Lewes photographer captures musical icons

Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne

Lewes photographer James McCauley has taken pictures of some of the biggest names in the music industry.

And now he is about to share some of his favourites as part of Artwave 2014, the annual visual arts festival for Lewes District.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

From Amy Winehouse (pre-beehive and tattoos) to Jay Z on his private jet; from U2 at Glastonbury to Faithless in the Arctic Circle, James has established an enviable reputation behind the lens.

His exhibition also includes the likes of Lou Reed, Beyonce, Morrissey, Gorillaz and Stevie Wonder.

It goes on show at 19 Friars Walk, Lewes, this weekend (August 30, 31) and next from 10am-5pm.

He told Michelle Porter about his visit to the Osbourne household. James said: “The Osbournes were very friendly, hospitable and normal. We were there for an interview with Ozzy, and Sharon came down in her dressing gown to make us tea while we set up.

“They had the Osbourne coat of arms on their downstairs loo seat – I appreciated the humour of that.

“But, having gone to an Ozzy gig as a spotty teenager, I did have to keepsake a square of his ‘O’ monogrammed loo paper.

“How did I get onto Jay Z’s Jet? I nearly didn’t.”

Jay Z was promoting Reebok trainers and was doing a whistle-stop tour of Europe. James was told he’d be doing a press conference at the airport – but they didn’t tell him he’d need to go airside and photograph him on his plane. “This required a passport! My wife had to find it and send it to me by taxi. It arrived in the nick of time, but even then I was given ‘strictly two minutes only’ between interviews to get on and get the shot for Reebok.”

James got his first ‘big-break’ as a freelance photographer for Virgin Megastores, taking promo shots of all the bands that did in-store gigs. This led on to shooting gigs, festivals and other music related events. He’s since followed a broad and varied career but music photography is where his heart lies.

“Yes, I suppose I do consider myself to be a music photographer. I’ve always enjoyed listening to music and going to gigs. I believe the best pictures come from subjects you’re passionate about.”