If you’ve followed the music of Paul Weller as a solo artist over the past 30 years then the odds are pretty high that you will have also experienced and enjoyed the photography of my latest podcast guest, Lawrence Watson.
Their working relationship started in 1988, with a chance opportunity for Lawrence to photograph The Style Council. Paul was impressed with his photography, so much so that the work was used for the Confessions of a Pop Group album cover.
Some of the most iconic imagery of Paul’s solo career comes via Lawrence – live shots inside the debut album – that unmistakable cover for the Wild Wood album… or Modern Classics or Heliocentric or As Is Now… and so much more…
In fact, 800 images were selected for their book Into Tomorrow in 2015, which gives you an idea of how much access Lawrence has had over the years.
Click your preferred podcast platform to listen…
EP121 – Lawrence Watson, Music Photographer – Paul Weller Solo, The Style Council – Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast
Lawrence as born in Hammersmith, London, in 1963. He left school in 1979, aged 16, and undertook an apprenticeship at a darkroom in Old Street. He then graduated to London Weekend Television, and whilst there developed his portfolio in the evenings and at weekends and began contributing to the New Musical Express (NME).
In the early ’80s Lawrence was commissioned to document the emerging New York hip-hop scene and his portraits of legendary artists from that era include Run DMC, Eric B, Rakim and Public Enemy.
Lawrence describes his approach to photography as a fly on the wall, influenced by his early interest in being a documentary photographer.
Lawrence’s interest in music has led him to work with such legendary bands and musicians as Paul Weller, Morrissey, Oasis, Pulp, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Orbital, Issac Hayes, Pet Shop Boys, Jesus and Mary Chain, Neneh Cherry, Ian Brown, Grace Jones, New Order and George Clinton.
Check out some of Lawrence’s incredible work at lawrencewatsonphotography.com and for sale at Snap Galleries.
2015 – Into Tomorrow by Paul Weller – Photographs by Lawrence Watson
Into Tomorrow is Paul Weller’s visual chronicle of his solo career. Annotated with his own text captions, Weller retraces his steps in 800 mostly unseen images from his friend and photographer, Lawrence Watson.
‘These are photos of how it is: life on the road, life on stage… the reality of it. When he’s with us, Lawrence becomes part of the band. We’re all on the same mission.’ – Paul Weller
For this book, Paul personally reviewed thousands of prints to decide the photographs that make up Into Tomorrow. His recording sessions are seen from an insider’s perspective, at work on albums such as Wild Wood. Similarly, his tours – from Amsterdam to New York and from the O2 to 100 Club. Shoots have produced album covers such as Modern Classics 1 and 2, As Is Now and Studio 150. Videos have included ‘The Changingman’ and ‘Out of the Sinking’.
‘Paul’s always very involved; he’s got a great eye.’ – Lawrence Watson
1995 – Paul Weller – Days Lose Their Names and Time Slips Away 1992-95 by Lawrence Watson & Paolo Hewitt (out of print)
Published in 1995, this book came with a free CD including unique previously unreleased demo versions of some of Paul Weller’s best songs.
“Lawrence Watson is an acclaimed music photographer and accomplished video director. Three years ago, at Weller’s request, Lawrence began to photographically document the growth of a solo artist at a critical time in his career. This book is a collection of the best of that work”
To accompany the photographs, Paul agreed to publish many unseen working lyrics and poems, and to contribute unique material to the book that will illustrate the development of his solo career thus far.