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Popular Music & Culture
Publication Date
16 April 2013
In Stock
Birlinn Limited
b/w photographs throughout

What Presence!

The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos

Introduced by Ken McCluskey
by Harry Papadopoulos - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

Foreword by Peter Capaldi

‘In the midst of Scotland’s punk explosion, a Glasgow maths teacher hung up his mortar board and picked up a camera. His name was Harry Papadopoulos and his photos would come to define and inform Scottish popular culture in the1980s’ – The Herald

‘In a swift shutter’s click, he captured an era when the sound of Scotland echoed across Britain and the world’ – The Scotsman

'It's wild seeing this stuff … reminds me of being a kid who loved and lived for nothing except for music/bands. It seems like that was also Harry's life/passion 'cos I bet he never made much money from this stuff … he was doing it 'cos he believed in the music, the bands, the scene. I can tell that from the photos. I hope you enjoy the photos in this book as much as I have' –  BOBBY GILLESPIE 2013

‘It’s a real gem . . . We would highly recommend anyone with an interest in either photography, good music (especially of the post-punk variety) or both to purchase What Presence!’ – Racket Racket

Harry Papadopoulos began his photographic career outside the Apollo in Glasgow, flogging photographs to gig-goers. He soon moved to London, and from 1979 to 1984 worked as a staff photographer for Sounds, for which he provided countless front covers. During those five years he covered Blondie, David Bowie, Devo, Joy Division, Bryan Ferry, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, The Specials, Wham!, ABC, Edwyn Collins, The Associates and many, many more. Harry’s London flat also became home to fellow Scots such as Aztec Camera, Orange Juice and the Bluebells. Savour Peter Capaldi, years before he mutated into Malcolm Tucker, looking cute and wholesome as frontman of Glasgow band The Dreamboys (with US chat show host Craig Ferguson on drums) and relive the inky-fingered days of the 1980s music press with this fascinating look at the work of guerrilla lensman Harry Papadopoulos. 

Here is a little teaser of some of the images available in the book:


Harry Papadopoulos was born in Garelochhead in 1954. He studied electrical and electronic engineering at Paisley College of Technology and later became a teacher of maths and physics. A self-taught photographer who began his career taking photographs at gigs in the late 1970s and 1980s, following a long stint at music weekly Sounds he became editor of Marvel Comics publications such as Star Trek and The Flintstones. In August 2002 Harry suffered a brain aneurysm and returned home to Glasgow in 2006 where he now lives.

Ken McCluskey was the vocalist and harmonica player of Scottish band The Bluebells who enjoyed number one success with ‘Young At Heart’ when it was used in a Volkswagen television advertisement. He lectures at Stow College and co-curated the original What Presence! exhibition.