Sunday, May 27, 2012

Don't Stand So Close To Me (The Police-part 2)

People are always asking me why I stopped shooting rock and roll. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I couldn't give you any one reason why I stopped. But there were a lot of little reasons, and one of them was connected to The Police.

Stewart Copeland on drums, Andy Summers in mid-air

As I said last time, I shot The Police at the Hotel Diplomat in New York with very few people in the audience. What I couldn't know at the time was that in just a couple of years they would become one of the biggest bands in the world. So imagine my surprise when I heard their demands just a few years later. Before they would let anyone shoot the show, they had to agree to let the band approve all the photos that would be printed. I usually worked freelance– I'd shoot whatever interested me, and then when the magazines needed a photo, I'd decide what work to submit. Had a lot of photos published that way. So the thought of showing the work to the band (more likely their management) and letting them choose what photos they would ALLOW me to submit... well that seemed just wrong. And it felt like the beginning of big changes. Which indeed it was. Now, of course, along with the 3 songs rule, and giving up your copyright to Lady Gaga, it's not unusual at all. Glad I was shooting then, and not now.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

So Lonely (The Police)

I went to see The Police in 1979. It was kind of in the midst of the whole punk/new wave thing, and at that time, The Police were a punk/new wave band. And that was why they were playing at the Hotel Diplomat in Times Square.

Sting at the Hotel Diplomat © Sheri Lynn Behr

Now for those of you who've been to Times Square lately, it was very, very different back then. Not exactly where you'd want to be late at night, or, for that matter, during the day. And The Diplomat was not exactly The Four Seasons. Or even a Days Inn. But it had a ballroom, with a stage in the middle (actually a platform that came up to about your waist) and they put on live shows.

The Police at the Hotel Diplomat © Sheri Lynn Behr

Now in the early eighties The Police became one of the biggest bands in the world. Not when I saw them. Their first album, Outlandos d'Amour had come out in 1978, and when they played The Diplomat, Roxanne was getting some airplay. But that didn't mean people showed up. I think maybe there were about 50 at the show, milling around in that big space. So it was easy to stand by the stage and shoot, and that's what I did. No mosh pit, no photo pit. It was a great place to shoot.  I do wish I had photographed the audience but really, in those days, magazines only wanted shots of the band, not the crowd. And who knew that this band would go on to be that huge?

All photos and text © sheri lynn behr unless otherwise noted.
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