Here’s a great post blog post from my rep Wonderful Machine on our recent adventure-filled shoot with John Mellencamp.
Thursday November 11th, 2010
Robert Gallagher has risked his life for rock n’ roll. The LA-based WM photographer recently had a potentially jarring experience involving famed rock star John Mellencamp and a three-foot blade pulled from the top of a walking cane. According to the profile in Q Magazine, Mellencamp started the photo session by “swishing about” said blade, declaring, “alright, you’ve got 30 f***ing minutes!”
Mellencamp, apparently, is not fond of photo shoots. But where a lesser photographer may have faltered, Robert, undeterred, rose to the occasion. “That pretty much set the tone for the afternoon,” Robert told me. “But to be perfectly honest, it didn’t bother me. I didn’t feel he was really trying to threaten or scare me.” Though Robert wasn’t scared, the article describes Mellencamp delivering a knockout punch to a previous photographer, who invaded the temperamental rocker’s personal space to make adjustments. Nevertheless, Robert had a strategy:
“I was confident that if I just focused on my thing, to capture the devil-may-care artist, then he’d get it and be on board with me creatively. And that’s pretty much what happened. In fact, the 30 minutes turned into 50, which his manager pointed out never happens, with a quick jaunt around the area in his little bone-jarring ATV to shoot some artworks he’s collected.”
I caught up with Q photo editor Russ O’Connell to hear a little bit about why Robert was such a good fit for this assignment. “I knew that I could depend on Robert to shoot him in his natural environment, his home,” Russ explained. “We were lucky to have unrestricted access to John at his home and Robert’s work fits perfectly with the type of images I was looking for, nice raw uncomplicated portraiture. He’s also great at that important reportage angle that I needed for the feature… what you see is what you get with his work, and that’s down to his skill in camera.”
Robert is “particularly proud” of this shoot. First of all, he admires Mellencamp for “his political beliefs, despite the negative attention he draws. He is someone I greatly respect for standing up and being counted.” The wider reason is that he sees Mellencamp as an “outspoken cultural icon, a driven creative spirit, and someone whose sounds represented the freedom of the American spirit, which we’d crank full blast out of a convertible Triumph Spitfire back in our college days in North East England.”