Tony Mott shares pleasure and pain of photographing rock stars

Tony Mott shares pleasure and pain of photographing rock stars


National News
ROCK 'N' ROLL LIFE: Music photographer Tony Mott was in Albury on Saturday to talk about his collection on display. Picture: KYLIER ESLER

ROCK 'N' ROLL LIFE: Music photographer Tony Mott was in Albury on Saturday to talk about his collection on display. Picture: KYLIER ESLER

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30-year retrospective on display at Albury Library Museum

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Seeing bands like The Rolling Stones, Queen and Fleetwood Mac would be on the bucket list of many music fans – Tony Mott has gone one better and photographed them and many more.

Border music lovers can get a sense of the life of a rock ‘n’ roll photographer by visiting the exhibition covering 30 years of Mott’s work, currently on display at the Albury Library Museum.

The photographer was in Albury on Saturday to talk about his career and retrospective of work.

As you walk into the exhibition, the first photograph is a striking black and white image of Divinyls lead singer Chrissy Amphlett live on stage, which was the first photo Mott ever sold.

He had been working as a French chef in the early 1980s, but started photographing a then-unsigned band called Divinyls, when they were just starting out as a band playing in Kings Cross.

“In a drunken haze – the Divinyls had a residency, they played every Tuesday night – I just started taking photographs, really badly. Eventually I got a level of competence and so started a life as a rock ‘n’ roll photographer,” he told The Border Mail.

“I learned through trial and error and because I was doing it for myself, no one was critiquing it so there was no pressure.”

It was a different world compared to now, where most aspiring photographers post their shots on Instagram for all to see.

The exhibition includes photographs from both live shows and studio sessions.

“When you’ve got someone like Doc Neeson on stage in front of you … you’re capturing them doing what they do,” he said.

“When you’re doing a session, you take the musician out of their natural environment and you’re trying to capture the essence of what they’re about.”

Big names such as Daniel Johns, Bjork, and Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave during their 1990s collaboration were among the artists photographed.

“The reason I’ve done so well at what I’ve done is not because I’m a great photographer, but because I’m into music,” Mott said.

“You don’t tell musicians what to do, you ask, you collaborate.”

The rock photography of Tony Mott will be on exhibition at the Albury Library Museum until Queen’s Birthday, June 11.

The Border Mail

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