Brian Aris / Two Worlds
10th June 2023 – 12th August 2023
Lucy Bell Gallery is pleased to present “Two Worlds” a unique exhibition exploring five decades of the career of renowned British Photographer Brian Aris.
B R I A N A R I S, who now lives on the South Coast, started out his photographic career as a photojournalist during the 1960s-1970s His work for a London Agency took him on a series of frontline assignments around the world – covering civil unrest and riots at the start of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, the plight of Palestinian children in Jordan, the Civil War in Lebanon, famine in Africa and the war in Vietnam, where he worked until the final days of the conflict in Saigon.
“Looking back the days spent in Belfast and Londonderry during “The Troubles” were without question my favourite times because photojournalism was all I ever dreamt of doing, I will never forget being on the ground during the first major riot I covered and seeing Don McCullin crouched alone in a doorway opposite avoiding the C.S. gas and quietly shooting.
In terms of photographing violence or horror the camera does act as a barrier between the photographer and the reality of that moment in time. Without the camera I don’t think I would have coped with some of the situations I found myself in. Particularly
the famines in Africa. They were truly terrible and very harrowing. But I always believed those images had to be seen in the hope that, as human beings we might just react to the horrors and do our best to stop them being repeated.”
“I was really disillusioned when I returned from Vietnam in 1975. I managed to get my films back to the agencies quickly but they were soon returned saying interest in the war was over. That really hurt and with friends in the music business and modelling world offering me work I decided to try my hand at something completely different”
Aris changed direction and opened a studio in London where he started photographing fashion for newspapers and magazines, regularly flying to exotic locations such as St.Tropez and Jamaica for weeks at a time to work with a succession of top models. At the same time he gradually broadened his studio work to include pop and rock including The Jam, The Clash, The Boomtown Rats, Roxy Music and The Police and eventually turned away from the model world to concentrate on the music industry which was exploding in Britain.
During the next two decades he covered every aspect of the music scene from punk rock, glam’ rock and straight rock ‘n’ roll with the Rolling Stones right through to the emergence of the boy bands and then “girl power” that arrived with The Spice Girls. While also having become friends with Bob Geldof, Aris was then brought in to take the exclusive official pictures of the all-superstar Band Aid line-up organised by Bob, as they got together to record the fund-raising hit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” helping victims of the Ethiopian famine.
Exclusive backstage coverage of the Live Aid and Live8 concerts followed and Aris eventually went back to Ethiopia with Geldof to photograph the work that had been carried out as a result of the money raised, and so, his two worlds collided.
Aris continued to shoot portraits regularly and his archive now includes many iconic portraits of The Beatles, Twiggy, Blondie, Linda Ronstadt, Tina Turner, Susan George, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Morrison, Sophia Loren, Madonna, Meryl Streep, Wham! Annie Lennox, George Michael, David Bowie, Elton John, The Clash, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Kate Bush, The Jam, Boom Town Rats, Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, Sting, The Police and the Queen.
During lockdown Brian Aris decided to use the time to go through his own archive and started to curate a book of his own images, the exhibition “Two Worlds” is a snapshot of his illustrious career, and preview of his book.
All prints are for sale.