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An Exhibition of Photographs by CHANTAL COVES

15 - 25 November 2007


For the last 27 years Chantal Coves has been working in the UK music industry, both in Paris and London as a radio and TV presenter, a photojournalist, a music promoter and manager and is one of the co-founders of Metropolis Music.

During this period she has accumulated an outstanding photographic record of bands, artists and the scene some for publication and some for her private collection. With over 40 photographic prints, this show takes us on a fantastic rock-and-roll journey, retracing the incessant & energetic flow of some of the best music scene from the 80s to now. Individual or group portraits of all of the following artists and bands will be featured: Andy Allen, Stiv Bators & Tony Bidgood, Blondie, Bow Wow Wow, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Cramps, Brian Ferry, Nina Hagen, Deborah Harry, Joe Jackson, Juliette Lewis, Lene Lovich, Gary Numan, Orchestral Manoeuvre in the Dark, Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Paul Simonon, Siouxsie, Sting, The Stray Cats, Paul Weller, Amy Winehouse.

The immediacy and energy demonstrated in Chantal's photographic materials stands in contrast to standard press release images. Pictures of sweating rock and pop stars almost belong to the past, when in today's PR managed world, photographers are often only allowed to take pictures of the 3 first songs from a set and even then, the pictures are often airbrushed into acceptable form - taking them even further from the reality of the event.

Chantal's technique and philosophy for covering gigs is to be there, up front and close so as to immerse herself in the performance and then to capture the energy and magic that she can feel and experience herself. Her photos document vividly the symbiotic relationship and connection between artist and audience but also capture the energy and magnetism of many popular rock stars whether on stage, back-stage or off- stage.

Her initial choice of equipment suited this up close reportage style - using a Nikon F2 on manual settings and very low sensitive slide film (Iso 64) to keep the depth and brightness of colours, Chantal was forced to shoot up close and fast. Using no flash and wide apertures meant that she had to work within a very shallow depth of field. Furthermore, working with colour slides did not leave any space for mistakes in pre-Photoshop days.

MULTIPLE EXPOSURES SHOT LIVE! For the photographer, meeting Archie Shepp and Nina Hagen in 1980 had a very strong impact: the refusal to be bound by conventions was so inspirational to Chantal that she decided to apply this revolutionary approach to her photography: armed with her camera, she wanted to give back to the instant its complex plurality, its 3D dimension, its verity more than its reality. There was more in the moment than a single picture could capture so Chantal experimented with live multiple exposures to try and crystallize the plurality of the event on one image. She took this to extremes of experimentation with some pictures comprising 9 overlaid exposures. This technique, developed by Chantal in the early 80s, has contributed to the rock photography in an unprecedented way.

Now in the digital age, Chantal's unique sense for experimentation is still going on: the photographic tools are different but the subject remain the same, taking her further along her favourite road.

This exhibition will unveil a selection of photographs from the thousands she took and will aim to represent the excitement of this era and passion in Chantal's life.


This exhibition is presented by

106-108 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8BZ

Viewing Hours:
Mon to Fri, from 1 pm to 8 pm
Sat & Sun, from 2 pm to 6 pm
(Other times possible by appointment)

Free admission
Limited Edition Prints will be available for purchase

With thanks to our sponsors: