Kate Bush: Previously unseen photographs reveal new side to comeback star

Gered Mankowitz and Guido Harari share images from their archives

To coincide with the comeback concerts, an exhibition of previously unseen photographs of Kate Bush is going on show at Snap Galleries in London.

Although some of the photographs may look familiar, including her dressed as a lion in the attic for the Lionheart album, they are all different versions to the photographs used.

These, along with reportage and promotional shots, including Bush sitting casually at a piano, and a contact sheet of her emulating the “Wuthering Heights” video, have been gathering dust for years in the archives of two renowned photographers – Gered Mankowitz and Guido Harari, who are both launching new Kate Bush books with the exhibition.

 

Mankowitz photographed Bush from 1978 to 1979 and was instrumental in helping shape her promotional image for the first single, “Wuthering Heights”.

Mankowitz suggested “leotards, scarves and leg-warmers” for their first shoot in January 1978, after he watched a video at EMI of her dancing wildly. “When Kate emerged from the dressing room in the pink leotard, I knew that we had the right look – her innocence, youth and beauty shone through,” says Mankowitz.

It's me, Cathy. Kate Bush performing 'Wuthering Heights' for photographer Gered Mankowitz in 1978 It's me, Cathy. Kate Bush performing 'Wuthering Heights' for photographer Gered Mankowitz in 1978

He also shot the US cover of her first album The Kick Inside of Bush in a box wearing red socks – EMI America didn’t like the UK version of her hanging from a kite.

“She was very energetic and full of ideas. One of the things was to try and focus her – sometimes she would just want to move on if something wasn’t working. She didn’t understand the process,” he says.

For the Lionheart album in 1978, Mankowitz found the lion’s head at fancy-dress shop in Hammersmith. He arranged for the rest of the suit to be made to measure and sourced several cans of theatrical cobwebs.

Other promotional shots include her wearing a sparkling top in what Mankowitz calls her “Lady Macbeth portrait”; in another she comes out of a Kodak glazing drum, and also wears a knitted leotard in shots that have never been used.

One of Gered Mankowitz's shots of Kate Bush for the US version of her debut album in 1978 One of Gered Mankowitz's shots of Kate Bush

Harari photographed Bush over 11 years, between 1982 to 1993, and his work has featured on record sleeves including, “Rubberband Girl” and “Moments of Pleasure”. He first did an impromptu shoot of her in her hotel in Riva del Garda in Italy for a magazine.

She was so impressed that she asked him to shoot the promotional shots for Hounds of Love in 1985, in which she wore a hat with a tassel, against a green background. “That was the beginning of a long collaboration – what I realised was that she wanted to be more real with a twist,” says Harari.

In 1989 he shot the promotional photos for The Sensual World album that have an underwater feel to them. “In those days there was no Photoshop, so I was shooting multiple shots in the same frame and she had to move in and out of the set constantly,” says Harari. “She couldn’t understand what I was doing and got restless and bored. Although these shots were not used, she loved the result.”

Kate Bush sitting at her piano

Other rare images in the show, including one of her sitting at a piano, were taken on the set of her first short film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, in 1993.

“She wanted me to do fly-on-the-wall reportage-style photos,” says Harari. “She felt at ease with me. Usually she wears a mask – whereas with me she wanted to branch out and reveal something more personal of herself.”

Kate Bush: Photographs by Gered Mankowitz and Guido Harari, Snap Galleries, London SW1, 26 August to 2 October

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