The Mark Allan music photography exhibition

Grace Jones in Concert in Birmingham in 1989 Photo by Mark Allan

A photographer to the stars who has spent over 30 years behind the lens is showcasing some of his most striking images at Barbican Music Library.

David Bowie, Tina Turner, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Gorillaz, Mariah Carey and Robbie Williams are among the leading performers and groups photographed by Mark Allan during an extraordinary career that took him from Wembley and the Royal Albert Hall to the Kremlin and a drought-ravaged Ethiopia.

Other highlights in the free exhibition – It’s NOT only Rock ’n’ Roll – running until 29 June, will include Freddie Mercury on stage at Live Aid and U2 photographed backstage at the Manchester Etihad Stadium for the Radio Times ‘Live 8’ cover.

Mark has also worked for a huge range of magazines, including Mixmag, Q, and Select, and music shows on the BBC, Channel 4 and MTV.

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David Bowie backstage at the Roskilda Festival 1996

For much of the last decade, he has documented performances for the BBC, many of them, at the Maida Vale studios for popular shows such as Zane Lowe, Annie Mac, and Live Lounge.

A regular photographer of classical music concerts at the Barbican, Mark will also present a selection of his images of some of the world’s most renowned conductors, including Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, and Sir Simon Rattle, who is music director of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Basically, expect a lot of name dropping by a distinguished professional who has photographed so many of the greats.

Graham Packham, chair of the City of London Corporation’s culture, heritage and libraries committee, said: “Since his early days working on London Student while studying at Goldsmiths College, Mark Allan has photographed many outstanding musical artists and conductors, either, backstage, or next to the stage or in the audience at major concerts.

“Whether you enjoy classical music, rock ’n’ roll, or appreciate the art involved in photography that, seemingly effortlessly, captures live performance, this new exhibition at the Barbican Music Library will definitely be worth a visit.”

Mark himself said: “There’s as much drama and excitement in a classical music performance at the Barbican as there is at a rock concert at Wembley, and I hope that this exhibition will convey some sense of that, and how it feels to be there.

“Since the 1980s, I’ve been hugely privileged to work with some legendary performers.

“Many of them featured in this show at Barbican Music Library, so I hope that visitors will enjoy the selection of images that I’ve chosen.”

Mark Allan’s It’s NOT only Rock ’n’ Roll exhibition will run at the Barbican Music Library until 29 June.

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Kiss performing live. All Images by Mark Allan