DOMINO PEOPLE: EMILY BEAVER INTERVIEW
Von Sudenfed, The Kills and Sons and Daughters | 01/05/08
How'd you get into Photography in the first place?
"Well, I loved music but I don’t really have musical ability. I’ve got no compulsion to perform but I love music and love photography and I wanted to be involved. I went to college to study photography but to me it was always for music. I’m not really interested in digital and so I still use my old Russian Lomo camera."
"There are apparently '10 Rules of Lomo Photography', you're not supposed to look through the viewfinder and you should just 'shoot from the hip'. 'Don't think' was another rule and, the last rule was 'There are no rules' which is kind of like 'right, thanks, I've just wasted my time reading the rules, and none of them matter'."
Are you quite keen on the whole black and white, timeless style?
"Yep, I always use black and white film to go for that look. I love it. And the Lomo is perfect for that old fashioned style of photography."
Who's your favourite photographer would you say?
“Robert Frank. He's not specifically a music photographer but he did the Rolling Stones' 'Exile on Main Street' cover and shot 'Cocksucker Blues' which was never released due to the band not wanting to expose their naughty side. I think they had a screening at the Tate Modern as part of his retrospective, which was amazing."
"He did a lot of work with the Beats as well. But I really like that time, the 50's, and then obviously the 60's and 70's…any time except now really (hee-hee), no. But I do hate the 80's. "And I love Francis Wolff, who shot a lot of the Blue Note Record covers."
So you were into Music before Photography then?
"I think so, yeah. My dad was really into music and so I think it came from him and looking at all his great album covers around the house. The album sleeves were a big part of it for me. I always wanted to be a photographer but I hate that staged studio shot. I like live shots or more candid stuff of people going about their business. Reportage photography. But I wanted to bring it back to music. And so the ultimate place for it to end up is on the record sleeve. Presenting the finished package and becoming part of the album."
How did you get involved with the 100 Club?
"I was looking for a job more involved with my creative interests and I was going through a Jazz phase, living in the past a bit, so I went down to Ronnie Scotts and the 100 Club to try and find work there so I could also take photos. Luckily I got the job managing the Bar at the 100 Club."
Had you worked in a bar before?
"Yeah, I’d worked in a gay bar in Manchester. I was one of the only straight people working there but they gave me the job because my last name is Beaver. That name has opened doors for me."
I've GOT to quote you on that. How'd you get involved with 100 Club exhibition then?
"At the same time as working at the club, I did an internship at the Proud Gallery in their Production department. That gave me the confidence to put curating in to practice."
"I just got to know every inch of the club and I loved all the old pictures on the walls. I'd hear lots of different stories about them and the club from the owner, Jeff Horton, and his brother Rich, and from the regulars as well and just ended up piecing it all together."
So were there pictures up there anyway?
"Yeah, old photographs and old posters, it was mainly Trad Jazz stuff from years ago. Some of it's fantastic and staying, one face who’ll be staying up is Humphrey Lyttelton, who we lost recently. It's a big loss as he was a huge part of the club's history and for a while the club was known as the 'Humph Club'."
"When Ron Watts, the punk promoter, came in that all changed. He gave the club a rebirth. And so it has evolved ever since."
How did you get the photos together for the exhibition?
"There are these amazing snap shot pictures of Pete Townsend, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck all on stage together back in 1987 and some more with them just hanging out at the bar with Lemmy. Customers and the bands who have come to play there, were always gazing up at these shots in wonder."
"Jeff and Rich showed me some other beautiful Rolling Stones prints photographed by a lady called Carole Lateman just kept hidden in a drawer and never been seen before. I managed to track her down and ask if we could display them. She's really lovely and just thrilled to be involved."
"It started from there and loads of other photographers have contributed their prints and pictures because…well, they're music fans and they know how important the club is. Dean Chalkley has been such a big help throughout, as has Jill Furmanovsky and the Rock Archive, Barry Plummer and the list just goes on and on. I could be here all day."
Just bringing it round full circle, are there any Domino album art works and front cover photography that you like?
"Yeah, I really love the Von Sundenfed album cover. It’s got a classic and crisp look to it. The images of the 3 of them are really clean and look kind of faded, like they are from an old film that’s deteriorated a little. That’s a really flattering picture of Mark E Smith actually. He looks so light and pure. Haha.” “I like The Kills artwork too. I like the photo booth and the candid shots they’ve used in their epic booklet for Midnight Boom. And how it looks ripped up and shoved together. I like the Sons and Daughters cover as well. It reminds me of a classic Hitchcock movie poster. But again, I love the 50s/60s look. And that band have got a lot of that style."
Yeah, there’s definitely a trend in what you like and what you don’t like isn't there?
"Yeah, I'm so obvious aren’t I? Predictable! - Boring! That's what the club is gonna be like, no not really, don’t put that in."
The 100 Club Picture Show is a permanent exhibition but open during the days of the 9th, 10th and 11th May between 12 – 4pm And open on Sunday 25th May from 12pm – 10pm (with guest djs to be announced) …and can be seen during gigs from then on.