3 Aug 2008


It was the summer of ’77. Armed with my Practica SLR I took aim and shot my first photograph- an aqua-marine Honda Superdream basking in the midday sun. Soon after I was frequenting local venues in search of musicians and bands to shoot. The Town Hall, the Polytechnic and the Rock Garden were the places I’d sow my creative seeds. My first portrait was of "the Bard of Salford" John Cooper Clarke, I was 16. 

My first nationally reproduced work was shot at the Hare Krishnas UK head quarters, I was 19. The Bhaktivedanta Manor, a 16th Century a Tudor mansion in its own grounds, was gifted to the sect by George Harrison. Devotees attended to their chores with Stepford Wife serenity. On my first tour of the estate I came across the spiritual master A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Enveloped in a haze of powdered light, the guru was whispering into a Dictaphone. I was introduced to him by my devotee who, averting his gaze, bowed deferentially and swiftly ushered me into another room. In this facsimile of spiritual perfection something was amiss. I returned alone to satisfy my nagging curiosity. 

The quiescent master was not in deep contemplation, his cupped hand was empty - no microphone. His hushed tones were coming from a loud speaker. 

The founder had died some 20 years previously. Here he sat, reincarnated as a transcendental wax work.

Effigies and images of the guru inhabited places he’d frequented - a painting on his chair, a photograph of him in bed on a bed - Juju everywhere! I sent the images in on spec to the British Journal of Photography. To my amazement they ran them in their 1985 Annual.