Nick Drake and the Strange Face Project
January 25, 2012
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My two loves throughout my life have been music and photography. One of my earliest teenage memories is sitting on the floor in my friend Lynne’s house listening to Nick Drake. Her brother was the first person I had met whose life was dominated by his record collection and through him I found Nick Drake and many others.
Michael Burdett has such an interesting story and it is revealed in The Guardian by Laura Barton.
A lost recording by the late singer has been turned into a UK-wide photography project.
“One summer evening in the late 1970s, Michael Burdett was scavenging through a skip behind Island Records HQ in London. He was a teenager, employed as a postboy at the label, and had been given permission to hunt through all the discarded demos for tapes he could record over in the studio he was setting up at home.
An object caught his eye. “A scruffy little tape,” he recalls. “On the front, in felt tip, it said ‘Nick Drake‘ and on the back ‘Cello Song’. And at the bottom were the words ‘With Love’ and two kisses. I knew Nick’s material; he’d been dead five years. I couldn’t let it go to the dump. So I took it and kept it.”………”
and suddenly after 30 years he knew what he wanted to do: photograph people listening to it.
“For the next year and a half,” he says, “I kept the camera and the recording with me wherever I went. I approached people at random and ended up photographing tattooists, homeless people, florists, mountaineers, City workers, people aged two to 96.” Of the 200 people he asked, 167 agreed. “I think that is the beautiful thing about all this,” he smiles. “It’s not just about Nick Drake – half the people had never heard of him.”
He calls his collection of photographs the Strange Face Project, a nod to the song’s opening line: “Strange face/ With your eyes/ So pale and sincere.” It was also a reference to the peculiar intensity that played across subjects’ faces as they listened. “With four minutes 22 seconds to photograph someone,” says Burdett, “I invariably found that the images were telling.” READ MORE of the Guardian story here
There is a website for more details about this photography project and a documentary being made about it here
There is an exhibition of the photographs from 27/1/12 – 12/02/12 at Idea Generation, here is a link to their site
This is what they say about they exhibition and Nick Drake
Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording
27/01/12 – 12/02/12
Since his tragic death in the mid seventies, Nick Drake’s haunting music has influenced countless artists – from Kate Bush to Radiohead. we are very excited to share a brand new exhibition, telling the story of how the discovery of a previously unheard recording has touched the lives of a very special group of people; the lucky few, who were chosen to hear it.
Nick Drake is hailed as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the last 50 years yet his is one of the most mysterious and intriguing stories of 20th century pop. Before his suicide in 1974 aged just 26 he was a relatively unknown artist but in his short recording career he had generated a legacy that would go on to influence some of pop’s most high profile artists.
Hear Nick Drake HERE