of your ordinary gigs – the audience and photographers were women only,” she shares. “Great idea I thought but I was nervous about going
as I didn’t know what to expect. I love this picture because it has a feeling of grunge meets rock ‘n roll, meets femininity.”
Here’s a photo of Bananarama, taken by Virginia Turbett in 1982 for a Smash Hits shoot. “Journalist Mark Ellen and I took them around London in a chauffeur driven limo,” she recalls. “My main memory of the day is that they spent a good deal complaining about how they hated
everything that they were asked to do!”
A Cyndi Lauper photo from 30 May, 1984, shot by Kerstin Rodgers in London.
Photographer Donna Santisi says of this 1969 snap of Janis Joplin (taken at Rider College in Lawrenceville, NJ, USA): “This is my favourite photograph of Janis because she looks so happy. She was joking around between songs with Snooky Flowers, her saxophone player.”
Here’s a Beryl Bryden photograph of Billie Holiday, taken in 1959 in London. “This picture was taken backstage during Billie’s appearance on Granada
TVs Chelsea At Nine. It was her last recorded performance before her death in July 1959 at the early age of 44 years.”
Florence Welch was photographed by Wendy Lynch Redfern in Los Angeles in October 2011. “She was an absolute dream to shoot,” says Redfern. “So beautiful and effervescent. It was a true pleasure and honour to photograph her.”
This photo of Sinead O’Connor was snapped by Deborah Feingold in 1990 in Montreal. “She was reserved but obliging,” recalls Feingold. “What I remember most was that my assistant forgot to bring the electrical chord for my lights, resulting in me being able to use just the single light bulb in her room. But it worked out just fine.”
This picture of Dusty Springfield was shot by Val Wilmer in 1964 while on the set of Ready Steady Go. “Dusty was a regular at the heart of it all and a favourite with production team and photographers alike,” shares Wilmer. “Her insecurity was obvious, even to me as a youngster, but all of that vanished when she started singing.”
Amalie R Rothschild took this picture of Tina Turner in 1970 at NYCs Filmore East. “I was rarely satisfied with single frames as I feel the energy comes through better in sequences,” she says. “This picture is a triple composition I put together in Photoshop and which I think captures something of her amazing stage presence.”
Rothschild created a similar image with some photographs she took of Nina Simone in 1969, also at NYC’s Filmore East. “I fell in love with Nina Simone’s voice during her first song of her first set,” she remembers. “My two favourites are in this composition which I originally put together for my book Live at the Fillmore East: A Photographic Memoir published in 1999.”
Want to see more shots like this Stephanie Chernikowski photograph of Dolly Parton? Stop by the ‘She-Bop-a-Lula’ exhibit at The Strand Gallery by April 1st. Prints are available to purchase, with 100% of sales going to Breakthrough. Signed prints by some of the artists will be on offer at auction. For more information, visit www.shebopalula.co.uk.