The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Craft Is Not A Cost …

The picture above is a ‘behind the scenes’ photo of Queen preparing for a photoshoot.

Not just any photoshoot … but one that define their immortality.

Now looking at the state of them, you’d not thing that was possible.

John Deacon is wearing a Queen t-shirt for christsake.

But in the hands of the brilliant photographer Mick Rock, he turned these 4 lads into genuine music icons with an image that will outlive the band and define an album, a song and a video for decades ahead.

At a time where more and more people are trying to devalue the value of craft, I hope people see this and remember it’s not a cost, but an investment that pays for itself many times over.

25 Comments so far
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Funny how John Deacon is the only member of the band left with any cred. That’s a big jump for someone who wore bad tees of his own band.

Comment by Bazza

Yep … for all the shit bassists get, they seem to know how to play the game the best.

John Deacon.
John Entwhistle.
Even the bloke from Bros – Craig – who walked away with a million pounds while the Goss brothers ended up bankrupt.

Comment by Rob

And married one of Mel and Kim

Comment by Northern

And I like this post. Most interesting article on ancient history I’ve read in ages.

Comment by Bazza

Ancient history. Funny. More suitable for National Geographic than MTV.

Comment by Pete

Except this year the 4 members of the band each earned more from the movie Bohemian Rhapsody than all the earnings of their career to date.

The National Geographic wishes it was that popular. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Both are brilliant photographs. They also perfectly capture the role marketing has in managing perception with reality. As you say, a single image that revealed an icon and a legacy. Great post Robert.

Comment by George

Yes to all this. If you passed the band before or after this shoot, you would never imagine they could be the icons in that photograph. More Spinal Tap than rock royalty.

Comment by Pete

Tell that to clients. In Sydney, craft is getting less and less respected. The amount of jobs I’ve quoted up with $100k+ scopes that have had actual budgets of less than $10k… Worse, when you point out how ludicrous expectations are, they act surprised…

Adland for a freelance photog/director has become unsustainable. At the rate we’re going, there’ll be nothing left in 5 years.

Comment by Alex Weltlinger

That’s incredibly sad to hear Alex.

Comment by George

God that’s depressing. I wonder if it’s because many clients – and agency folk for that matter – haven’t learned the craft and are evaluated on cost control rather than quality control?

Comment by Rob

Cost is a very big part of it. I suspect greed as well – pretty sure that, from the dozens of these kind of quotes from the past year or two, a large proportion of the agencies were actually keeping the majority of the production budget as part of their profit margin.

And then you have the idiot suits. On a job several years ago, I had a suit yarn my head off for several days about being more ‘flexible’. What she meant was be cheaper, give us more, let us use you til you break.

It seems no one on the business part of the chain respects craft anymore – the instagram mentality
– it’s just ‘content’ after all. …not something that could have impact and actually be effective for that business.

And it’s not just us – what about the rest of the production pipeline? Stylists, make up artists, DP’s, editors (i.e. The Butchery just closed down) etc. When that ecosystem dies, no one will be able to produce the work anymore.

It’s dying right now.

We see stunning, effective pieces of work like that Apple piece with FKA Twigs. Good work is possible. But now, only for the very few. The rest of us, we’re being pushed out.

Comment by Alex Weltlinger

I love behind the scenes stuff. It shows how mundane craft actually is.

Comment by Marcus.

Good point Marcus. I wonder if that is why less people appear to value it – only seeing the mundane rather than the end result. They need to remember anything worth doing takes time.

Comment by George

True …

So much of life is standing around waiting for the moment to happen … whether that’s bands waiting to perform their concert, agencies waiting to present their pitch or parents waiting for their kids school report.

The great irony is the destination is always better when you’ve put in the effort, we just don’t like putting it in because even then, success isn’t guaranteed … but it sure as hell increases the odds.

Comment by Rob

I spent hours in a darkened cellar studio yesterday filming some stuff for my new performance. Just me and a mate pottering around chatting, setting up shots, filming and discussing how to do things. Two people who kind of know their stuff. I think anyone watching would have found it utterly boring.

Comment by Marcus

Queen are an illusion. Got it.

Comment by John

Even though it’s about Queen, this is a good post. I’ve got to say though, while I agree great craft is being squeezed out right now, I’m old enough to remember when agencies were more like the myth of New Order’s Blue Monday vinyl sleeve, looked amazing but so excessive the legend is that the best selling 12 inch ever lost Money. Which contradicts my point actually, because they pressed cheaper versions too in reality, but the story and sheer audacity of the Peter Saville Sleeve cemented the story and made even the cheaper versions more valuable
Yes I’m babbling, but I’m tired and haven’t had any sleep

Comment by Northern

I want some of the drugs you’re having.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Happy birthday Andy.

Remember, I remembered and Rob didn’t.

Comment by DH

And he did a Queen post on your birthday. Coincidence? I don’t think so. He’s so mean.

Comment by DH

Happy birthday my friend.
I hope you are enjoying the annual celebration trip.

Comment by George


Comment by Billy Whizz

I met Queen in the backseat of a Chevy Chevelle racing through a neighborhood in high school. I was in the back seat as an 8 track blasted out Queen II “Ogre Battle” behind my head from two Jensen deck mounted coaxial speakers.

Queen II – this photo.

Comment by Paul Macfarlane

The best Queen album.

Comment by Maryanne

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