Photographer Pat Graham spent more than ten years documenting the intimate relationships between musicians and their instruments. The most fascinating of these have been brought together in this beautiful book. Accompanying the images are personal stories and reflections from, and about, artists such as Johnny Marr, Modest Mouse, Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Jerry Dammers, Nick Zinner, Kurt Cobain, Ben Bridwell and many more.
Pat Graham says:
Most of the instruments pictured in this book carry personal stories about their owners, and I’m lucky to have been given the opportunity to both photograph the instruments and document their hidden narratives.
The book includes a foreword by Johnny Marr, in which he states:
This book is about relationships. The relationship between musician and instrument, craft and machine, artist and muse, friend and companion.
The book is packed full of high resolution, large scale images, many close up, which show guitars, keyboards and other instruments in all their battered, road-worn glory. The set of photographs which feature Johhny Marr’s Cherry Red 1959 Gibson 355 are among my favourite. The book includes some fascinating stories, such as the one Johnny Marr tells of how he acquired his 1959 Gibson 355. He was in New York, about to sign The Smiths to Sire Records. He persuaded Sire boss, Seymour Stein, to buy him a guitar if the band signed up. Seymour agreed and took Johnny to “We Buy Guitars” where he bought him the Cherry Red 355. Johnny took it back to the Iroquois Hotel and wrote “Heaven knows I’m miserable now” and “Girl afraid”. It became his favourite guitar for a while.
Over the years, Pat Graham’s photographs have been published in numerous magazines, including Rolling Stone, Spin Magazine, Art Forum, NME, Dazed & Confused, Raygun, the Village Voice, the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, the Guardian, Punk Life, Punk Planet, Time Out, VICE, Tokion, Guitar World, the Chicago Reader, and more. Trusted and respected by many musicians, he has been given privileged access to capture artists and their most treasured instruments during live performances, back stage, in tour vans, hotel rooms, and studios.
Stick this book on your coffee table and you’ll enjoy picking it up again and again.