Amy Winehouse

I don’t want to write a lot about Amy Winehouse.
If you are interested in reading about her, buy a gossip magazine or type her name on Google, two millions pages come out. Few will tell you something about her music, sadly.
I want to show pictures of her performing.

Amy Winehouse

These pictures were taken on November 2006 when Back To Black her second album just came out and wasn’t yet the biggest selling UK album.
She played her first series of shows in small venues and was so keen on singing the album live that the whole place was bursting of positive energy.

Amy Winehouse

Everything rotated around the music, not about asking whether or not she was drunk.
Since that show I was quite sure that the album would have been massive, bigger than her Mercury prize nominated debut, Frank.
Amy Winehouse has one of the best voices emerged in years and she has the charisma of a timeless diva.
With Norah Jones moving to unconvincing jazz-country and Joss Stone leaving soul dreaming of pop arenas, Amy filled up a void.
When you have the songs and the stage presence it can’t go wrong…unless…you can’t cope with the pressure.

Amy Winehouse

First time I saw Amy Winehouse, she supported Jamie Cullum (!?!). It must have been somewhere around 2003 or 2004. She was part of a trio, she used to play a light blue Fender Stratocaster guitar. Black hair, black make up, a curvy girl with few tattoos. Two things impressed me, her voice and her alienated look lost into the songs she was singing.

Amy Winehouse

When she came on stage for this show, Amy Winehouse looked a different person.
Skinny, dressed with an impressively short everything except the hair, she revealed anything, from their new tattoos to her knickers. She is not a person able to hide, she looks like having a compulsive need to be seen and recognised.

Amy Winehouse

Generous, she totally gives herself on stage. Anything she has in that particular moment, which can span from nothing to her whole heart, is donated to the audience. Her mood is indecipherable. Her eyes never gaze at you, impenetrable. While portraying her, my mind went back to that first concert, to that estranged attitude of a girl immersed in the music. I refined my opinion; Amy Winehouse gives you everything but her soul, her soul is only for her songs. The secret of the great album and some wonderful shows.
I hope she will continue, she clearly wasn’t ready for such a success and alas cannot cope with it, but I do hope she will.

Amy Winehouse

While waiting for the Grammys, for the Brits, for the 3rd album, for a new tour and summer festivals, while looking at these pictures, you can listen to her music on her [website].

Amy Winehouse

Photo tip

Not a tip today, few considerations.
Try this. Search for “Amy Winehouse” on Google images. 900.000 hits pop out. A very small percentage shows you a singer, most photos portrait Amy as a drug addict, desperate, alcoholic junk.
I am not a journalist. If something, I am a photographer. Since photographers are usually accused of exploiting this people, I want to use this space to say something not against tabloids, not against the rock stars, not even in support of colleagues, but against (some of) you, the readers.

Amy Winehouse

Photographers usually are not born rich. They have a mortgage or a rent to pay, live a life as anyone.
Photographers shoot what people buys. Fact.
A picture of Amy using drugs is worth thousand of pounds, a picture of Amy doing her gig on stage is not worth a penny. Literally, not a fiver, not a single penny.

Amy Winehouse

This market isn’t decided by editors, it is fixed by (number of) readers.
The photographers’ options aren’t a lot, either we do another job, so that we can put the concert pictures for free on our blogs (or on some webzines curated by passionate guys who do this, surprise, for free), or some have to hang out Camden’s Tesco hoping to snap Amy shopping for alcohol at 4am to cover the February mortgage with a blunt, small, grainy snap on a Metro cover. That people love to see.

Amy Winehouse

Clarified that, what  I’d love is some answers from these readers.
Why do you find interesting looking at Amy drunk, better if she is half naked and looks miserable?
Does it give a relief, does it tell you are not like her?
Or does it feel a relief knowing that even rich and famous “celebrities” (I hate this word) use drugs just like you? Is there a personality void you have to fill with heroes and anti-heroes to feel better?

Amy Winehouse

I am convinced some small steps of self consciousness into everyone life behaviour do help a lot on many facets. The more you discover about your inner self the more you feel better; tabloids will stop paying big money to see Amy drunk if no-one cares, ideally they will also start paying for images of her doing what she can do best, singing. Amy wouldn’t be caught into this mechanism that at the same time made her famous as well as put her on the edge of breaking up. Paparazzi will stop running after celebrities for any kind of miserable image and will be forced to concentrate on taking good pictures.

Amy Winehouse

I am not a psychologist either. I can see all liveon35mm readers out there saying you have never been interested to those sort of pictures and never bought a gossip magazine. Fine, so why, while waiting for the rest of the world to be as good as you, not doing a bit more? I have a selfish option.
Don’t buy and stand against crap magazines, keep your money each week. When you saved enough, buy fine-art photographs of your stars. Original prints look great hanging on the living room. This would help photographers paying that damn mortgage without wandering out in Oxford street every night chasing the next “drunk celebrity”, the musicians to become famous because of their work, and the forests’ trees to host wild furry animals instead of wild shaved girls. Think about it, your mind thinks for free.

