no consumer

Music photographer Kevin Westenberg is the man behind some of the most iconic images to emerge from the music business over the past twenty years. He's also the latest photographer to be filmed for Canon's acclaimed series of mini-documentaries, 'The Shot'. In the 60-second piece, artful camera work merges shadowy snatches of Kevin’s features with glimpses of his pictures, while his voice-over reveals some of the challenges he faces on a daily basis: “You have to be just confident, and not let them see you’re shaking inside.”

As a film it has Kevin’s approval: “When I was invited to be part of this series I looked at some of the others and they were all really well done,” he says. “Mine is not quite as dark as I would have liked, but I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s turned out. Something like this helps to legitimise your work in the way that a book or an exhibition might do. I’ve been tackling a shoot a week for the past 15 years and I’ve not had much time to promote my work, and it’s a side of things that I have to start thinking about.”

Born in Vancouver, Kevin’s family moved to Seattle when his father landed a job at Boeing, and he eventually ended up at architecture school in Washington State. Part of the course involved an exchange programme. Suddenly he found himself in Copenhagen for a year, experiencing a liberal, open-minded life that effectively opened his eyes to the world. “I found it fascinating, bought a camera and started taking pictures. At first it was the architectural projects of other students, but then I turned the camera on people, which I found much more satisfying than sitting behind a desk drawing.”

Kevin finished his Masters year back home and headed for England in 1984, discovering very quickly that architects were out of favour with a vengeance. “The agency I went to said that they had architects on their books who had been out of work for ten years,” he recalls, “and so I picked up my camera again and tried to find some work.” He got a commission from New Musical Express to shoot some test assignments, but the journalists at the magazine went on strike that week and his pictures were spiked.

You Connect | Maaliskuu 2006
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