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The Jam Laughing

by Andy Rosen

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  1. The Jam Laughing

Title: The Jam Laughing
Owner: Andy Rosen

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Registration: Bitcoin Block 577623 on BlockCypher

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Title: The Jam Laughing
Creator: Andy Rosen
Owner: Andy Rosen
Registered by: Andy Rosen
Date created: 1979-02-05
Copyright status: All Rights Reserved.
Work type: Visual Arts/Photography


Published date: 1979-02-15


This image is unique in the fact that the whole band are laughing, and especially Paul. I don’t remember taking any other pics of Paul laughing, and I have not seen many. To get them all laughing is a Gift (excuse the pun). One of my favourite portraits is of Paul on his own from this session with fantastic light, but this image is about the fact that they are laughing their heads off. I can’t remember why they were laughing, but I knew it was a rare moment. In the early days, Paul was always serious and moody. The irony is that not long after this shot the Jam broke up.

It was taken at the famous Air Studios. In 1969 George Martin left EMI to establish an independent recording complex in the heart of Central London. It became one of the most successful studio operations in the world. I knew it pretty well and had shot bands there before. As it happens, I did a session with Paul McCartney there. At the time I was working for Sounds music paper. The Jam was recording the Gift. When I arrived there John Weller (Pauls's dad and manager) informed me that I would have to be quick as the band were behind schedule and Paul was already late. No surprise there. I would always arrive early to shoots to scope out locations and prep everything. I decided to take the stairs rather than the elevator to save time. As I opened the door, a burst of blazing sunlight suddenly filled the staircase and projected the window framing on the opposite wall. I had to look no further for a location. It was perfect. Only one problem Paul had not arrived yet, and there was no guarantee the sun would shine for me on demand. I ran back upstairs hoping Paul had turned up, no sign of Paul. Rick and Bruce were already there. I went back to the staircase to prep for the shot. It's actually a tough shot to get exposure wise and even harder to print. The difference between the highlights and the shadows are extreme. Much easier now with digital but with a pre-digital Nikon F2, not so easy! You also had no idea if you got it right until you got your film back from the lab. I opened the door… no sun. I was pissed and resigned to the fact that if there was no sun, there was no sun. I would just do the shoot without it. Not as good, but that's sod's law. In the end, Paul turned up. I grabbed him and the band and dashed back to the stairways. My stars were aligned for the next 30 mins the sun blazed. I managed to get all my shots of Paul and the band, colour and black and white. 


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