June 02, 2017

Ray Stevenson's memories on Kensal Green cemetery TEB's photo session.

Ray Stevenson is a sort of obscure cult hero for many of us. It was him who took the first proper photo session of the Third Ear Band at Kensal Green cemetery (read at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2010/01/teb-first-photo-session-by-ray_30.html), then obscure icons in popular music; years later (1976), after having photographed rock legends as Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Who, Fairport Convention..., he 'discovered' the Sex Pistols before they become "The Sex Pistols" and took some now historical pictures of them.
Having tried for many years to find him through the Web (http://www.raystevenson.co.uk/ his official Web site), few days ago, very surprisingly, he replied me and we had the brief conversation you can read below. He conscious that "as they say "if you can remember the 60's, you weren't there!", and this seems to be true for me"...

How old was you in 1969 when you shot the session with the TEB at Kensal Green cemetery? 
"I was 20 in 1969". 

When/how/where you met the band for the first time?
"I can't remember our first meeting. Glen, Carolyn and I would be at the same clubs [one of them was Les Cousins] and events and we gradually got to know each other."

Maybe at Les Cousins? They played there some gigs regurarly with Davy Graham...
"They played Cousins??? I really have no recollection of that, and I was there most nights. A visitor once looked at my Album collection and commented "You've got 3 of every genre!" I would say that they were the best of each genre... Bert Jansch, Fairport Convention, Hendrix, Stones, Pink Floyd, Peer Gynt Suite, My Fair Lady Soundtrack, Burundi Drummers, Gregorian Chant, Segovia, but it is Roy Harper that I am still returning to, but in digital form."

Who decided and contacted you to ask you to take the photos for the band?  
"I don't remember getting a commission for the session, most likely would be a random meeting and being asked 'Do you want to do a session?' That was how thing were back then."

Why was chosen just the Kensal Green cemetery? Did yoy recall something about that event? (when there was the session? which kind of camera you used for it?...)
"Kensal Green Cemetery was the bands decision. Probably because Hyde Park was featureless, there were very few suitable locations. Back then I had a Nikon-F and a Nikkormat, with 28mm and 135mm lenses, more importantly TRI-X Pan film."

Had you involved into the artwork of the "Alchemy" cover? 
"I had no involvement in the artwork of the Alchemy cover, but was delighted with the end product."

Later you took some photos of the band at the Isle of Wight festival (August 1969): do you remember anything about it? 
"Isle of Wight... So many bands, so many people, so many friends, so many years ago, I can't remember anything significant."

What happened to the photographs you took? Why some agencies (i.e. Rex Features) put on sale just some pictures (read at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2017/05/found-four-never-seen-before-pictures.html)? Have you still got that old picture? Are you selling them?
"I still have (very nearly) all of my negatives from 1966 onward, my agency Rex/Shutterstock are digital, and have scans of my more useable images." 

Have you met the band later? 
"The last time I saw Glen and Carolyn was in Portobello Road, they had sailed their little boat from England, through the French canals, then sunk when they got to the Mediteranian. Very sad."

no©2017 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

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