Scarlet’s work features candid shots that capture a moment in time, most of which have become iconic images of the music industry; as seen on album covers, music publications and posters to adorn every teenager’s bedroom since the 1990’s.
You may assume she’s quite the rock star herself and to some extent you’re right, minus the obvious party lifestyle. Having distanced herself from her famous father’s name (that’s Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin to you and I), Scarlet has carved her own career through hard work, passion and a penchant for reading people.
We caught up with her on Skype to see what she’s been up to since the world pressed pause on creative pursuits. Hint: she dyed her hair pink during the first lockdown, she’s just like us!
When did you know you wanted to become a photographer?
I suppose when I did a Foundation course at Art College; it was all about trying your hand at different creative media like pottery and fine art painting, but when I did photography I really loved it, because I think my artistic style is very much reproducing what I could see. And because I’ve known a lot of photographers over the years, it just flowed easily. I did my degree and started assisting for photographers and on it rolled.
Was it a family influence to start photographing rock stars?
No, it wasn’t what I was doing originally. When I was at Uni studying, I didn’t really know where I wanted to go with it, but I know I just really enjoyed learning. Then I started assisting a photographer who worked in the music industry, it was all by chance, it wasn’t really something I was seeking out at the time.
When did you begin to photograph musicians?
When I was assisting, I would start taking pictures of what was in front of me. I went to a few live shows that I was assisting on and obviously there’s no so much assisting you can do in the pit, so I could take my own shots. Then from there I syndicated some of those images, which ended up on the back cover of a magazine and I just started building my own portfolio. I think it’s something that really threads through nearly 30 years later of my work – the ones you do off your own back are the images that carry the most weight. Yes, it’s great to be commissioned but quite often, the pictures of real note are things that I’ve done off my own back.
Who was your favourite person or band to shoot?
That’s such a hard question. It’s difficult because I think I go into every shoot with the same amount of healthy nerves – even if it’s just shooting a Pilates teacher down the road, the same process happens and quite often on a shoot you might encounter a rapport with someone where it really feels quite meaningful, in instances where you create an atmosphere when you capture something organic and real in a situation that feels quite forced. I come away feeling like that was a really good experience and I feel that gratification.
Fan-wise, there used to be a period where I used to go ’Ooh I really like that band’ and I would end up photographing them – I’ve been really lucky having photographed people like David Bowie, U2 and just have little snippets of their life. It’s been incredible to dip in and out with some of the very well-known musicians like the Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. More recently, when I photographed Peter Green as part of the Resonators project, a lot of those subjects came forward and said they wanted to be a part of the project – which felt amazing because they didn’t have to, so I felt very grateful at every stage of that journey. The fact that they gave me their time and they weren’t promoting anything apart from being a part of this collection felt like a real honour. And people like Peter Green who passed away last year, was a relative hermit – that’s what people would refer to him as – it felt incredible that he allowed me to take his picture.