Richey Edwards and Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers photographed at Brompton Cemetery, London on 30 April 1993

Harry Borden recalls the 1993 shoot at Brompton Cemetery in London. “My day with the Manic Street Preachers started with reportage black and white pictures of singer James Dean Bradfield with his cousin Sean Moore (drums) playing in a rehearsal room. The no-nonsense, engine of the band.

Then later I went to Brompton Cemetery to photograph Richey and Nicky. Appearing louche, debauched and nihilistically glamorous, their contribution was a visual style that embodied the emotional alienation of the music.

I arrived at the location early and explored the temples looking for good spots. Entering one of the substantial mausolea, I sensed I was not alone. There were men standing in the shadows. My heart beating, I held my heavy camera bag to my chest and walked quietly out and was relieved to see the boys waiting for me at the Fulham Road entrance.

It was early evening and the unsettling encounter was forgotten, as I began to take their picture in the smoggy London light. I gave them no direction, they just sat among the gravestones. I remember thinking how easy it was to photograph Richey. He was so handsome.

Less than two years later he was to disappear at the age of just twenty-seven. On the eve of a promotional trip to America, he vanished from his London hotel room, his car discovered near the Severn Bridge. Sometimes images are rendered poignant as time passes.

Later I learnt the cemetery had a reputation for being a popular cruising ground for gay men so I needn’t have worried about being mugged for my cameras. 

Shot for Select Magazine with my Hasselblad on Kodak Vericolor colour negative film developed in E6 to produce a transparency.”

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