Friday, August 8, 2014


FOR YEARS I INSISTED THAT I HAD NEVER SEEN IGGY POP LIVE, despite being a big fan. As with David Bowie, I presumed that since I'd missed seeing both of them at the height of their creative careers (which happened to coincide to just after the mid-point of the '70s,) I'd given them a miss whenever the opportunity came up, afraid of being disappointed.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found this staring at me from a binder full of unedited colour slides:

Iggy Pop, Toronto 1990

Iggy Pop at the Concert Hall, shot during the Brick By Brick tour. I have no record of who the client might have been. I'm guessing it was shot with my ill-starred Nikon F3, and that I might have rented a 300mm telephoto for the occasion since I never owned a lens for the Nikon long enough to have gotten this sort of close-up from what I'm pretty sure was the side of the stage, just by the speaker columns.

Or maybe not. Brick By Brick was a pretty lousy record and I'd long since stopped caring about what Iggy was doing by this point, so I can't imagine that I'd have invested money out of pocket on a shoot that I didn't care enough about to remember as soon as it was over. Maybe I was close enough to use my mild portrait telephoto.

I'm guessing, though, because - like the Bowie show I shot the same year - I have no memory of shooting this at all. My wife has suggested that since I didn't see them when they were at their most vital to me - Iggy at Seneca Field House in 1977 with Bowie on piano, touring to support The Idiot; Bowie at Maple Leaf Gardens in either 1976 or 1978 - I had diminished the memory, since seeing them past their prime didn't count.

As I said before, shooting Bowie probably wasn't the most ideal circumstance - from some distant point in the local sports stadium, on the end of a long lens - but with Iggy I was in a modestly sized venue and obviously close enough to get these shots. So why didn't I remember seeing someone who was so hugely important to me?

Maybe it was the drugs.

But I don't remember doing any drugs by the turn of the '90s. I was too busy and too poor, but also too concerned with being in control, since I'd begun taking this photography thing very seriously and was desperate to make a living from it. I can't use the excuse about "getting old," since I clearly forgot about seeing Iggy weeks if not days after shooting these photos, and I wasn't even 30 yet.

Here's the thing: This sheet of colour slides is all I've got. I've combed the binder full of negatives from 1990 and there's no live Iggy to be found, so I obviously went in there with a single roll of colour slide film, then left when I filled it, clearly unwilling to stay for a few extra minutes to fill a roll of black and white. I don't think I wanted to be there, so it's not surprising that I couldn't be bothered remembering that I was.

Which is kind of sad, and in retrospect I think Iggy probably deserved better. In any case, here's another frame from the same sheet of slides, and something more like Iggy as I'd like to remember him.

Iggy Pop, Toronto 1990

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