AWARDS CEREMONY WILL TAKE PLACE ON 21 SEPTEMBER AT ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS
[London, Wednesday 9 August] Abbey Road Studios, the world’s most celebrated recording studio has today announced that legendary US rock photographer Henry Diltz will be the recipient of the Icon Award at the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2023. Diltz follows last year’s honouree, the celebrated New York based photographer Eric Johnson, to become only the second winner of the Icon Award at the MPAs.
Speaking about winning the award, Henry says: “Life is an amazing thing to me …especially the visual aspect of it! I continue to take pictures all day long because I love everything I see. I guess I have a ‘Framing Jones’. It is wonderful to be honoured for the thing I love doing the most! I also think music is an amazing part of life and so I am happy to help put a face to the sound of so many of my dear friends.”
Henry Diltz’s archive of photos reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of rock’n’roll history with over 250 album covers and countless iconic images from the ‘60s and ‘70s, including the Morrison Hotel cover for The Doors. Over the past 60 years, Diltz has photographed musical legends including the Eagles, Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, America, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Jimi Hendrix, The Monkees and David Cassidy. Diltz was also the official photographer at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Woodstock Music festival in 1969, 1994 and 1999 and continues to photograph festivals to this day, most recently this year’s Glastonbury and Coachella. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1971 with a photo of Paul and Linda McCartney.
A popular musician in the 1960s, Diltz hadn’t initially set out to be a photographer. Fresh from a globetrotting childhood, he became a founding member of the Modern Folk Quartet, leading to many friendships with emerging recording artists in the California rock communities at the time. His photography career took off with the $100 sale of a single shot of the Buffalo Springfield in 1966, which lead to a hugely successful partnership with artwork design legend Gary Burden.
Diltz is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lucie Awards, The Grammy’s and the International Photography Hall of Fame, and is a founding partner in the Morrison Hotel Gallery, which specialises in fine-art rock photography.
Abbey Road Studios’ Managing Director Sally Davies says of Henry’s win: “An extraordinary photographer and storyteller, Henry’s work defined an era of music history with some of the most intimate, natural and genuine moments in rock iconography. We are thrilled to honour his lifetime contribution to the art of music photography with the Icon Award 2023.”
MPAs lead judge, Rankin says “Henry Diltz’s incredible photographs have been part of culture for over 50 years now. Yet they still feel as modern and emotive as when they were first taken. You may not know that he was the one that took them, but you’ll feel his passion for music and people within every image. When I look at his pictures, I feel like I am travelling back into an incredible moment in music history, and I have Henry’s eye to help me experience the magic and wonder of that time. Bravo Henry, you are a well-deserved winner of this year‘s Icon award”.
The MPAs 2023 will honour the images from 2022 that capture the magic of live music, the creative process and the diverse music scenes from across the world. These awards recognise photographers both established and undiscovered – with open-entry categories as well as awards chosen by a judging panel made up of artists, stylists, photographers and influential names in the global creative community.
There are six open categories (Undiscovered Photographer of The Year supported by adidas, Music Moment of The Year Award supported by Outernet, Live Music Award supported by Philips Ambilight TV, In The Studio Award, Underground Scenes Award supported by Abbey Road and Hip Hop 50 supported by Hennessey) for which entries are now closed, with the shortlist nominees to be announced in the coming weeks. In addition, there are four invited category awards (Portrait, Editorial, Icon and Artist at Work) with the nominees and winners chosen by the official judging panel.
Helming the judging panel is photographer, publisher and film director Rankin. Rankin is also head of the eponymous agency RANKIN Creative, which hosts an 80+ strong team that puts strategy, creative and production all under one roof. As a photographer, Rankin’s portfolio ranges from portraiture to documentary. He has shot The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner and The Queen to name only a few. His photography has been published everywhere from his own publications to Elle, Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Wonderland, and exhibited in galleries globally, including MoMA, New York, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Joining Rankin is Cat Burns, the platinum-selling singer-songwriter from South London. Her artistry is defined by elegant, frank, conversational lyrics and instantly familiar melodies. A BRIT School alumni, Cat emerged on everyone’s radars due to the success of her viral hit ‘go’. Originally released in 2020, ‘go’ became a phenomenon on global platform TikTok in early 2022, taking Cat from her bedroom in Streatham to #2 on the Official Singles Chart. ‘go’ gained Cat her first platinum certification and an ever-expanding, loyal fanbase. Having previously featured in Spotify’s Notable songwriters programme, 2022 saw Cat not only announced as a Spotify UK RADAR artist but a Global RADAR artist – making her the first UK artist to receive the global accolade.
Also joining the panel is one of London’s leading street culture photographers, Vicky Grout. Vicky is known for her documentation of the music and fashion scenes through portraiture. Her passion for telling authentic stories and connecting with her subjects has led to talent-brand collaborations with Nike, Google and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as shoots for Facebook, Hackney Church and Havana Club. Vicky has shot a diverse line-up of artists including Stormzy and Jorja Smith, as well as regularly shooting for publications such as Wonderland, GQ and the New York Times.
