Fifty Years of The Who at the Horse Hospital
With last year’s Bowie retrospective, combined with other The Who mania, the Horse Hospital’s offering can be said to have come in third. Colin Jones is not much of a photographer, but he was there for every conceivable moment of various tours of The Who, having struck up a friendship with them, meticulously documented in this exhibition.
His photography, though, is overweening and has something pompous about it – but with The Who he becomes quiet as a mouse, taking dutiful, awestruck snaps. Not being one of the more spectacular looking acts of the last 50 years, this show will have more documentary value rather than any other. Shots of laundry and shaving have banality, but no intimacy, no life. Jones is conclusive, monumental, bored. Obvious publicity shots have that peculiarly British qualm about glamour, reduced to irony. However, taste has always dictated that pop stars be gods, so the rather dowdy The Who are placed next to their rather unfortunately moronic looking fans. These are the best in the show – Jones has a contempt for his art and his subjects that sometimes comes through nicely.
Die-hards will lap it up – a book of pictures of The Who came out in December – so apparently there’s a good market for this (Proud has previously shown The Beginning of The Who as well) – the rest of the world might be politely bored. There are better photographers out there, and more interesting bands or documents of the great record-buying revolution to pore over.
Fifty Years of The Who is at the Horse Hospital until 23rd March 2014. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.