Rock photographer documents golden era of music

THERE is indeed a fine line between pleasure and pain but the result will be clear for the region to see when the photographs of legendary Australian rock photographer, Tony Mott, are exhibited at Lismore's Regional Gallery this Saturday.

Tony Mott began photographing the rock'n'roll scene in the early 80s, as "The Man In The Pub" with a camera. He built his career quite informally in the beginning being in the right place at the right time. Unlike today when everyone has a camera, Mott has documented a Golden Age in music where he says he "could see and photograph 13 bands on a Friday night."

Over 30 amazing years the British-born chef established himself as the rock photographer of choice by the biggest names in the business and yet he credits Chrissy Amphlett of Sydney rock band, Divinyls, as the muse who sparked his passion for the medium.

"Without Chrissy I wouldn't have had a career," says Mott. "I sort of stalked her with my camera to learn the art of rock photography. What a pleasure and pain it was."

It's only fitting then that the exhibition, is named What a Life! after a Divinyls album.

"The range of music stars Mott has photographed is jaw-dropping" says Lismore's Regional Gallery curator, Kezia Geddes.

"We asked The State Library of NSW if we could show this exhibition because we had a strong feeling that this would be one that people will really enjoy. The Northern Rivers is home to the Blues Festival, Splendour In The Grass, The Aquarius Festival, The Mullum Music Festival and more. People love their music here. There will be a lot of people who have seen some of these stars perform and who have personal associations with their music and what they represent," said Geddes.

"There are 300 works in this show. We won't be able to hang them all because the gallery's not large enough but we're going to hang most of them."

Lismore Regional Gallery is the first of NSW's regional galleries to stage the major retrospective of premier Australian rock photographer put together by the State Library.

Tony's photographs have appeared in more than 700 music magazines and street press journals including Rolling Stone, Juice, Drum Media, RAM and Juke. He has provided photography for more than 450 singles, EPs and albums. His portfolio features international music icons such as the Rolling Stones, Björk and Nirvana, as well as local acts (INXS, Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil and Lismore's Grinspoon) and Australia's independent band scene.

The exhibition is from June 11 - August 13. Tony Mott will give a talk on Saturday, June 11 at 11am.

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