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Chalkie Davies: Rock Photographer

This BBC documentary follows the story of Chalkie Davies’ preparation for a retrospective exhibition of his photographs of the stars of 1980s music. It tells the story of how Davies became a photographer of, and friend to the stars. And how he closed that period of his career on the tragic death of Phil Linnott, with whom he shared a house.

The documentary includes extensive interview footage both with Davies and some of those whom he photographed. Davies comments that because the stars trusted him, he was able to get close to them and take photos that showed them as ordinary people when they weren’t performing. The photos revealed the characters of the stars, not the performance routines more common in today’s rock photography. All images shown were in black and white, but the reason for this choice wasn’t discussed in the documentary.

The frequent message from the stars interviewed was that they trusted Chalkie ‘not to take photos that would make them look like dicks’. This allowed them to relax and let their guard down. This is what makes many of the images so compelling.

The exhibition is being shown in the National Museum of Wales before going on tour.


BBC Wales (2015). Chalkie Davies: Rock Photographer. Viewed on BBC iPlayer [accessed 8.6.15]

Morris S (2015). The Guardian [online]. Unseen Chalkie Davies photographs of 70s and 80s pop stars go on show (8 May). http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/08/chalkie-davies-photographs-70s-80s-pop-stars-nme-national-museum-cardiff. [accessed 11.6.15]

Museum of Wales [online]. Chalkie Davies the NME years. http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/cardiff/whatson/7844/Chalkie-Davies-the-NME-years/ [accessed 11.6.15]

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