Mae Muller makes pop music that packs a real punch, with influences that range from The Dixie Chicks and Gwen Stefani to Lily Allen and Simon & Garfunkel. Mae started writing her own music at eight years old, landing her first publishing deal while working part time in a pub and within two years had released 3 EPs full of melodic hooks and lyrics that were feisty and unapologetic in their frankness. Since then, she has supported Little Mix on their 2019 stadium tour, scored a top 10 US hit with single Better Days which she performed on Jimmy Fallon and gone on to represent the UK in the 2023 Eurovision song contest. Mae’s debut album is set for release this September via EMI explores love and loss, dating and relationships with fearless honesty, confronting her own experiences in granular detail, while also capturing the broader frustrations of young women today.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor initially gained recognition as the lead singer of indie rock band Theaudience, Sophie embarked on her solo career in 2001 with her double-platinum debut Read My Lips, which included the singles Murder on the Dancefloor and Take Me Home, propelling her to international stardom and selling over 2 million copies. Since then, she has become a successful broadcaster, presenter and actress in addition to hosting her #1 charting podcast, Spinning Plates. Sophie released her seventh-studio album HANA (mastered at Abbey Road Studios) this week and embarks on The Live Kitchen Disco Tour later this month, cementing her status as a multi-disciplined entertainer and all-round pop icon.
Creative director and fashion consultant Karen Binns lends her perspective to the panel. A genuine club kid, Binns was immersed in the 1980s underground fashion, pop art and club scenes in New York, running warehouse parties and counting iconic figures like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol among her friends and mentors. This experience taught Karen about the importance of authenticity and originality in the adaption of her art and interpretation of ideas. This is reflected in her work over the last 30 years, where she has infused popular culture with precision and validity. Karen has been responsible for styling / creative direction for iconic musicians including Tori Amos (for over 25 years), Estelle on American Boy, So Solid Crew, Mark Morrison, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, and is currently stylist for Afrobeat sensation Wizkid.
Photographer Eric Johnson’s archive goes back more than 30 years having had work published in Rolling Stone, 032c, Vogue, Dazed & Confused, The Face, W, The New York Times, V & Interview, to name a few. While he has photographed a dizzying array of luminaries from Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Cindy Sherman and Gus Van Sant, Johnson is best known for his work documenting the US music culture of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. His photos of Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and the late Aaliyah defined an era of US music photography, while more recent work with the likes of Doja Cat, Glorilla, Yung Miami, Pusha T and Shygirl places him at the heart of contemporary pop music culture in 2023. Last year Eric was awarded the inaugural MPA Icon Award and announced as ‘an unsung hero’ by V Magazine when featured in their August 2022 ‘HEROES’ issue.
Matthew Josephs is one of the most interesting and exciting fashion stylists to emerge from the UK in recent years. Characterised by a fluid and open approach to gender and pop culture, Matthew’s voice stands out in the fashion industry as authentic and uniquely his own. Matthew is known for his work with musicians such as FKA Twigs, Shygirl and Joy Crookes and brands including Charles Jeffrey, Yuhan Wang, Viktor and Rolf, Isamaya Beauty and Byredo. He has also collaborated with top photographers such as Steven Klein, Harley Weir, Tim Walker, Charlotte Wales, Alasdair McLellan and Campbell Addy.
Nakyung Han is the Deputy Photo Editor at the esteemed US news title The New York Times. Nakyung started at the NY Times in 2005 where she had picture editing tours of duty on the Business, Culture, Metro and Science desks. Previously, she was a photo editor for a variety of magazines, including Fortune, New York Magazine and Budget Travel, though her roots can be traced to the legendary newspaper The Village Voice.
Simon Wheatley joins the panel as a guest judge for the Underground Scenes category, having emerged as an authoritative chronicler of London’s youth culture with the publication of his book, ‘DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime’ in 2010. Analysing the social dimensions that gave birth to the UK’s most important musical genre since punk, the mixture of music portraiture, reportage and architectural photography was immediately hailed as a classic. In 2018 Simon was invited to be the in-house photographer at London’s Abbey Road Studios where he continues to lend his documentary expertise and cultural relevance.
Helming the shortlisting panel is Sacha Lecca. Sacha is the Deputy Photo Editor at Rolling Stone (US) and a photographer, working with the magazine since 2007, preceded by stints at CMP Media, the Guggenheim Museum, and Newsweek magazine. His photographs have appeared in Rolling Stone, Huck Magazine, American Photography, Creem Magazine, The Photographic Journal, Time Magazine and more.
Also on the shortlisting panel is DeShaun Craddock, a photographer from Brooklyn, New York. DeShaun would take his camera to small local venues in New York City as early as 2011, but it wasn’t until a lucky break winning an opportunity to meet and photograph Alicia Keys in 2013 that the fascination with music photography began. DeShaun began photographing concerts regularly in 2014 with a start as a house photographer for Live Nation. With a portfolio that includes street, abstract and music photography, DeShaun has been featured by Popular Photography and Nikon. He has worked on assignment for Stereogum, Paste, Okayplayer, Hunger, and Rolling Stone. In 2022, he was shortlisted for the Zeitgeist award in the inaugural Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards.
Ukrainian born photographer Yana Yatsuk is also on the shortlisting panel. Yana, who is based between Los Angeles and New York, moved to New York from Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 16 and slowly began pursuing self-taught photography. Growing up as an immigrant in the South shaped Yatsuk’s work by naturally embodying grit, diversity and humanity in its rawest form. As an editorial photographer, Yatsuk has worked for publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, V Magazine, Behind The Blinds, I-D, Vogue and more. Notable subjects include Billie Eilish, Laura Dern, Cate Blanchett, Natasha Lyonne, Regina King, Jane Fonda, Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Olivia Rodrigo, Ana De Armas, Anne Hathaway, Alicia Keys and Lizzo. She is commonly recognised for her work with Billie Eilish (Rolling Stone Cover, Eilish Fragrances campaign etc), alongside her covers with TIME’s Women Of The Year of Cate Blanchett and Rolling Stone (Alanis Morissette & Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, and Ringo Starr & Dave Grohl).