Daily Archives: January 21, 2013

Halfway to Paradise – 50s and 60s rock photography at Scarborough Art Gallery

Are you a rock ‘n’ roller of a ‘certain age’? Did you see the big names in Scarborough in the 50s and 60s? If so, Scarborough Art Gallery would like to hear from you.

This spring, the Gallery is playing host to a touring exhibition of rock photographs from the Victoria and Albert, Museum, London’s. Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock comprises over 100 photographs by Harry Hammond from the V&A collection, capturing the emergence of British rock. Hammond (1920-2009) was the first great photographer of British rock ‘n’ roll. Starting in the late 1940s, he captured definitive images of virtually every leading British musician.

The exhibition features many of Hammond’s most famous images of leading British artists, including The Beatles, Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey, as well as those of many visiting American artists including Buddy Holly and Little Richard.

The Gallery would like to enhance the collection with local memorabilia from the period, and is asking for local rock ‘n’ rol lveterans to come forward and lend their treasures.

“We’re looking for anything relating to the big artists of the period who played at Scarborough venues like the Futurist and the Spa,” says Scarborough Museums Trust Head of Collections Karen Snowden. “People might still have tickets, programmes, scrapbooks, or articles of clothing – we’d love to borrow them for Gallery visitors to enjoy when they visit the exhibition.”

Anyone who has items they would be willing to lend is asked to contact Karen on 01723 384506 or Karen.snowden@smtrust.uk.com

Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery from Saturday 9th March to Sunday 14th 2013.

As well as photos of artistes performing, it provides an insight into the wider music industry – Tin Pan Alley, recording studios, disc jockeys and TV shows such as Oh Boy! The photographs are set against a soundtrack of rock music from the 50s and the 60s.

Born in the East End of London, Hammond began his career as a promising society portrait photographer. During the Second World War Hammond served as a reconnaissance photographer with the RAF. On his return to London he found himself increasingly drawn to the music industry. Using his talent and professionalism as a portrait photographer he began to photograph a new breed of celebrity – the rock ‘n’ roll generation.

Hammond captured the liberal, post-war public attitude that embraced the popular music culture of rock ‘n’ roll and earned respect not only for the innovative way he shot their performances, but also for his respect of his sitters’ private lives. In 1952 New Musical Express (NME) magazine was relaunced and Hammond soon became its primary photographer, taking some of the most famous images of the era and setting the standard of pop photography for the following generations.