Joan Armatrading – Unassuming & Shy Genius

_Joan-Armatrading.-Rock-of-Ages-BW.Arrowsmith.©In 1976 my art director friend Fabio Nicoli (who sadly is no longer with us) called me and told me about an amazing new singer he was working with. Fabio was working for George Harrison’s Dark Horse record label, which was part of the A&M records. Fabio asked me to come over to their offices on Fulham Road (London) to collect him and he said, “Can you photograph this sensational singer I’m working with called Joan Armatrading”. Fabio was always so full of crazy ideas and really lived his life to the full, so I could never tell if he was joking or not. He often called me and told me fantastical tales. I said; “Fabio, that’s not really her real name” (I seriously doubted it).  “It is” he said laughing’ “I know it’s very unusual but it’s her real name. She is fabulous, you’ll see.”


I arrived at Fabio’s office in London to collect him and we drove out of London into the English countryside, laughing and joking all the way. I met Joan in a modern and minimalist apartment. It had plain white walls and a solitary beanbag on the floor. Joan was very shy and clearly did not want her picture taken. As I may have said in the past blogs, it’s very difficult when people don’t enjoy having their picture taken. Exceptional musicians like Joan and Jeff Beck really are not that interested in their image because there talent speaks for it self. Eventually things settled down and I said “Its fine Joan, I hate having my photograph taken, just relax on the bean bag with your guitar” And that was the moment I captured in these images. Joan is such an enduring talent. Here new album is called Never Too Far Away.  Great to see Joan is still doing such great work.

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