Shergill: Power of photography


PICTURE PERFECT: (Above) Ram
Shergill; and (below) one of his Amy
Winehouse photographs
PICTURE PERFECT: (Above) Ram Shergill; and (below) one of his Amy Winehouse photographs

by Amit Roy RAM SHERGILL has gone from strength to strength since winning the prize for photogra­phy in Eastern Eye’s inaugural Arts Culture Thea­tre Awards in 2016. The National Portrait Gallery has just acquired four of his portraits of the late singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011, aged only 27. The gallery, which is planning an exhibition on Winehouse, wants to add Shergill’s photographs to its permanent collection. That is a reflection of his immense talents because it acquires only “the work of significant portrait photographers”. Last Saturday (14), when I dropped in to see his exhibition Exoskeleton, curated by Daen Pal­ma Huse, at [email protected], Oxo Tower Wharf, in London, one of Shergill’s students, Esme Moore from Falmouth University, was there to see him. “She’s one of my stars,” said Shergill, who in his time was mentored by two iconic figures – the magazine editor Isabella Blow and designer Alexander McQueen. It is encouraging to note that Shergill, in turn, is passing on his passion for photography to a new generation of students. Exoskeleton is sup­ported by Art University Bournemouth, where he is a lecturer. He is also a visiting lecturer not only at Falmouth, but at other educational insti­tutions, including Ravensbourne and Coventry. Shergill, who has done cover shoots for many renowned fashion magazines, told me about his Winehouse photographs. He explained he had a chance meeting with Clare Freestone, who is curator of Photographs (Acquisitions and Collections) at the gallery. “I mentioned that I had a body of work which included various iconic stars such as Eddie Red­mayne, Dame Judi Dench and Amy Winehouse. “They were particularly interested in the im­ages of Amy Winehouse as they were unseen images. The session took place in my then studio in east London – it was a cover…

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