Julian Lennon on U2's The Edge and Art Basel: "Cakes and Sex? I'm Up For It"

Mick Rock Bowie and Ronson.jpg
courtesy of Morrison Hotel Gallery
Mick Rock, David Bowie and Mick Ronson - Train to Aberdeen, 1973
But access is certainly something Julian Lennon has.

"I've talked to the U2 boys to ask when I can release all of these," he said. "I'd very much like to put a book together but they've asked me to hold back. They're considering using the images for their artwork on the new album. It should be out mid to late next year."

Lennon has spent the last few years refining his photographic practice under the tutelage of photographer and Morrison Hotel partner Timothy White.

"I was doing a charity single for lupus because my dear friend Lucy passed away from it," Lennon said. "This is Lucy of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.' When I was 3 years old, I brought a painting I'd made home to dad of Lucy, in the sky with diamonds and honestly, that's where it came from."

White, who had long worked with Julian Lennon and had done the cover art for his third album, shot the photos for the single. During downtime, Lennon was sifting through his own photography.

"I'd be on the computer, editing photos on the side. Getting rid of the crap and keeping the good ones. Timothy said, 'You should do something with them. I'll do it with you.'"

Timothy White Ray Charles.jpg
courtesy of Morrison Hotel Gallery
Timothy White, Ray Charles - Culver City, CA - 1991
At the time, Lennon's images were just "fly-on-the-wall stuff," portraits and landscapes. "Faces, culture, friends," he told us. "No one you would recognize."

White and Lennon spent a year going through nearly every photograph Lennon had taken in his lifetime. They narrowed these down to about three dozen pieces, about half being landscapes and half being his U2 images.

"I was waiting for the reviews on tenterhooks, waiting to see if I was crushed or liked. To my amazement, it was the landscapes and not the music photography that got the eyes of the reviewers. And I was aghast. Are you kidding me, going to that stuff?"

There's a layer of complication with the music photography stemming from Lennon's unique understanding of his subjects' position.

"I'm aware of the camera when I'm being photographed," he said. "I know how the light from that angle is going to look on my forehead. Like, I'm getting older, there's no powder, the hair is thinning. It's not my cup of tea."

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