Music lovers, photography lovers and Glasgow lovers, have you heard about the Harry Papadopoulos exhibition that is taking place at the Street Level Photoworks gallery in the Trongate? We’re suckers for classic rock photography so having this on our doorstep is a big winner and will hopefully appeal to the countless music lovers in the city.
We love a tale of ingenuity and creativity and even though Harry achieved a great number of things in his photography career, a story of his early days is definitely well worth repeating. Also, anything that mentions the Glasgow Apollo is worth talking about.
It seems that Harry used to make money in the early days by going to see bands in Edinburgh and snapping them. On the next night, as the bands tour continued west into Glasgow, Harry would be armed with a collection of snaps from the previous night which he would sell to punters on their way out from the Apollo! Who knows how many times this exactly happened but it would be fair to say that Harry would be outside plenty of Glasgow gig venues trying to sell on some of the iconic pictures he took.
It was obvious that Harry had a knack for rock photography and in 1979, he moved south to London and for 5 years, he was providing Sounds with top notch photography. Front covers with acts like David Bowie, Blondie, Devo, The Clash and Suicide were all delivered by Harry…he photographed a lot of other acts too but these are some of the groups that we really like and are happy to mention!
Of course, being a Glaswegian in London means that you have certain responsibilities to handle. If you are a Glaswegian in London on a TV show, you will be a drunken tramp. However, back in the real world, being a Weegie in London often means that your flat or home becomes a drop-in centre for other Weegies and associates (and of course, The Associates) down for a visit or work. Orange Juice, Josef K, The Bluebells, The Fire Engines and Aztec Camera were all visitors at Harry’s pad when their stock was on the rise down South.
There is a temptation to throw in a video by The Fire Engines here but how could we overlook the Glasgow boys, Orange Juice:
This may not be one of the biggest songs by the band but the guitar line is exquisite and you would like to think that another great Glasgow band The 1990s have listened to this song a few times in their life. There is also a very strong Orange Juice link to the current Street Level exhibition with the title ‘What Presence’ being taken from an Orange Juice song.
After his spell at Sounds, Harry became the editor of a number of Marvel Comics, coming a long way from Penilee Secondary and Paisley Tec. Harry was also pretty active in the world of web design a decade ago and was teaching others in the art. Sadly; Harry suffered a brain aneurysm in 2002 and returned to Glasgow in 2006, where he resides today. However, with a great body of work in place, Harry Papadopoulos will hopefully always have a place in Glasgow music history.
If you can’t get along or you want a taster of what is in store for you at the exhibition, some examples of Harry’s work can be found on the Street Level Flickr page:
Boys will swoon at the Clare Grogan image, Mono shoppers will enjoy the image of Stephen Pastel and there’s also Jim Kerr. As an aside, what’s that blue plaque to commemorate the fact that Jim Kerr lived in the Merchant City all about? You can’t argue that Simple Minds had some great songs back in the day but things started to go pear shaped a good few decades ago. Ach well, any music recognition in the city is better than none…
Anyways, you still have plenty of time to get yourself along to the Trongate and see the exhibition as it runs until the 25th of February.