Publishing that 1960s photo of street children in Woolloomooloo a couple of days ago, led me to look through other pictures of mine from that period. In 1966 I travelled to London looking for experience on Fleet Street. I stayed five years, returning to Australia in 1971. Here are three pictures from that time. Never without a camera, pictures 2 and 3 were shot almost from exactly the same spot, within metres of the door of the basement studio I rented in Soho. Both were made in the moment I emerged into the street, on my way home.
I wonder, was the street life richer and more varied then? In hindsight, it seems so.
Busker, Kings Road, Chelsea, 1966 © Rob Walls
Outside the offices of Tailor & Cutter magazine, Gerrard Street, Soho, London © Rob Walls 1968
Rosie, a well known Soho street character of the 60s, Gerrard Street, Soho © Rob Walls 1969
This year is my 50th year as a professional photographer. But more importantly, today is also the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones first gig at the Marquee Club in London. To celebrate our mutual longevity, I thought it might be appropriate to again post my picture of Mick Jagger, taken at the Hyde Park free concert on July 5, 1969.
Mick Jagger, Hyde Park free concert, July 5, 1969. © Rob Walls 1969
Brian Jones had died only two days previously and this was the first concert for replacement guitarist, Mick Taylor. And so here we are both still rocking on 50 years down the track…long may we continue…
Mick Jagger, Hyde Park free concert, 5th July, 1969
Hyde Park, London, 5th July, 1969. From time-to-time to young photographers will show me pictures from rock concerts and with an apologetic tone try to excuse the minute size of the musicians on the stage, because they were so far back from the action. How did I get so close? Long lens? Not particularly. This was shot with one of those very heavy old Nikkor 85mm-250mm f4.0 zoom lenses. The trick was to turn up six hours before the gig…and earlier than the 250,000 people in the crowd behind me.
If you’d like to know more about this concert (including a list of the other musicians who performed) there’s a good write-up here.
The publishers of this video of young Jumping Jack Flash performing “Honky Tonk Woman” claim the crowd was 500,000. Suffice to say, it was a whole bunch of people…and if you were at the back of that crowd, even the longest lens would not have helped.