Andy Willsher

Given the choice at school on a Wednesday afternoon of joining the army or alternatively the slightly over-subscribed photography course, I'm glad to say there were no hot spoons and polish for me. Growing up in Bedford amongst like-minded music enthusiasts I became totally obsessed with David Bowie as well as pretty much all of the Goth bands of the late 80’s (which I probably shouldn't be admitting). Luckily there was a small music venue in town and most of the [Goth] bands played there. 'The perfect scenario' I thought; I’ll go along and take some pictures. So the likes of 'Ghostdance', 'Zodiac Mindwarp', 'Fields of 'The Nephilim' (and many more people dressed in black throwing flower everywhere) started my portfolio. I decided to ignore college and get a proper job so I could afford the next Canon model I’d been craving. Whilst working at Barclays Bank in the West End, I took a holiday to follow a band called 'The Hollow Men' around the far reaches of Scotland and Ireland. I decided from that point that this was the life for me. One step further down the line I was working in my local camera shop to try and gain some knowledge. I think it was around this time I started printing up my own pictures and sending them to the music press in the vain hope they’d want to use one. Finally that time arrived and after a few shots had been published I got a phone call from NME Towers; 'Do you fancy shooting 'The Family Cat' at a school in Crewe?'(!). How could I refuse? Well that was a long time ago and I’m still there at NME Towers a good many years later. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world shooting bands. I must admit the technical side of photography still confuses the hell out of me but if you’re there when the action happens you should get something! Apart from the NME stuff, I’ve been documenting Razorlight's rise to international fame and hopefully in the next year or so I’ll have a book out there on the shelves – sitting next to the other photographers who inspired me. Such as, Anton Corbijn, Ellen Von Unworth, Pennie Smith and Mick Rock.

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