Elton John by Barrie Wentzell
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Gelatin silver print
Titled, with artist stamp, in ink, press annotations, in pencil and ink, au verso
Printed in 1973
Born in 1942 in Durham, northern England, Barrie was educated in Kent and London, attending Maidstone Art School in Kent in the late 1950s. His first job at Manhattan Displays on Greek Street in London’s Soho occupied him from 1959 to 1961, during which time he became an avid scrabble player under the tuition of author, performer, wit and philosopher, Quentin Crisp. He continued on to work at Color Applications, a photo studio in the Belgravia area of London learning photography basics from 1961 to 1962. It was then, upon meeting his soon-to-become mentor, photojournalist Maurice Newcombe, that he would be inspired to pursue a photographic career of his own.
During the early 1960s, Barrie began diversifying into the worlds of fashion, music, and advertising. In 1965, he had a chance encounter with the young Diana Ross. The image he made of this yet-to-be global super-star became a riveting front cover of Melody Maker, England’s most renowned music publication, which caught the attention of Bob Houston, the assistant editor at the time. Houston was to contact Barrie and sign him on as exclusive chief photographer for the paper.
Barrie went on to shoot for Melody Maker from 1965 until 1975, one of the most important decades in the history of popular music, photographing many unknown musicians who would later become legends and household names.
Celebrated artists such as Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez and rock-and-roll icons such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and countless more all have their place in Barrie Wentzell’s vast archive.
Melody Makers, Should’ve Been There, is a 2016 documentary featuring interviews with Wentzell and his peers who worked together at the world’s first weekly music magazine during the height of Rock and Roll. Barrie lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
- Adapted from: BarrieWentzell.com
Barrie Wentzell, in his role as Chief Photographer for legendary popular music magazine Melody Maker, snapped photos of the biggest names in music between 1965-1975, when the world’s first weekly music publication enjoyed its greatest popularity.
This listing is for a rare vintage print, which means that it was made close to the time at which the negative was first exposed, or shortly thereafter.
- Artist Bio (PDF)
First a flop, now a classic: gallery marks 50 years of Kinks' Village Green LP - The Guardian, September 2018
David Bowie's life in pictures, now showing in NY Los Angeles and Hawaii - CNBC, February 2018
Knockout New Exhibit Features Iconic Photographs of David Bowie - Flavorwire, February 2018
Legendary Photographer Barrie Wentzell Talks David Bowie with CFN - Jan 11, 2016 - Cornwall Free News - January 2016
Intimate Photos of rock Stars from 1960s and '70s 'Melody Maker' - Flavorwire, 2012