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Paula Yates flying to Vienna with Ultravox: Midge Ure’s best photograph | Art and design

When I joined Ultravox I had somewhat happy-snap digicam, the type that everyone owned in these days. However I used to be fascinated by 35mm fashions, the way you seemed by means of the lens and the world was barely completely different. So in 1980, I purchased myself a Canon A-1.

Again then, Ultravox had a factor about not having photographers round, so there have been only a few informal backstage photographs. Once I toured with Skinny Lizzy within the late 70s and early 80s, they’d photographer Chalkie Davies with them, documenting every little thing. Ultravox discovered all {that a} bit intrusive, so we began taking pictures of the backstage stuff ourselves.

Due to our music and the graphics and imagery, the band have been thought of po-faced scientists. No person ever noticed how geeky or silly we acquired, or how bored we have been between the exhibits. There’s that well-known Charlie Watts quote about how his first 25 years within the Rolling Stones was “5 years taking part in, 20 years hanging round”. I photographed our hanging round. I used to be – and am – merely a contented novice, however you get higher the extra you do it and realise what works.

I took this shot of Paula Yates on the aircraft to Austria to shoot the video for the song Vienna. The finances was £17,000, which was fairly costly again then, however nothing just like the kind of silliness that got here later with the arrival of MTV. Due to our love of movie noir, we insisted on capturing the Vienna promo on 16mm movie. Digital video was simply coming in, but it surely seemed low cost and digital, whereas with movie we may replicate the grainy impact of previous movies and pictures. We cropped the display on the prime and backside to make it look cinematic. None of this had been achieved on pop movies earlier than.

It was a one-day shoot and we flew over within the morning. It was cheaper to lease a personal aircraft than to fly the band, plus Paula, plus Anton Corbijn – it was one of many few instances we had a photographer with us – and the movie crew. All of the bands knew Paula by means of Bob Geldof and her writing for File Mirror. All of us liked her dearly so had requested her alongside to write in regards to the video shoot. However the factor with having somebody like Paula travelling with you is that she was such a natural-born poser. She wouldn’t sit usually. She’d at all times sit with a hand draped over one shoulder or be doing one thing fabulous. All I actually had to do was level the digicam and press the button.

The tough a part of getting this shot with the aircraft window behind her was getting her lit, as a result of all the sunshine was coming from one aspect. She ought to have been in shadow, a silhouette. I wanted to expose the close to aspect of her face with simply sufficient mild coming by means of the home windows on the opposite aspect of what was a really small aircraft. All of the photographers I admired used pure mild, so I captured her simply as the sunshine didn’t fairly burn her out. In these days, you couldn’t have a look at a digital display on the again of your digicam to see the outcomes like you may immediately. You’d take just a few photographs, make changes, however there was a little bit of guesswork.

I’m unsure what ebook she’s studying. She had developed this coquettish method, however she was extremely clever. So she’s most likely studying Kafka or one thing. She wrote for File Mirror in a PG Wodehouse type: very observational with a superb, comedic flip of phrase. Warren Cann, our Canadian drummer, may go to sleep anyplace, and she wrote: “He’d clearly been bitten by a tsetse fly, as a result of he was consistently curled up in a nook.”

I believe she was fully oblivious to the truth that I used to be taking the picture. That is simply how she was. I took some extra photographs of her in a graveyard the place we have been capturing the video. She was wrapped up on this furry muff and seemed like a Russian princess. She seemed infinitely higher than any of us who have been truly within the video.

This shot has a haunting aspect, however perhaps that’s simply because she’s not with us. Additionally, the actual fact she’s in profile with the sunshine behind her makes her look a bit heavenly. To me it seems like one thing you’d see in Vogue, but it surely was only a shot taken in a second. I’m not even positive she ever noticed it.

In a Picture Frame by Midge Ure is revealed on 18 November.

Midge Ure
Midge Ure. Photograph: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

Midge Ure’s CV

Born Glasgow, 1953.
Skilled Glad novice.
Influences Oscar Marzaroli, David Bailey, George Hurrell.
Excessive level “A session with Hollywood photographer George Hurrell, the place I used to be the topic.”
Low level “Nearly each session with tabloid photographers wanting you to do one thing tacky.”
Prime tip “At all times have your digicam or telephone charged – to seize the fleeting second.”

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