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Andy Willsher

Given the choice at school on a Wednesday afternoon of joining the army or alternatively the slightly over-subscribed photography course, I'm glad to say there were no hot spoons and polish for me. Growing up in Bedford among like-minded music enthusiasts I became totally obsessed with David Bowie as well as pretty much all of the Goth bands of the late 80’s (which I probably shouldn't be admitting). Luckily there was a small music venue in town and most of the [Goth] bands played there. 'The perfect scenario' I thought; I’ll go along and take some pictures. So the likes of 'Ghostdance', 'Zodiac Mindwarp', 'Fields of 'The Nephilim' (and many more people dressed in black throwing flower everywhere) started my portfolio.

I decided to ignore college and get a proper job so I could afford the next Canon model I’d been craving. Whilst working at Barclays Bank in the West End, I took a holiday to follow a band called 'The Hollow Men' around the far reaches of Scotland and Ireland. I decided from that point that this was the life for me. One step further down the line I was working in my local camera shop to try and gain some knowledge. I think it was around this time I started printing up my own pictures and sending them to the music press in the vain hope they’d want to use one.

Finally that time arrived and after a few shots had been published I got a phone call from NME Towers; 'Do you fancy shooting 'The Family Cat' at a school in Crewe?'(!). How could I refuse?

Well that was a long time ago and I’m still there at NME Towers a good many years later. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world shooting bands. I must admit the technical side of photography still confuses the hell out of me but if you’re there when the action happens you should get something!

Apart from the NME stuff, I’ve been documenting Razorlight's rise to international fame and hopefully in the next year or so I’ll have a book out there on the shelves – sitting next to the other photographers who inspired me. Such as, Anton Corbijn, Ellen Von Unworth, Pennie Smith and Mick Rock.

 

Arctic Monkeys (ARCM002AW)

Arctic Monkeys

This photo was taken prior to the release of their first single, Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys on their own 'Bang Bang' label.

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Coldplay (CD001AW)

Coldplay

Coldplay performing at T in the Park in Scotland in 2011

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Foo Fighters (FOOF002AW)

Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters backstage before a gig at the Student Union Bar, University of London Union in August 2002.

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Johnny Borrell (RL003AW)

Johnny Borrell

Johnny Borrell from Razorlight recording a track for the Warchild album at Olympic Studios, London in September 2005.

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Libertines, The (PDOH002AW)

The Libertines

"Pete at his flat in Farringdon, while I was photographing him he wrote Forever on the wall, which added poignancy to the shot."

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Stereophonics (STER001AW)

Stereophonics

Stereophonics bassist Richard Jones, drummer Stuart Cable and singer Kelly Jones captured in Wales in 1999

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White Stripes (WS001AW)

White Stripes

The White Stripes before their gig at an amphitheatre in Berkeley, San Francisco in September 2004.

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The original Pink Floyd line-up on their first ever photo shoot in Ruskin Park, London

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