KEVIN CUMMINS: music photographer

Photography by: Ben Heath and Nathan Ianos

Words by Harry Potts


Kevin Cummins, born in Withington in 1953, is best known for photographing the Manchester music scene. A timeline that stretches  from the burgeoning punk scene of the late 1970s, the emergence of bands such as Joy Division, The Stone Roses and The Smiths in the 1980s and through the 1990s, documenting the rise of the Happy Mondays, New Order and Oasis.

Working as a photographer for NME, he produced some of the publications era defining front pages – most notably The Stone Roses ‘paint splatter’ shoot. Kevin was instrumental in establishing City Life, Manchester’s ‘what’s on’ guide and a founding contributor to The Face.

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Kevin Cummins

Now based in London, but with business and cultural commitments in Manchester, as well as being a life long Manchester City fan, Kevin is still regular visitor.

Music fan’s fascination with the Manchester music scene over the decades has ensured Kevin’s work is perpetually exhibited.

Cummins’ images define a musical era

We only had a limited time to work with Kevin. After enjoying a coffee and a brief chat with our students Ben and Nathan, there was only 20 minutes to complete the photography. Kevin chose to be photographed against the timeless backdrop of Manchester’s Victorian brick railway arches around Whitworth St.

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Kevin against Manchester’s bleak Victorian brickwork


Student reflection: Nathan Ianos

“Meeting and photographing Kevin Cummins was a surreal experience. I have researched and analysed his work many times in my two years of study at The Manchester College. Although we only had limited time, Kevin passed on valuable advice about copyrighting and marketing photographic work. The experience of meeting and working with someone you’ve never met before, has shown me the importance of taking time to get to know your subject.”


Kevin Cummins, his work is seen as great cultural importance
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)


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