A Smiths exhibition aims at opening on the 9th of April in the Lowry Arts Centre at the Salford Quays, North West England. The exhibition is set to feature Stephen Wright’s work who photographed the band on a grey afternoon inNovember 1985 in front of the infamous Salford Lads’ club located about a 20 minute drive from the centre of Manchester. Twentyof his images aim at being used for the exhibition and some of the band’s music are set to be used to soundtrack the photographs.
The Smiths are described as one of the most influential guitar band of the 1980s with 4 albums to their name and this exhibition aims at celebrating the Manchester band’s musical contribution as well as Stephen Wright’s work. Stephen Wright’s photographs of the Smiths seem to be the most recognised pictures of the band worldwide. The images he took by the Salford Lads’ Club feature in the inner sleeve of the band’s 3rd studio album entitled ‘The Queen is dead’. Stephen Wright’s pictured the band with a £150 Nikon camera after being approached by lead singer of the Smiths Morrissey who was appreciative of the style of the pictures the photographer took at one of the band’s concert at the Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1984.
The Smiths formed in Manchester in 1982 and consisted of lead singer Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourkeand drummer Mike Joyce. They may be seen as one of the most important guitar band of the 1980s. All their albums reached the top 5 in the UK charts and one of their most famous songs includes ‘This charming man’. The band finally parted ways in 1987 due to Marr and Morrissey’s differences in the path they wanted to follow and Morrissey shortly after embarked on a solo career. The band remained together for 5 years which was enough for them to reach the recognition and status they still have to this day which explains why even 30 years after they took different directions an exhibition is organised in celebration of their contribution to British music and alternative rock.
Stephen Wright is a professional photographer with more than 20 years of experience based in Reading, England. He has photographed other famous figures such as Prince, Madonna, James Brown or Nina Simone. The image of the band by the Salford Lads’ Club has featured in the National Portrait Gallery in Central London since 2008. This exhibition set in Salfordmay give his work more recognition through the photographs he took of the Manchester band.
The Salford Lads club remains a visited place for followers of the group who tend to recreate the band’s famous photoshoot taken by Wright while visiting the place. Recently the club was falling into disrepair and fundraising was organised to save the buildng, aiming at its restoration. Former lead singer of The Smiths Morrissey donated the sum of £20,000 and photographer Stephen Wright donated the rights of his iconic photographs of The Smiths for an entire year raising the sum of £60,000. The exhibition aims at featuring a total of 20 of his images. The Salford lads’ club may be the most recognisedof his photoshoothowever, other pictures featuring Morrissey bouquet of flowers hanging out of his 80sLevi’s jeans pocket or the one which sees the singer swirling flowers above his head are set to be part of the exhibition.
Morrissey and The Smiths had an influence in the 80s and still influence individuals to this day. His personal style and way of singing seemed to have led him to become an iconic figure of the 80s. Individuals appreciative of the band’s music may be interested to find out about this event.
How does The Smiths still remain important even after parting ways in 1987?