Abbey Road Studios honors music photography with inaugural awards

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) – London’s Abbey Road Studios are hosting their first music photography awards this weekend, highlighting a category they believe deserves recognition.

From live shots to intimate portraits, the May 14 awards, described as the first to celebrate the art of music photography, will pay tribute to emerging and established photographers.

All taken last year, the shortlisted photos include snaps of singers Billie Eilish and Arlo Parks, musician David Mrakpor as well as revelers at live events.

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“The Music Photography Awards started as a nugget of idea from a member of our team, as we see even in our archives that we have at Abbey Road how important photography is in telling the story of what happens in a studio or behind the music,” Abbey Road Studios chief executive Isabel Garvey told Reuters.

“And as we dug in, we realized that was a category that really wasn’t celebrated. So we decided…with our relationships with musicians, with creatives, with the whole industry, that we were in made in a rather unique position to host an awards show like this and give these photographers the platform to celebrate all of their work.

The awards have open and invited categories, with the latter including portrait photography, editorial photography and artist at work.

New York photographer Eric Johnson, who has taken pictures of Biggie Smalls, Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill, will receive the icon award for his “contribution to the art of musical photography”.

The open categories are made up of Live Music Photography, Studio Photography, Undiscovered Photographer of the Year, and Champion Scenes and Air of the Times, described as “the image that defines music in 2021”.

“Obviously we know there are a lot of talented music photographers out there, but we weren’t quite prepared for the onslaught of applications,” Garvey said. “I think we had over 3,000 applicants from the open categories.”

The jury includes veteran photographers such as Jill Furmanovsky.

“I was impressed that there was so much material from a year we were in COVID, so there couldn’t have been as many situations to photograph music as in previous years,” he said. she declared.

“And yet people were doing it: small concerts or concerts with masks or people recording in their rooms or their houses, etc. It was quite moving sometimes to see that and also historic in fact, because it was a moment in time.”

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Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alex Richardson

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