If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Photography forum Q&A with Christopher Simon Sykes, Rolling Stones photographer

  • 29-09-2010 10:46am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 4,241 ✭✭✭

    Mick Jagger keeps abreast of current affairs while travelling between concerts in the Rolling Stones' private jet during their 1975 Tour of the Americas. Also aboard is American keyboard player Billy Preston (right). (Photo by Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    I have the opportunity to interview Christopher Simon Sykes, official Rolling Stones photographer, on Thursday and I'd love you to get involved.

    Mick Jagger and guitarist Ron Wood on stage during the Rolling Stones' 1975 Tour of the Americas. (Photo by Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    He's over to promote his upcoming exhibition at Kildare Village soon.

    Press release below:

    Behind the scenes photography from 
The Tour of the Americas 1975

    The Rolling Stones are widely regarded as one of the most influential and iconic groups in music history. Kildare Village is excited to be hosting an exhibition of images of the band by photographer Christopher Simon Sykes in association with Getty Images Gallery, London. The exhibition is free of charge and will be on show from Friday 17th September until the 3rd October in The Gallery Space at Kildare Village.

    In 1975 Sykes was commissioned by the biggest Rock n’ Roll band in the world to photograph the behind and on stage action of what was then the largest tour ever mounted, known as T.O.T.A – Tour of the Americas.


    Christopher Simon Sykes was an unusual choice for this assignment, since he had never previously photographed Rock & Roll. The result was a refreshingly different selection of images, which had previously only been seen by intimates of Sykes, and the Stones close circle. For three months Sykes lived and toured with the Stones, hanging out with them in their hotel rooms, backstage and on their plane (The Starship).

    Sykes said, “Arriving on the tour, which had already been in progress for ten days, in the middle of mid-America, in Milwaukee, Kansas, felt rather like my first day at school.”

    Sykes private yet objective vantage point to one of most influential bands in the world is what makes these photographs extraordinary. He captures the intimacy of the relationships within the band and manages to demonstrate the electric atmosphere attendant at these groundbreaking concerts.

    Bianca Jagger displays her backstage pass, which is attached to her white platform shoe, during the Rolling Stones' 1975 Tour of the Americas. (Photo by Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Sykes remembers, “The first time I covered a show, standing right in front of the stage, I found that afterwards I was stone deaf. I went out and bought some ear plugs, which I wore to the next show. When Lisa Robinson, the rock journalist covering the tour, saw me, she said “For God’s sake, Christopher, don’t let Mick see you wearing those!”

    Later that week she wrote in her column “Mick was wearing a pink satin jacket. Keith wore his customary leather trousers, Bill had a red shirt, Charlie sported a plain white T shirt, Ronnie was in red leather, and Christopher Sykes wore ear plugs.”

    Just put your questions below, and if I can ask them, I will!




  • Registered Users Posts: 4,031 ✭✭✭bullpost

    Obviously there was a lot of stuff going on that the band and their management most likely didn't want documented.

    I'd like to know what his guidelines were when photographing backstage and was he ever told to destroy images?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,077 ✭✭✭sheesh

    Can he give a brief outline as to how he ended up getting a gig like photographing the Stones.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,241 ✭✭✭Darragh

    Great questions guys, thanks!

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,980 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    ask him plenty of questions about his current work too, i suspect he'll be quite happy to be asked stuff which is not stones related.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,137 ✭✭✭artyeva

    did he get the feeling from them back in the 70's that they would be doing the same thing 35 years on? and would he go back on the road with them now?

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 10,686 Mod ✭✭✭✭melekalikimaka

    ask him if he knows what a tracker morgage is

  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 10,100 Mod ✭✭✭✭humberklog

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,241 ✭✭✭Darragh

    Cheers folks, appreciate the questions, even the last two :rolleyes:

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 13,381 Mod ✭✭✭✭Paulw

    Ask him, if there are any "popular" photos of his, printed a lot, that he doesn't actually like. Or if there are images in his collection that he prefers to those printed (well known).

    I know, many times, an editor's choice isn't always a photographer's choice. :D

    Also, what does he seem himself doing in 5 years time?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 76 ✭✭Lucky23

    Ask him if he got the pleasure of the groupies too?

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 10,100 Mod ✭✭✭✭humberklog

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭thebaz

    that era Stones photography for me is the greatest music photography ever - the challenge now is to somehow replicate - but with so many pr companies and managers it is near impossible - unless with a much lower key band - does current music photography from the pit bore him ?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 167 ✭✭La frog fairy

    What was his opinion or view of the rolling stones before and after the tour?

    I love his pics but really not a fan of the rolling stones so im curious