Eric Clapton, 1973
Eric Clapton, Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London, 13th January 1973. Because his friend Eric Clapton had retreated into junk-fuelled depression, Peter Townsend, of The Who, organised a two-session concert with an astounding line-up: Eric Clapton; Pete Townshend, rhythm guitar, vocals; Ron Wood rhythm and slide guitar, vocals; Ric Grech, bass; Steve Winwood keyboards, vocals; Jim Capaldi, drums, vocals; Jimmy Karstein, drums; Rebop Kwaku Baah, percussion Clapton had been my idol since his days in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, so I hiked to London and was in the box-office queue well before down on the day tickets went on sale — row eight, second session! Armed with my fairly primitive SLR, a roll of slide film and a roll of black and white, I must have shot off both rolls within the first couple of number and then settled down to enjoy the most astounding gig. To talk about there being ‘love in the room’ is totally inadequate — Clapton and friends were absolutely adored by all and they were enjoying the occasion enormously, beautifully loose after the warm-up of the first session. This exposure therapy worked, Clapton’s next album was ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’, one of his classics. I have chosen two frames from that most memorable night [available on CD as ‘Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert’]: • A black and white ensemble shot with Eric deep into ‘Layla’, their opening number, while Townsend does one of his typical movements while shredding the strings. • Clapton solo in colour — blasted by overwhelming spots, Eric is the axeman ‘God’ of his early nickname, radiating an aura of gold and heat. Posterised, solarised and iconic.
Giles Hugo is a photographer, writer and journalist who first wielded a 35mm camera with intent in late 1968 in his native South Africa.
Working in newspapers there and in Swaziland taught him a range of photographic skills —shooting, developing and printing a photo in under 45 minutes, or less, and tackling any subject from portraits to beauty pageants, soccer, motor sport, boxing, ghetto jazz and rock musicians, and street life. Most of that was black and white work, with an occasional roll of slide film for special projects and artistic exploration. He upgraded through 35mm SLRs to Leica rangefinders and various lenses. He still enjoys using older lenses, mostly Leica and Canon, to explore subjects and qualities of light.