The Photography of Joe Dilworth

Joe Dilworth was born in North London and through a meeting with Steve Pyke in the early ‘80s, began to see the possibility of photography as a direction. Soon thereafter he purchased a Rolleiflex “because Steve had one.” After art school, Joe presented his portfolio to music publications and was brought on by Melody Maker. Throughout his career, Joe also performed as a drummer with various musical acts, a short list of which includes stereolab, Jarvis Cocker, Cat Power and Kissogram. Here now, a selection of rare or unpublished photographs along with a few notes.

Courtesy of Joe Dilworth
Fall-Winter 2014-15

Bucharest, 1989.
This was taken at the first rock show in Bucharest after the revolution in 1989. I don’t think these kids had ever heard anything so loud before. I had been there just six months before under Ceaușescu, which was truly scary. I had gone to Romania in 1989 to photograph a band called ‘furniture’ for Melody Maker, they were on a British Council sponsored tour of Eastern Europe. I had already travelled a fair amount around Eastern Europe on my own photographic projects, so when any job came up behind the ‘iron curtain,’ I jumped at it. Romania was quite different, however. Much more obviously oppressive. I had a memorable encounter with the military attaché at the British Embassy, who filled me in with some of the details of what was going on. The journalist I was with literally kissed the ground when we landed in Heathrow. So, I didn’t imagine I would be back there a few months later after a revolution. I had gone, also for Melody Maker, to cover a group of UK bands who had gone to play in Romania a couple of weeks after the shooting stopped. It was very tense, there were rumors of snipers and the police didn’t know how to handle the crowd, but incredibly exciting.

Cat Power. On tour, 1996.
I was drafted into Cat Power when the original drummer couldn’t make it for a tour of Europe in 1996. We had one rehearsal and hit the road, just Chan, Mark Moore the guitarist, me and the driver. The van only had a radio, so we would be listening to FM radio all day, with Chan singing along to Cher’s “Life after Love” every time it came on. It was in the middle of winter with deep snow everywhere, really magical. About half the dates were supporting Elliot Smith, I remember them as being amazing.

Steve Albini. London, 1988.

This was taken when                                                                                                                                                                                  supported Sonic Youth at the Town & Country in London. I had been really looking forward to seeing Sonic Youth, but could barely concentrate on them. Albini blew me away, he seemed possessed. I had never seen such an intense show, much more visceral than Sonic Youth, who were headlining. Top marks to Sonic Youth for taking them on tour, they were pretty tough to follow.




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