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In pictures: The Smiths and friends
5 September 2013
Last updated at 16:02
The photographer of some of The Smiths' most famous images exhibits his work in Maidenhead.
Stephen Wright, 53, from Reading, bought his first camera at 21 from the £40 he won on a premium bond. By 1983 he was taking live pictures of Manchester bands like The Smiths for music magazines and record companies
He was commissioned to take pictures for the album sleeve of The Smiths' seminal 1986 album The Queen is Dead. "The two nights in my life I have slept the least were the night before that session, and the night before I got married," he said
Morrissey sent the photographer a "thank you" postcard after the session: "It was a job given to a fan who was still learning to be a photographer. Morrissey chose Salford Lads Club as a venue and he ultimately chose the picture for the sleeve."
He also took pictures of the band during a live set at BBC Manchester: "The irony is Morrissey was an entertainer on stage that really enjoyed what he was doing, despite the impressions of the press that he was a miserable man. I don't think that was ever the case."
"At the start of the shows the lights would go down, there was classical music [Prokofiev], then they'd get on stage. It was like the heavens opened with joy and fun, not rain and misery. The Free Trade Hall, Manchester, was a rugby scrum for 2,000 people and I very carefully climbed into the lighting rigging to take this side shot."
The photographer went on to capture images of some of pop music's biggest names: "The lighting was better at Prince at Wembley Stadium than it ever was at The Smiths shows, which were always pastel hues and difficult to take pictures in, though Prince was more restrictive. It was three songs, and then out."
Mr Wright took photographs of Madonna during her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour: "Madonna at this time was probably as photogenic as Marilyn Monroe, and there's something about black and white that gives it a timeless character."
"James Brown was a showman. He was sixty-something and was going down on his knees singing about being a sex machine. He had an amazing amount of energy and passion about what he was doing."
"Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares For Me was often the play out music as you staggered out of the Hacienda and it created a good buzz and feel good factor. This was taken at the Royal Albert Hall with 3,500 people in utter silence and one lady standing on stage giving her all."
Mr Wright took this picture of John Lydon during an early tour of his post-Sex Pistols band, Public Image Ltd: "He did a lot of scowling. He had a cold and he was putting his thumb on his nose and blowing snot onto the floor. The sad thing is that he sells butter now."
Taking pictures of Miles Davis was an "honour". He added: "I love the way he's passionately crouching to get that note, and it's quite comic that he's got his name engraved on his trumpet."
This photo of Bono was taken during U2's 1983 tour. "I'm a photographer lucky to have photographed music icons, not an iconic photographer of musicians," Mr Wright insisted. The Smiths and Friends exhibition is on permanent display at ripcaster in Checkendon, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
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