Andrew Yeadon Archive: Rolling Stones
I have just found a couple of prints in an old portfolio book…. But what prints…
Back in 1982 - When I was still working for the Telegraph & Argus Newspaper in Bradford, England - I got one of my best assignments ever - I remember going to photograph the Rolling Stones at Roundhay Park, Leeds, knowing that, after 20 years on the road, they were about to retire from touring for good. Or so they said. I remember thinking I was witnessing history; That I would be able to tell my grandchildren I was there.
The tour was headlined "Final Farewell Tour". Fairly unambiguous; and, of course, blatantly untrue.
It was also the first time I can recall where press photographers were given only limited time at 'front of stage' - This practice is now common but here was the first time I'd endured 'the routine'. Basically - You get three songs. During the first and last you get escorted to and from the stage - Leaving only the 2nd song to get all your images - Sucks! Never-the-less, 5 minutes within touching distance of Mick and crew…. Just wish I could remember the song.
The pictures here are copies from prints I did at the time (I'm still looking for the negatives) and yes, the grain is excessive. I used 35mm, 400ASA, Kodak Tri-X pan film (not known for its fine grain) and, to make it worse, it was developed in D76 chemicals mixed at a ratio strength known in the newspaper lab as "Jungle Juice". Shame on me; I should have given this event more respect. Whilst it is true the grain gives a certain 'real' quality - I wish, for history's sake, I'd had my modern Canon and and 300mm f2.8 lens, or at least have used a finer-grain film like Ilford FP4.
Can't actually remember what cameras I had back then - They would have been Nikon for sure but could have been F1's, F2's or even FM's. My main lens though I do remember - It was a 280mm 'Novoflex' - A novel, 'rapid-focus' lens which was manually focussed by squeezing the hand grip rather than twisting a ring (see the Novoflex rig below). It had good quality glass but the 'rapid focus' system was counter-intuitive (you squeezed-in when the subject went further away!) and the whole kit was just slow when compared to what we have today… and Tr-X film, well that was slow also. A mere 400ASA but with grain the size of tennis balls.
The Novoflex lens (this is a 400mm) on a Nikon F2
Now I’ve found these prints I shall spend my next days off going through my filing cabinet for the negatives. There are others too…. from Blondie to Marie Osmond to Janet Jackson. And good stories to go with them. Keep watching. In the meantime here is a final shot of Mick and Ronnie.