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 The Stone Roses, Whiteleys
The Stone Roses Definitive Photo Exhibition Opens - ArtLyst Article image

The Stone Roses Definitive Photo Exhibition Opens

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Legendary music photographers, Kevin Cummins, Paul Slattery and Ian Tilton, collaborate for the first time in an extraordinary exhibition of photography and memorabilia to celebrate the generation-defining ‘Madchester’ band, the Stone Roses.

While most band reformations are met with a “just for the money” cynicism, when the Stone Roses announced they were getting back together on October 18, 2011 at a press conference in London, the news was rapturously received. Tickets sold out for their two comeback gigs at Heaton Park in minutes.

In celebration of their long awaited comeback this summer, Whiteleys Shopping Centre is bringing the Manchester scene defined by the Roses to the heart of London in an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia from the classic line-up.

The group – singer Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren – captured the turn-of-the-decade zeitgeist in their eponymous debut album, later voted ‘Greatest Album of All Time’ by NME. The innovation continued on single Fools Gold, which melded dance with funk and rock, at their Spike Island live extravaganza. Never standing still, their second album, 1994’s Second Coming, saw them experimenting with heavier sounds.

Echoing a gritty 90s vibe, The Third Coming is located in a disused space within the grand backdrop of a British heritage retailer. Merging the magnificent and the alternative, The Third Coming is an opportunity to reminisce by looking through the lens of the photographers who documented this defining era first hand.

This unique exhibition documents the band’s rapid ascent from the small club scene in Manchester to arenas in Japan and their legendary Spike Island concert. All the key moments of their career are illustrated: on the road, live on stage, in the studio and formal (yet somehow still very informal) portrait sessions with three legendary photographers who had intimate and exclusive access.

Curator Dave Brolan has brought together renowned photographers Ian Tilton, Kevin Cummins and Paul Slattery, who will exhibit over 70 images of The Stone Roses under one roof.

Dave comments: “These three photographers – Kevin Cummins, Paul Slattery & Ian Tilton – have, between them, captured pretty much every major artist of the last 30 years, many as they were still unknown or emerging. Each photographer has a distinct style but a similar honest, photojournalistic approach, showing subjects as they really are and creating iconic images that stand the test of time. Together, they helped shape the image of The Stone Roses.”

The exhibition will provide a chance to re-live the high energy and passion that bands such as The Stone Roses ignited in the British music scene. As guitarist John Squire said at the Stone Roses reformation launch last year: “In some ways, it seems like 15 years ago was yesterday.”

Tilton, Cummins and Slattery are highly regarded photographers of rock and roll, having worked with the likes of The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Morrissey. The exhibition will be the first time that all three photographers have exhibited together and will include previously unseen portraits of the band.

About the Photographers:

Kevin Cummins

Cummins’ early work chronicling the punk music scene in Manchester has led to a brilliant career as a documentary photographer. The all-encompassing images are a testament to Cummins’ ability to understand his subjects, including the Sex Pistols, The Smiths, Morrissey, Oasis and Patti Smith. He is a founding member of the World Photography Academy and his work is in The National Portrait Gallery, The Victoria and Albert Museum and many private collections. Cummins’s book, Looking For The Light Through The Pouring Rain, is soon to be published in paperback by Faber & Faber.

Paul Slattery

A true rock’n’roll photographer, Slattery cut his teeth photographing the likes of Motörhead, The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones. In the late eighties and early nineties, he carved a niche photographing The Smiths, Manic Street Preachers and Oasis. His work has appeared in thousands of magazines, over 100 books, and on many CDs. Slattery has published two books; The Smiths: The Early Years and Oasis: A Year on the Road.

Ian Tilton

Tilton moved to Manchester in the mid-eighties, and as the punk music scene exploded, began his photography career documenting its protagonists, including Shaun Ryder and The Smiths. His distinctive bled borders frame images filled with energy, power, and love for his subjects. He photographed The Stone Roses for their debut album cover and was the first person to capture Ian Brown’s 'monkey face.' Tiltons’ book, The Stone Roses I Wanna Be Adored is to be published by Omnibus Press in September 2012. Photo: Kevin Cummins

Whiteleys, Bayswater, London 13th June – 12th August 2012

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