A new look at Michael Putland's archive


Passionate about music from a young age, Michael Putland's career in the music industry began as he thought it was about to end - closing down his studio because he simply couldn't afford it, the last call to come in was an assignment to photograph Mick Jagger. 30 years later he had accumulated a vast archive of most everyone who cut a record or played a gig. He shot for all the music mags we grew up reading in England, and when I moved to New York I realized those rags, and his work, were just as popular there among music fans in the 70s and 80s as they were back home. Michael himself moved to the States in the late 70s and spent a few years having what sounds like a pretty cool but very busy life, before moving back to the UK and opening a sister photo agency to the one which he'd left running back in NY.

Michael and I were business partners in the photo agency, Retna, for several wonderful years, until 2006 when the stock photo industry became something we were less passionate about (more servers, less personal contact). His focus on the agency and desire to encourage and promote younger talent didn't stop him from shooting, and I remember a session with a very young Brad Pitt among the ongoing music subjects. These days Michael still shoots, and spends time scanning the archive and coming up with great ideas like this, his new series of triptychs.

You can watch Michael talk about some of his best known images in a video interview with ZOOZOOM and read more about where his photographs have been used on his Wikipedia page. You are also welcome to contact me about buying a print.

View the feature.

Michael Jackson, 1972 © Michael Putland

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