Photography: Meeting Michael Putland ‘Off The Record’


On Tuesday 19th April a large group of eager and talented Photography students ranging from the Lower Fifth to Upper Sixth departed from Bede's and headed to the Lucy Bell Gallery in Hastings.

Here we met the superbly talented and renowned music photographer Michael Putland.


Still working today, Michael took his first pictures at the age of nine and left school at sixteen to work as an assistant to various photographers. In 1973 he was hired to become tour photographer for The Rolling Stones, which lead to a life-long relationship, resulting in some of their most poignant portraits.

The exhibition “Off The Record” also includes some of the contact sheets from his many shoots both behind the scenes and on stage.


Over course of the afternoon, Michael told stories to the students of his time travelling with The Stones on tour and showed off some of his most iconic prints and contact sheets. 

Michael had presented a mere snippet of the work in the wonderful space on Normans Road and you could see the students were in awe of his talent, knowledge and skill.


Lower Fifth GCSE Photographer Elsa Brown, from Bloomsbury House, said of the experience, “I felt the trip helped contextualize what we do in school to what occurs in the real photography industry. The trip gave me an opportunity to understand a real photographer’s perspective on his work, which has developed my analytical skills, especially to improve my own work.”

Upper Sixth A Level student Harry Wilson, from Knights House, added, “I found it an incredible opportunity to learn more about what it was like to be a photographer at that time and how it is so different to now. Technology it was more about picking the right moment to take the image and using what was available with light and the surrounding which I found fascinating.”


A photo of Mr Putland by Deis House's Jake Vine.

Michael also showed our budding photographers the cameras he has used over the years and let them use his Hassleblad to experiment and capture moments on the street outside.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Michael, his wife Sophie and The Lucy Bell Gallery who invited us to his beautiful event that has inspired so many of our photographers to leave digital and look at the wonderful world of film and printing in the darkroom.


It was a wonderful afternoon where the students could see a pure film exhibition and ask questions to the photographer who took these iconic shots.


The 'Off The Record' exhibition is at the Lucy Bell Gallery until 30th April 2016. Click here to learn more.


Learn more about the Bede’s Photography department >

Learn more about life in the Fifth Form at Bede’s >

Learn more about life in the Sixth Form at Bede’s >