Picking up a camera around the time other punks were learning to gob, Phil Grey seldom went out without his trusty Mamiyaflex. At a time when gigs weren’t marshalled by image agents it was possible to photograph early performances of Blondie, Patti Smith and Talking Heads without fear of having the film ripped out of the back. Realising it was possible to blag photo passes by claiming to be a freelancer for New Musical Express gained him access to the pit of numerous gigs in the halcyon days of the late seventies. Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Iggy Pop, The Clash, Suicide and The Pretenders were just a few of the bands that passed in front of his lens. Soon he was legitimately taking photographs for the NME as well as Melody Maker, New Music News and The Face; going on the road with The Selector, Adam and the Ants, The Mo-Dettes and The Raincoats. As the party came to a close Phil took himself off to study at PCL where he almost completely seized up as a photographer. Three years later with a degree certificate on the wall, he moved on to photographing dance: producing images for Kenneth MacMillan, Kim Brandstrup’s Arc Dance Company, Janet Smith and Dancers and Kokuma Dance. He also photographs things that don’t move; the ceramics of Mary Rose Young, Lucy Strachan’s sculptures and recently collaborating with furniture maker Fred Baier on a 3D exhibition. He has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Photographic Society, London City Hall and The Curzon. In 2010 a selection of images from his “Writer’s Desk’s” project will go on display at London’s Free Word.
The Specials by Phil Grey
Blondie by Phil Grey