<center>Steve Gullick</center>

Steve Gullick

When I was fourteen I became obsessed with photography and instantly combined it with an equal obsession for music. I worked hard and got good at it, times were better back then; there were three weekly UK music magazines and people used to buy records. I’m incredibly lucky to have been born when I was. What interested me was the photographer’s ability to make the ordinary look extraordinary; to me, there seemed little point in merely recording what you saw with your eyes. 

The photographers that initially drew me in were Don McCullin (Sir Donald McCullin CBE, British photojournalist b. 1935) and Bill Brandt (British photojournalist b. 1904, died 1983), extreme black and white craftsmen, they were definitely the catalyst for my obsessive darkroom activity. Colour was of less interest until I started processing my own film and making my own colour prints in the late 1990’s, then I was able to experiment and find where I wanted to be on a colour level.

I feel the digitization of photography nowadays has somewhat devalued the art, I do though remain conflicted, I now use digital photography for much of my commercial work, I resisted for a long time but remaining competitive whilst shooting on film proved impossible. I love my digital camera, I can shoot in situations that would have been impossible on film & I like the security of being able to be 100% sure about my exposures, but for me, the true magic of photography is seeing the negative, taking it into the darkroom & walking out with a print. Everyone’s a photographer now, cool, but it can make it hard to make a living out of it.

Growing up, I was into a lot of good stuff that has stuck with me such as the Pixies, Jane’s Addiction, Waterboys, and Cindytalk but something about the the sound of Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Nirvana, and Soundgarden really struck a chord when that whole scene happened, they were all so exciting and uncompromising, so ‘punk’ I suppose, I’d never really experienced a scene that seemed to generate from the same geographical area first hand. They all seemed to have a similar attitude, they must have all gone to the same record shops and clubs. But today, I don’t really see a division between mainstream and the underground anymore, music in general seems to be so disposable now, when I was a kid it was everything.

As a young adult you had your records and they were special, they were special because you couldn’t afford many, you only experienced what you could hear on the radio, what your mates played, what you heard down the disco or in the record shop. Now the specialness seems to have gone, instant access to everything has killed the joy of discovery and has totally devalued the art in my opinion. Can music still change the world? The romantic part of me would like to think so, but the cynic say’s no.

Punk's an uncompromising attitude. It's the honesty, the integrity, and doing it on your own terms. On a musical level, I’d say it swerves between The Stooges and Nirvana. The most ‘punk’ person I know is probably Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy) but you wouldn’t call him a punk act. Much like The Beatles, I suppose, because they knew when to stop thanks to John Lennon.

Published: In Print Issue Nº 042016
Interview by Vice Lesley, Thinkbabymusic Collective 
Photography © Biork 1995, Steve Gullick