MTV Italia Writes about Before Frank (in Italian) by

By Charles Moriarty

MTV Italia Writes about Before Frank (in Italian) by

Amy Winehouse at 19: photos of the book "Before Frank" Charles Moriarty

Amy Winehouse è morta cinque anni fa, ma il suo ricordo è indelebile e la sua musica vivrà per sempre.

A renderle un nuovo omaggio questa volta è stato il fotografo Charles Moriarty, che presto pubblicherà il libro fotografico Before Frank, che avrà all'interno varie immagini di Amy Winehouse scattate fra Londra e New York nel 2003 (quando lei aveva solo 19 anni),

A pubblicare le prime foto in anteprima è stato il magazine People: "Queste foto sono state scattate durante la promozione dell'album 'Frank', voglio che la gente la veda così: una giovane donna sorridente. Il modo migliore per ricordare Amy Winehouse", ha dichiarato il fotografo.


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i-D & Vice Magazine interview by Text Briony Wright

By Charles Moriarty

i-D & Vice Magazine interview by Text Briony Wright

A new book of previously-unseen photos of Amy Winehouse, taken in 2003 around the release of her first album Frank, is currently in production with funding via a Kickstarter campaign. Photographer Charles Moriarty shot the candid image of Amy in a bright pink top, leading a dog and partially obscured by darkness that would become the cover image for Frank. The soon to be released book, titled Before Frank, is comprised of the shots taken during a couple of intimate photo sessions during that period. 

Amy and Charles formed a friendship during the course of shooting and the portraits show a happy, healthy and relaxed Amy which are in contrast to the barrage of tabloid images that marked her last years.

We spoke to Charles about working with Amy and the responsibility of preserving a friend's memory.

Your shots are really beautiful and a reminder of happier times for Amy. Why did you wait thirteen years to publish them?
It just never felt right before. I saw Asif Kapadia's movie Amy last year and I came away with this deep sadness and I wanted to leave people with something happier. I think it's an amazing documentary but Before Frank is something different and casts her in a fresher and happier light. For me it feels like sharing a memory I've had for a long time. I think they needed to come out. We were kids when these photos were taken, Amy was just twenty, and we just had such a fun time. 

Why did you decide to self-release this book? I imagine there must have been a lot of interest from publishers.
I thought about it but what struck me the most was that I might lose control. I really felt that I couldn't cut any corners and I didn't want it to be challenged by profit margins. Doing it myself I can make sure we create a book that's exceptional.

Were you shooting prolifically at the time? Was this cut down from a lot of shots?
Not really. I think I got really lucky with Amy because she's so striking and it was just super relaxed and we go some great shots without taking that many. I prefer not to look at them as individual images now because when they are put into the context of a book they start to tell a story. They flow together so nicely and have a really sweet emotion to them that I love. 

Do you have a particular favourite memory from the shoot?
There's a picture of her in a black Patrick Swayze t-shirt with her Gibson guitar. We shot it in the lift at the Ritz Tower in New York and the Bell Boys kept calling down the lift because that's all she was wearing. We thought that was funny. It was such a great 24 hours. Originally we planned to shoot outside at night to capture the essence of the album cover but before we left the building a massive six hour thunder and lightning storm came through so our plans had to change. All the great indoor shots wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the storm. It was a lucky mess up. That's also a big part of why the images weren't used at the time, because they didn't fit in with what we'd already shot. In many ways that was lucky.

When will the book be available?
At present I'm still working on the design. We hope to have copies available at the beginning of August. You can't rush good design.

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Dazed & Confused Interview by Ashleigh Kane

By Charles Moriarty

Dazed & Confused Interview by Ashleigh Kane

Unseen photos of a young Amy Winehouse to be published

Photographer Charles Moriarty is releasing images that he shot in the lead up to the late singer’s debut album, FRANKIn the years leading up to her untimely passing at just 27 in 2011, Amy Winehouse’s image was dragged through the press on a daily basis. Her talent was reduced to tabloid fodder that tended to feature her love life, partying habits and penchant for a barefoot walk through the streets of London, over her musical accomplishments.

Last year, documentary AMY shone a light on a more personal side of the late singer, balancing the good and the bad in an honest and candid look at the pressures that were put on her ever since she released her debut album FRANK (2003), whose album cover was shot by photographer Charles Moriarty.

Moriarty is now releasing a personal collection of his own photographs of Winehouse in a book titled Before FRANK. Currently Crowdfunding for the its production costs, the London photographer spoke with us as his campaign ticks into its final days – and shares several rarely seen photos of Winehouse below.

When you shot the cover for FRANK that was the first time you had met Amy. What was your initial impression of her?

Charles Moriarty: She was great, uncomplicated, honest and self-assured while also being a little nervous, I think we both were.

On that day, did you have any idea of the impact her music would soon make?

Charles Moriarty: I knew vocally she was incredibly talented, later on in the day we met I saw her sing in a small studio near Old st, and she was incredible, unique. But I don't think I ever could have foretold the heights that she rose to. 

The Amy that the public came to know in the last few years of her life was through the tabloids – this was a lot earlier on, where she had more freedom and privacy. What kind of ‘Amy’ can we expect to see in the book?

Charles Moriarty: I think the Amy in these pictures is both the girl and the Icon, at times you see her fun side, her youth, but there are moments when, all of a sudden you see Amy Winehouse, and the girl is gone. I think these images in some ways are extremely personal, she is true to herself in them. It’s honest to the core.

Did you continue your friendship with her and shooting her after this period?

Charles Moriarty: We remained friends until about 2005, so a couple of years.


How did you curate the images for this book?

Charles Moriarty: Well I have to admit this was really hard for me, thankfully I met with the book designer Sybren Kuiper a number of months ago in Amsterdam to talk about the book. I immediately knew he understood the essence of what I was trying to do, and initially I had thought to only give him stuff I had selected, but I decided to hand over everything to him, I think it was the best decision I could have made. He has curated them in a way I never could have, I was too close to see. I think I'll save the details as a surprise for when people get the book.  

Do you have a favourite image that is more special than the rest?

Charles Moriarty: I get asked that a lot, and the truth is it continues to change, there are images that I initially loved 13 years ago, but after years of maturing both as a person and a photographer, there are now other images that I consider more important, which is possibly due to my own nostalgia.

It might feel obvious but in your opinion and own words, what is Amy’s legacy to the UK?

Charles Moriarty: Her music is her legacy, the astounding lyrics she wrote, her exceptional voice, I really do think people will be listening to her forever. She gave us herself in those songs. 

What do you hope people see when looking at these photos?

Charles Moriarty: I hope they see the person she was at heart, a bright-eyed, vivacious and intelligent girl, on the road to becoming a star. I hope they see my friend.

Find out more about the book below and help support Beyond FRANK 


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