Stephen Wright - The Smiths photographs 84-86 June-August '18 @ Central Library, Manchester (free)


'Sleepless nights': Photographer shares stories behind The Smiths' most iconic shots.


"Wright was living in a shared student house in Longsight with five friends in 1985 when, ‘out of the blue’, he received a call from The Smiths’ record label, Rough Trade, asking him to take some photos of the band in Salford.

After a sleepless night, Wright turned up with a friend who he had convinced to provide moral support on what he described as a ‘dark, grimy’ day, leading him to take mostly black and white photos.

“If they hadn’t come up from London, then we’d probably have cancelled the whole thing,” he said.

Wright described The Smiths as ‘very unassuming’, noting that they did not have an entourage of hair stylists and makeup artists as the biggest pop stars of that time would have had.

The film was then processed in Wright’s bedroom which doubled up as a darkroom using chemicals which were kept in old fizzy-drinks bottles before sending it to London on the Red Star Parcels courier service from Piccadilly Station.

Later that year, Morrissey thanked Wright in a note displayed at the exhibition which says, “A sweeter set of pictures were never taken. I smiled for a full minute.”

The photo, and the relationship that the photographer developed with Salford Lads’ Club following its fame, led the club to make Wright an honorary member."


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