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Off-Site Exhibitions

What Presence! The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos

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Paisley Museum and Art Galleries


‘Harry Papadopoulos week after week gave Glasgow’s musicians to the world in his photography for Sounds. While Postcard maestro Alan Horne boasted that his label represented the Sound of Young Scotland, Harry quietly helped document the look of young Scotland’. David Belcher

Harry - who studied Electrical Engineering at Paisley College of Technology in the early 70s - began his photographic career in his Glasgow home town, standing outside the Apollo, flogging gig-goers newly-developed shots from bands’ Edinburgh shows the night before. Harry’s impulse to guerilla lensmanship swiftly drew him to London: from 1979 to 1984 he was a staff photographer for the music weekly Sounds, providing countless front covers. During those five years, Harry’s photographs covered the postpunk waterfront, from Blondie to David Bowie; the Associates to Devo by way of New Order, Bryan Ferry, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Birthday Party, The Cramps, The Clash, Altered Images, Felt, The Specials and Suicide (not to mention Wham!, ABC and Spandau Ballet). At that time, Harry’s London flat became home to fellow Scots migrants like Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Josef K and the Bluebells. Harry thus became one of the first few photographers to capture the fey arrogance of Edwyn Collins and his Postcard cohorts, and subsequently appeared in the Derek Jarman video for ‘What Presence’. 

Several of these photo’s comprise Harry’s retrospective in Paisley as well as focussing on the Scottish acts of the post-punk era when Glasgow was something of an epicenter of independent music. In addition to aforementioned, included in the selection are The Dreamboys (featuring frontman Peter Capaldi, aka Malcolm Tucker and currently Dr Who, and featuring US chat show host Craig Ferguson on drums), The Laughing Apple (featuring Alan McGee of Creation Records), Claire Grogan of Altered Images, Aztec Camera, and Edinburgh luminaries Davy Henderson,  (Fire Engines, Win, Nectarine No.9 and now of The Sexual Objects), Josef K and The Scars.

In addition to the expected band portraits and live-action front-row shots, there are a host of unique photo’s: salute the militant gay triumvirate of Jimmy Somerville, Tom Robinson and Andy Bell as they march for homosexual equality. Savour Peter Capaldi - years before he learnt to swear at Malcolm Tucker, or travel through time as Dr Who  - looking cute and wholesome as bow-tied front man of Glasgow band The Dreamboys (with favourite US late-night chat show host, Craig Ferguson on drums). Taste the flying mud, baying skinheads and noxious aroma at T In The Park’s ill-fated grandsire, the 1980 Loch Lomond Festival; and rare shots of The Fegs, one of the three bands on Paisley's Groucho Marxist label, whose irreverence became front page news in the Paisley Daily Express in January 1980.

Exhibition produced by Street Level Photoworks, and co-curated by Ken McCluskey.

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, High Street, Paisley, PA1 2BA

Admission to the exhibition is free. 
Opening hours for Paisley Museum as follows (until 10 Feb) 

        Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri 11am to 4pm 
        Thurs 11am to 9pm 
        Sat & Sun 10am to 5pm 


From 10 Feb to 1 March opening hours are as follows: 

        Closed Mondays 
        Tues to Sat 11am to 4pm 
        Sunday 2pm – 5pm 
        Public Holidays 11am to 4pm

Paisley Museum and Art Gallery