Our Favourite Shop – the limited edition photograph

“I had a total belief in the Style Council. I was obsessed in the early years. I lived and breathed it all. I meant every word, and felt every action. Our Favourite Shop was its culmination.” Paul Weller

The Style Council’s second album, Our Favourite Shop, was released on 8 June 1985. 

The black and white cover photograph, a panoramic image wrapping around two sides of the gatefold sleeve, was taken by Olly Ball, and shows Paul Weller and Mick Talbot in a fantasy shop crammed full of their favourite things: albums, books, posters, clothes and more. 

It’s a classic cover – drawing the viewer in, forcing you to look closer and closer to identify the objects and, if you didn’t know the albums or books, track them down and have a listen or a read. As an outside observer, you can’t help thinking how much they would have enjoyed putting it all together. 

As part of the planning process for our upcoming Paul Weller retrospective, Didn’t We Have A Nice Time! which starts on 25 May 2019, we tracked down Olly to see if he still had any material from the shoot. Initial signs weren’t positive, but after a good hunt, he discovered one image in his archives—and as luck would have it, it is a corker.

It is a colour session photograph, and if you are only familiar with the black and white cover shot, seeing the shoot in colour is the visual equivalent of a smack round the chops. The detail is incredible. You actually get to see more than you see on the album sleeve—for example the records on the wall on the top right section of the image are much more visible. Got to love that Curtis Mayfield album. In fact I’m playing it as I write this. Over on the left, you get to see more of the books in the bookstand than you can see on the actual album sleeve. 

Olly Ball’s recollections of the session are fascinating: 

“We shot the cover of Our Favourite Shop on a Sunday afternoon in London in April or May 1985, at Bow Street Studios in Covent Garden. I was based there for ten years.”

“I wasn’t a rock photographer as such. I mostly shot magazine editorial in those days. I was offered the job because Simon Halfon, the designer, had seen some photos I’d shot for the Observer Magazine Living Extra. These were pictures of rooms based on a TV programme; so we’d have Jewel In The Crown on the TV and all the props and food would be Indian. The other themes were Dallas, Arena and The Tube.”

“Most of the stuff in the shop belonged to Paul and Mick, but the snooker cue and George Best coat hanger are mine. Fran Crawley was the stylist and she supplied the counter, book-rack etc. The set was built by my assistant, and great friend, Ross Kerridge with Peter Chatterton. Paul and Mick dressed most of the set, but we were all involved, and I shot it on a Mamiya RB6x7 on a 90mm lens.”

“I’m happy to say it went straight to number 1 in the album charts, but it remains the only album cover I ever shot.”

We are delighted to offer our clients an early opportunity to purchase this very collectible limited edition album cover session photograph, signed and numbered by Olly Ball. It is available in a choice of physical size options. Click on the link below to see price and size options.

Buy one