Meeting a legend - Graham Nash

17 September 2015

The RPS Journal

I Art Direct the RPS Journal at Think Publishing in Glasgow. It’s a dream job for a designer, I get to build pages using work by the world’s best photographers and often see new work from up and coming creatives before they’ve made it big.

Every now and again I get the opportunity to go to some good events too. This week I accompanied Journal Editors Clare and Andrew to a Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN) Concert at the Glasgow Concert Halls.

The show was superb - the three septuagenarians have still got what it takes to knock out their close harmonies and rollicking anthems. 

We were there to meet Graham Nash, who along with his song writing talents has photography chops too. A get-together with the barefooted Blackpool-born 73 year-old had been planned backstage after the gig. 

He looked pretty sprightly as he strode towards us, with a Panasonic Lumix thrown over his shoulder. Despite being 8 months into their tour, he was still buzzing from the audience adulation he’d received moment earlier. The fans were left wanting more.

I was chuffed to discover how much he enjoys reading the RPS Journal. He reckons the paper stock is top notch and the magazine looks great. I’m already looking forward to seeing his work published in the November issue of the Journal.

It turns out Nash collects Daguerreotype plates and has thousands in his collection of antique images. He likes the idea that the subject was actually sitting in front of the plate. You, the viewer, has a direct physical connection with a moment in time over 100 years ago.

In 1991 he launched Nash Editions through which he has published photos of the 1960s music scene that he inhabited, including fellow band members and intimate photos of his then partner Joni Mitchell.

In a quick-fire delivery Nash described his recent work, which involves photos of distressed billboards superimposed with contemporary imagery, perhaps influenced by his passion for the work of New York Street photographer Weegee.

He told us a tale about wanting to buy a print by the photojournalist and how he had to persuade the seller to let him have the distressed, scratched version that “still had Weegee’s blood on it!”

It’s authenticity that Nash craves both in his music and photography, and is still pushing his talents in both genres.

Matthew Ball