Manchester: So much to answer for, Proud Gallery Camden

As I mentioned in the previous post, the exhibition on show for my stay at the Proud Gallery in Camden is:


Proud Camden presents Manchester: So Much To Answer For, a retrospective of The Smiths from renowned photographer Kevin Cummins. Thirty years since the band originally formed, this exhibition presents a portrait of The Smiths, the northern city that influenced so much of their music and the ensuing Madchester scene that followed their split in ’87.

When Steven Patrick Morrissey and Johnny Marr formed The Smiths in 1982, it was immediately clear that they were the sound of something different. At the time, Manchester was grubby, gritty and swarming with lyrical potential and the band’s look, sound and lyrics were uniquely twinned with their northern origins. The city bore a rich crop of musical talent throughout the 80s — Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, New Order, The Happy Mondays — and Kevin Cummins, an original Mancunian, was perfectly placed to capture it.

Working with Joy Division from 1977 and chronicling the Manchester music scene from 1976, Kevin Cummins found his ideal subject in The Smiths. He took the bands publicity stills, shot countless features for NME, tracked their gigs and travelled the world with Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce. After the band’s split in ’87, Cummins continued to scout out Mancunian talent; subsequently producing some of the 80s’ most iconic music photography. Stuart Maconie, a fellow NME journalist, has said of Cummins; “[Kevin] was the scribe, the gossip, the mimic and caricaturist … in at the beginning of all of this, he helped spread the word, fan the flames, whip up the hysteria, build the hype”.

Proud Camden presents the Manchester of The Smiths and of the 80s, seen through the eyes of photographer Kevin Cummins: alongside photographs of the band, this exhibition boasts a collection of stark, melancholy cityscapes which capture the cultural, social and political climate that gave birth to Indie music. Manchester: So Much To Answer for documents The Smiths, the city and the aftermath.

Although closed for refurbishment at the moment, more information about the upcoming show can be found on the website here and a brief bio and selected work of Kevin Cummins can be found at Proud here.


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