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Portraits – Wilko Johnson

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Wilko Johnson photographed at Sheffield City Hall on the 7th October 2016

Approaching my photoshoot with Wilko Johnson i felt that it was important to capture Wilko’s spirit, personality and attitude. I wanted to avoid any kind of sombre tone that could have influenced the feel of the portraits by Wilko’s recent battle with cancer. For me it was important that the visual language of my images was going to be positive, expressive and illuminating.

I turned up to the venue with a real sense of Wilko’s musical history. I’d been blasting out his tunes and watching footage of him on Youtube so i was under no illusions that i was about to photograph an icon, a musical pioneer with an amazing musical legacy. I was arriving at the venue not only as a photographer but also as a fan.

When Wilko came into the room and stood in position in front of my camera he exploded into life. He became electric, it was as if darts of electricity was intermittently being blasted into his body. Through the viewfinder of my camera I witnessed the performer, the icon, the entertainer, the rockstar. It was like a bolt of lightening to my senses. My very own intimate rock n roll show. Thank you Lord!

Whenever i reflect on times when I have photographed distinguished people I always feel humbled, thankful and incredibly grateful. Photography has allowed me to get exclusive access to uniquely gifted, prodigious and incredibly fascinating people. It’s given me a window into peoples lives and personalities. I can’t help but think of my 14 year old self in my bedroom listening to my Dad’s vinyl wishing/hoping to get access to these incredible musicians and one day to photograph them.

It has taken me years to build up my portfolio and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve often had feelings of frustration, feelings of running in quicksand, of failure, of banging my head against a brick wall and i still get those feelings but when the opportunities arise to photograph a person in a one to one situation, it can be the person on the street, a plummer, an actor or a musician it instantly provides me with a unique feeling, a feeling that says this is the reason why i am a photographer.

Wilko Johnson i thank you very much!

Paul Crowther

October the 7th 2016