Focusing on the birth of British rock

Two of the iconic images from photographer Harry Hammond, whose work is being showcased in Barnsley.
Two of the iconic images from photographer Harry Hammond, whose work is being showcased in Barnsley.

HE was the first ever photographer to capture a musical revolution.

Photographs by the legendary photographer Harry Hammond, celebrating the birth of British rock, are part of a new exhibition now on show at Cannon Hall Museum, Barnsley.

Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock Photography, which runs until Sunday June 19, showcases Hammond’s iconic images of the 50s and 60s.

For nearly two decades, Hammond was Britain’s leading showbiz snapper. Starting in the late 1940s, he captured the definitive images of virtually every leading British musician, as well as many of the visiting American artists.

Hammond, who died aged 88, in 2009, was the first great photographer of British rock’n’roll, chronicling the first decade of that music, up to and including the emergence of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

From Tommy Steele to the Beatles, Shirley Bassey to Dusty Springfield, Hammond snapped them all!

First circulated through the New Musical Express, his work set the standard for pop photography for following generations.

The exhibition comprises over 100 of Hammond’s photographs, taking visitors back to the birth of British rock.

It includes a great soundtrack and interactives which explore the music, musicians and fashions of the time.

It has been drawn from the V&A Theatre and Performance collections, and Cannon Hall is the only Yorkshire venue where the collection can be seen.

The exhibition is complemented by graphic panels on the history of popular music and theatre in Barnsley, researched by history students at the University of Huddersfield.

The panels have been drawn from this research commissioned as part of the content development for the new Experience Barnsley museum which is due to open in July 2012.

The display ties in with the musical theme which is the basis for this season’s cultural events across the borough.