Chalkie Davies named NME Music Photography Awards with Nikon’s Outstanding Contribution recipient

Photographer has shot artists including David Bowie and Robert Plant in five decade career

Chalkie Davies has been named as the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award at this year’s NME Music Photography Awards with Nikon.

Over the course of an incredible career Davis has photographed artists including David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, Blondie, Elvis Costello and The Clash. He left his hometown of Barry to pursue his career as a photographer in London in the 1970s. He was staff photographer at NME between 1975-1979. Elsewhere during his career, he joined The Specials and Madness on tour and shot sleeve artwork for The Who and Robert Plant before leaving for America in 1988.

Speaking about his Outstanding Contribution Award, Davies says that it’s important to recognise great music photography: “Anyone can take photos now, with phones and Instagram,” he says. “It’s vital to acknowledge that photography remains important, because music photography is about documenting what’s happening.”

As for advice to aspiring photographers, he has these words. “Back in the day film was so expensive – £12 a roll – that you were really careful about what shots you took. I see so many people now taking load of photos; you don’t need to take so many to get a good shot. So take fewer photos and have fun.”

Previous recipients of the prestigious prize include Roger Sargent and Dean Chalkley.

The NME Music Photography Awards with Nikon recognise the brightest amateur and professional music photography talent. There’s still time to enter this year’s competition – you can do that right now.

Entries are invited from both professional and amateur photographers, which will be judged by a specially selected expert panel including NME and photo director Zoe Capstick, alongside renowned music photographers and NME editor Mike Williams.