Billy Bragg


March 2002, The front room of Rob Partridge's house, Esmond Road, Chiswick, London W4! Ahhh the joys of shooting on 5x4 and using Polaroid... lost processes and arts now. I used to lug my 5x4 kit around to editorial shoots purely because I sooooo loved the beauty of the final images which made it worth schlepping a 10kg box in addition to my lights and tripod. And the method of shooting was so diferent as well, so slow and measured. This Billy Bragg portrait was a wonderful case in point. Solid, straightforward and honest and using the Polaroid Type 54 pos/neg film meant that not only would I get the instant (well 1 minute development time... instant back then!) print but also a beautifully and very delicate negative that with careful cleaning and care could be printed from and enlarged on to silver bromide paper. Billy saw the first Polaroid print and went, "Karsh!" which is certainly a compliment in my book! A different frame from this shoot was used as the basis for the cover painting of his 2003 Best of... 'Must I Paint You a Picture'.

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