The Golden Faces exhibition includes a number of pieces from Martyn Goddard’s first session with The Jam, for the cover of their first album, In The City, which took place at his studio in London on 2 March 1977. Here Martyn shares his memories of the shoot:
“I had a phone call from Bill Smith, one of the art directors at Polydor Records, in late February 1977. He had to produce an LP cover for a new band, which he was excited about, but as usual it was an urgent assignment as the record company wanted to release the album in May. The band was named The Jam, a three-piece outfit comprising of Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler and Paul Weller, who, to quote Bill “is a bloke with definite ideas about the group’s image”. At this point I hadn’t met any members of the band or seen a photograph. Bill’s concept for the cover was to photograph the group in an urban location featuring a wall of white tiles with graffiti sprayed logo, as the album title was ‘In The City’. I thought of all the problems a location shoot would incur – because of the need to spray paint on a wall and the permissions and permits that would be required. The shoot would also take time, as we needed to produce front, back and inner sleeve images. We decided to shoot in my studio in Kensington Church Street using a couple of 8 x 4 foot flats, tiled in four inch white crystal tiles. I can’t remember whether it was budget or time constraints, but Bill and I tiled the flats in the morning of the session, and it was Bill who took the black spray paint and in one attempt produced the iconic logo on the white ceramic tiles as the glue was setting.”
“The band arrived at my cramped studio wearing mod suits and carrying Rickenbacker guitars. Bruce’s bass was a copy at this time and Rick brought a snare drum. I have since learned that the band had to scramble the clothes together in the mad rush to release the record and the old trainers worn that day were subsequently replaced in later shoots by two tone leather numbers. We didn’t hang around. After the hairdresser had trimmed their hair, we were all ready to shoot. Looking at my original photo journal I used two large studio flashlights with metal reflectors either side and close to the lens of my Hasselblad 500CM camera to produce a fashion-style shadowless effect. I shot Polaroid test prints, which only needed minor adjustments, before clipping a black and white film back on the camera and shooting two rolls of film to get the image that was to become the front cover.“
“There is always a tension on a shoot with a new band and so once Bill and myself felt we had the shot, shooting extra film stock would have compromised the rest of the shoot. For the back cover we shot individual images in colour and black and white of each band member with their own instrument. Both guitarists had no problem moving while playing an acoustic set while I snapped away. When it came to Rick and the one drum he had brought along, it was more difficult, so we settled for the drummer leaning on the wall shading his eyes from the bright lights. With the individual shots completed, we had sandwiches from the local dairy and then the band left. Bill and I then set about photographing the wall in various stages of distress, Bill smashing tiles and spraying new words. I photographed the vandalism of the wall of tiles, which were used as the back cover, record label and inner sleeve note sheet on the finished LP.”
Collectors have the chance to acquire, for the first time, an enlarged contact sheet of twelve images from the session, shown above, together with selected individual group shots and solo portraits from the session. The contact sheet in particular is a really beautiful piece, and is highly recommended.
To see the range go here