Capturing the Handsome Devil: Kevin Cummins’ iconic Smiths and Morrissey photography exhibition in Manchester

By James Callery

Iconic photographs capturing the Smiths and Morrissey in their heyday are on display at Manchester Photographic Gallery – documenting an integral part of Manchester’s musical heritage.

The exhibition focuses on Mancunian photographer Kevin Cummins, who worked closely with Morrissey and Marr during their glory days.

The photographs are predominantly black and white, shot in the style that earned him acclaim both as a freelance artist and as NME’s chief photographer between 1977 and 1997.

Andrew Hill from the Manchester Photographic Gallery said: “This exhibition will excite both Smiths fans, and those with a passion for this great city that we live in.

“We are genuinely excited to be hosting this show, which has attracted worldwide interest.”

THIS CHARMING MAN: Morrissey in one of Kevin Cummins’ iconic shots

The grim atmospheric landscape of 1980’s industrial Manchester lends to the photographs just as it did to the music emerging from the city at the time.

Many of the 80 images on display have never before been seen by the public.

As well as portraits of the band members in their prime there are a number of fan shots with tattooed lyrics on display.

This gives the exhibition something of a personal feel and highlights the level of adoration still felt for the Mancunian quartet today.

Cummins has photographed David Bowie, Mark E. Smith, Patti Smith and a host of other titans of the music industry.

Having documented the burgeoning punk scene of 1970s Manchester right through to the Creation days of Oasis, viewing Cummins’ work is a must for musos and photographers alike.

The exhibition runs up until April 8 at Manchester Photographic Gallery.

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