Amy Winehouse


~ by Valerio on January 18, 2008.

15 Responses to “Amy Winehouse”

  1. La prima delle foto è davvero un gioiello.
    Per il resto sono completamente d’accordo sulle considerazioni che hai esposto nel finale.
    La sua musica però non la conosco.

  2. Hi guys!
    Non so se scrivere in English per internazionalizzare o in italiano per comodità.
    Su Amy sai che la penso esattamente come te.
    Forse anche un pò di più nel senso che per me poteva essere (considerate le debite differenze) la Janis degli anni duemila.
    Non trovo molte altre cantanti così “immerse” in quello che stanno cantando e nel modo in cui stanno (ahimè) vivendo.
    La bella e brava Joss Stone ha abbandonato il feeling vero per andare verso produzioni più patinate e magari fra un pò ce la troveremo prodotta da Timbaland a duettare con Jay-Z.
    La piccola Amy sta lì, in bilico tra stardom e obitorio.
    Ma io tifo per lei.

  3. PS Le foto sono spettacolari.
    PPS Le gambe di Amy anche.
    PPS Il resto un pò meno.

  4. OK OK OK…thanks guys for the compliments…translation service for the english world (it’d be time it starts to speak italian, wouldn’t it?)
    Country…agrees with my considerations on the phototips about exploiting stars but doesn’t know amy music…time to have a try mate…
    Diamond agrees with me and says Amy could have been Janis of 21st millennium with the obvious differences. He likes Amy legs, which I am not sure I agree…as a curiosity, Diamond, 4.36 am, are you imsomniac got a party with Bowie or have you moved to California?

    English world, liveon35mm waits for you…

  5. Mi spiego meglio: sono d’accordo su quanto dici circa i falsi report giornalistici e fotografici, quelli che puntano a confondere le cose facendo passare in secondo piano l’arte di un musicista in virtù di qualche mero scoop.
    E’un discorso etico applicabile a tutti, non solo alla Winehouse.
    E’chiaro che lei oggi è nell’occhio del ciclone, ma così facendo ci si dimentica di tutto il resto…

  6. I am totally with you. And I promise I will buy more artist photos. :-)
    The other day, I was at the supermarket paying and the queue went by the magazine stand: a gossip magazine showed an horrible picture of Britney Spears with the words “I want to die”. Now, I am not a fan of her, but I felt really sorry for her.. to be exposed in this very violent and intrusive way… why? Why do people buy those magazines? I guess nowadays what everybody wants really is gossip, look at the webpages of the major italian newspapers. It’s really sad.
    P.S. I love this blog!

  7. my girlfriend got the amy winehouse album not long ago, i was never intersted in her music so i admit i just knew her for the gossip.
    i listened to the album a few times while in the car and i have to say that i think is really really good. once i have a minute i’ll try to listen to it properly, i’m sure it’ll be worthed.
    chow (ciao)

  8. A pallini!

  9. Hi, love your pics!
    I’ve photographed Amy, and got the shots of her spitting into the crowd.
    I really wanted to get shots of an artist producing a fabulous performance for her fans, but the drunk/drugged person on stage was more than an insult to the 2000 people who had paid to see her “perform”. I’d rather get a shot of her performing to the best of her ability though. But, if you stick someone in front of me who does something outrageous of course Im going to photograph it. As you say, I have a mortgage to pay…

    I dont find anything interesting about seeing Amy drunk, and I really wish she was more balanced.
    I dont buy the magazines that buy and print my pictures, mainly because they dont print a balanced story and are only interested in one angle – the sensational, scandalous story that will sell the publication.
    It’s not the public that have pushed Amy into any of this – celebrities do need help to cope with the attention, but at the end of the day they are still accountable for their own individual actions like the rest of us.

  10. I totally get your point. I think Amy has the voice of a Nina Simone and since we have no hope to see a decent gig of her in Italy we appreciate the good work. And I like your pics (just tumbl’d you). Keep up the good work…and the fun.

  11. I fell in love with these pieces os sky & earth.We must began to root in it. Many seeds fell from her hands, many grew & many died.It was happiness.

  12. Lovely photos…

  13. Completely agree with you regarding the trash mags. It’s more than a shame – it’s something to be shameful about.

    Mind you, those same trash mags are what ensures that those “celebrities” remain so and continue earning money… Vicious cycle? Yup.

  14. I have come back to these images after seeing your Tumblr post from a few weeks ago. I have been following this site for some tie, and I remember reading your “Photo Tip” when these photos first went online and feeling relief that someone else shared my thoughts on tabloid consumerism, but at the same time slightly saddened that not enough people would listen.
    Three years later, and those words perhaps mean more now than they did then. Unfortunately, people still aren’t listening.

  15. Thanks Rich! I appreciate it

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