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Getty Images Presents Michael Putland



Getty Images Gallery presents: Michael Putland: A Life in Music – 50 Years on the Road Opens: 22nd Oct – Closes: 22nd November 2014.

A guitar hangs suspended in a spotlight, its neck flung skywards, mimicking the arms of the crowd below, raised in adulation. There is a glimpse of the hand that caused the guitar to fly and the crowd to lift – it waves, blessing the whole scene. We can’t see a face, but it is the perfect portrait – not only of The Who’s Pete Townshend, but of rock ‘n’ roll itself. Shot by Michael Putland from behind a stack of amps, he is on the stage and yet behind the scenes – the photographer who manages to be everywhere at the same time, capturing it all, the seen and the unseen; sound and vision.

2014 marks fifty years since Michael Putland started out on a career which has seen him witness music history in the making; photographing the faces that changed popular music, in an era when popular music was changing everything else. Getty Images Gallery is privileged to present Michael Putland: A Life in Music – 50 Years on the Road this autumn.

Spanning five decades of musical heroes and genres, the exhibition features unguarded portraiture of the off-duty performer – John Lennon sits cross-legged in his socks. Elsewhere, bands looking for their first front cover stare down the camera with a studied sneer, imagining their faces on bedroom walls; The Clash glare from a New York dockyard – not looking quite as fearless as Tina Turner onstage in ’73.

“It has been a fantastic ride through an incredible period of music history, which combined my two great loves … music and photography.
Little did I appreciate, when my Uncle Alan encouraged my photography back in the 1950s, that this would lead me to photographing nearly all of my heroes … and thrilled to be still finding new ones.  A great never ending journey.”   Michael Putland

Half a century’s worth of shooting has produced an exhaustive body of work – reflecting the eye of not only an expert photographer, but also an involved music enthusiast. From the editorial work for Disc and Music Echo, Sounds, Smash Hits and Q magazine amongst others, to the 1973 tour with The Rolling Stones that led to a long-standing relationship working with the band, Michael has also shot prodigiously for major record labels including CBS, Warner, Elektra, Polydor, Columbia Records and EMI. Relocating to New York in 1977, it was here that Michael founded the photo agency Retna. For his sixth decade in the business, Michael continues to shoot the artists he most admires – likely to be jazz, classical and world musicians, who have always provided an alternative narrative to his rock music portfolio.

Director of Getty Images Gallery, Louise Garczewska, comments, “We are truly thrilled to be welcoming Michael Putland to the Getty Images Gallery, introducing his work to our audience in this his fiftieth year in the business.  This exceptional and comprehensive collection offers a real insight into the times, with all the excitement of the music translating into these remarkable portraits and scenes of life on the road.”

With the majority of the exhibition hand-printed by Michael himself, each image is available to buy, signed by the photographer. We are also delighted to announce a number of exclusive limited edition prints, to celebrate the launch of the Michael Putland Collection at Getty Images Gallery.


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