dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Friday, March 23, 2012

13 Iconic Pet Shop Boys Images By Eric Watson, Who Has Died

Eric Watson, photographer of Pet Shop Boys from the very beginning (and former pre-PSB Neil Tennant colleague at Smash Hits), died of a heart attack on Sunday at age 56.

There are so many iconic photographs Eric took of the Boys and videos he directed — images that were imprinted on my mind from a pre-teen age and on — and this roundup really doesn't do it justice. But they're some of my favorites. (For a complete look at Watson's work with the Boys up through 2005, pick up the coffee table read Catalogue.)

From the Guardian's obituary:
Eric Watson, who has died of a heart attack aged 56, was an important shaper of 1980s pop photography. His work for Smash Hits during a key era in British pop helped create the glossy image of the age. In particular, Watson's collaboration with Pet Shop Boys – Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe – defined the notion of image-making as a vital part of the way the post-punk generation took control of its own marketing.

Writing in the Guardian in 1993, Dave Rimmer noted: "Everything one now thinks of as the Pet Shop Boys – silent Chris walking two steps behind singing Neil, and so on – stems from discussions the group had with photographer/videomaker Eric Watson at the very beginning of their career."

"His aesthetic and our aesthetic pretty much coincided," Tennant says now. "We had endless discussions about the way we wanted to look. We didn't want to be smiley pop stars. We spent lots of EMI's money on endless photo sessions."

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