The Evolution of Music Photography

WeTransfer Studios and Rankin have teamed up to launch The Backstage Sessions, a series of films exploring the stories behind the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll photos of the 21st century and their creators. The Drum spoke to Rankin and his subjects – David Montgomery, Gered Mankowitz and Kevin Cummins – to find out how they view their industry now that it is shot primarily through a digital lens.

It was an off-chance but typically cool meeting that led to Rankin and WeTransfer’s partnership. “I met the guys last year in Cannes and I was really impressed by their approach to creatives,” he recalls. “Damian [Bradfield, the brand’s president] was there speaking to me about working with Giles Peterson on their radio station and explained how they’re pushing the idea of music.

“I’d had an idea for a while to make a series of films about music photographers and he jumped on it.”

The resulting shorts – The Backstage Sessions – are what has brought four of the most predominant rock‘n’roll photographers on the phone together for the first time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when you conference call creatives who between them have shot David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Debbie Harry… it’s hard to get a question in edgeways. What is made clear through the joyfully cluttered conversation though, is that their styles and experiences – though shared – are entirely disparate. Apertures & alcohol: the evolving art of music photography according to Rankin and friends | The Drum


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