Tony Mott’s focus is on rock and roll

The work of well-known rock and roll photographer Tony Mott will be on display at Wollongong Art Gallery from Friday. Picture: Adam McLean
The work of well-known rock and roll photographer Tony Mott will be on display at Wollongong Art Gallery from Friday. Picture: Adam McLean

Tony Mott’s storied career as a rock and roll photographer started by accident.

Tony Mott says an understanding of light is something that sets photographers apart from those with a camera phone, as this pic of Paul Mac shows. Picture Tony Mott

Tony Mott says an understanding of light is something that sets photographers apart from those with a camera phone, as this pic of Paul Mac shows. Picture Tony Mott

He was at shows anyway,so why not bring along a camera?

“I’m a French chef by trade and so I used to work nights in the ’80s and that’s how I became a rock and roll photographer,” Mott says.

Mott's 2006 shot from an Iggy Pop and the Stooges show is one of his images that was chosen for the exhibition. Picture: Tony Mott

Mott's 2006 shot from an Iggy Pop and the Stooges show is one of his images that was chosen for the exhibition. Picture: Tony Mott

“I’d finish shifts and  at 9-10 o’clock in the evening and then go and watch bands. At some point I decided to photograph them – happy accident.”

At the height of his career, Mott says he was going to 300 gigs and doing 240 photo sessions with bands a year

Some of those photos will adorn the walls of the Wollongong Art Gallery in the What A Life! exhibition.

The name of the exhibition was inspired by a Divinyls album of the same name – a photo of lead singer Chrissie Amphlett was the first image he ever sold.

The exhibition also features two movies, including a behind-the-scenes look at a Kasey Chambers photo shoot.

Mott says Chambers is a much happier person that photos of her would lead you to think.

“When I’m taking photographs, for whatever reason I make her laugh a lot,” he says.

“The record companies don’t like that. She’s got to look glum and country. She’s got to look like she’s just broken up with her boyfriend, because that’s country.”

Tumbleweed’s Richie Lewis will open the What a Life! exhibition at the Wollongong Art Gallery at 6pm on Friday.

Tony Mott will hold two talks at the gallery, on September 6 and December 3.