Kevin Cummins (photographer)

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Kevin Cummins
Born Manchester, England
Nationality British
Known for Photography

Kevin Cummins (born Manchester, England) is a British photographer known for photographs of rock bands and musicians including Mick Jagger, Ian Curtis, Morrissey, Courtney Love, Patti Smith, and David Bowie.


Cummins studied photography in Salford.[1] He started photographing rock bands in the mid-1970s in Manchester.[2] Cummins had a 25-year association with the NME,[3] including 10 years as their chief photographer.[4] He has photographed numerous bands and musicians including Joy Division, Manic Street Preachers,[5] The Clash,[6] Sex Pistols, R.E.M., U2, Patti Smith, Marc Bolan, The Smiths, Roisin Murphy, Oasis, Foo Fighters, Michael Hutchence, The Stone Roses[7] and Buzzcocks. His images have been seen as a contributing factor in the rise of the Madchester and Cool Britannia scenes.[8]

Cummins was instrumental in establishing City Life,[9] Manchester's what's on guide and was a founding contributor to The Face, the influential style magazine where he won an award for Magazine Cover of the Year.[10]

Cummins's photographs have been used extensively in cinema and TV documentaries including Grant Gee's Joy Division and John Dower's Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop.[11]

In November 2009, Kevin was awarded an Outstanding Contribution to Music Photography award by the music industry website: Record of the Day.[12]

He worked extensively for the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester when it opened in the late 1970s through to mid-1980s. He shoots regularly for the National Theatre in London, most recently Harper Regan and Mrs Affleck.[13]

A lifelong Manchester City supporter,[14] Cummins documented City's final season at Maine Road in the book We're Not Really Here

In 2015 Cummins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Arts) by Manchester Metropolitan University


  • 1981 Stage StruckRoyal Exchange, Manchester
  • 1983 Rock Stars – The Orchard, Dartford, Kent
  • 1983 Access all Areas – Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • 1985 Silent FacesOldham City Art Gallery
  • 1986 Minor Characters – The Scott Gallery, Lancaster
  • 1986 Cummins 10 – The Cornerhouse, Manchester (Part of the Festival of the Tenth Summer[15])
  • 1986–96 The Way We WereWigan Heritage Centre
  • 1987 Salfordians – Viewpoint Gallery, Salford
  • 1994 Salfordians – Salford City Art Gallery
  • 2002 The Smiths and Beyond – Proud Central, London[16]
  • 2003 We're Not Really HereRichard Goodall Gallery, Manchester[17]
  • 2006 Arca: Joy DivisionPaul Stolper Gallery, London[18]
  • 2007 Score – Proud Gallery at Austin Reed, London
  • 2009 "The Crucial 30: Post Punk Liverpool" by Kevin Cummins at The Hard Day's Night Hotel Gallery, Liverpool[19]
  • 2009 MANCHESTER: Looking for the Light Through the Pouring Rain. Photographs by Kevin CumminsRichard Goodall Gallery, Manchester[20]
  • 2010 MANCHESTER: SO MUCH TO ANSWER FOR … KEVIN CUMMINS at Spazio Gerra, Reggio Emilia, Italy[21]
  • 2011 Exemplar: Joy Division at Proud Gallery, London [22][23][24]



  • The Smiths and Beyond (2002)
  • We're Not Really Here: Manchester City’s Final Season at Maine Road (2003)
  • Juvenes (2007)
  • Manchester: Looking For the Light Through the Pouring Rain (2009) Faber & Faber[27]
  • Joy Division (Published November 2010 by Rizzoli)[28]
  • ' New Order' (Pub March 2015 by Rizzoli)
  • ' Assassinated Beauty: the photos of Manic St Preachers' (published December 2014 Faber & Faber)


  1. ^ Independent Newspaper article about Kevin Cummins 12 March 2002
  2. ^ Cummins, Kevin. "Closer to the birth of a music legend". The Observer. 12 August 2007. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  3. ^ NME news item about Kevin's 25 year stint there
  4. ^ Tony Wilson talking about Kevin Cummins and his relationship with City Life and his 10 year stint as chief photographer on the NME
  5. ^ Cummins, Kevin. "Richey Edwards". The Observer. 14 December 2008. Retrieved on 3 February 2009
  6. ^ Savage, Jon. "Spit and polish". The Guardian. 24 September 1999. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  7. ^ Kevin Cummins Stone Roses cover for NME
  8. ^ Biography of Kevin Cummins which appears on Red Eye's site
  9. ^ Short biography on Vauxhall's Style Council website (takes quite a long time to load up)
  10. ^ "Kevin Cummins". Rockarchive. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  11. ^ "Kevin Cummins (III)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  12. ^ Record of the Day full list of 2009 awards
  13. ^ "NT : What's On : Productions : Mrs Affleck". National Theatre. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  14. ^ Kevin Cummins Man City fan
  15. ^ Flyer relating to Cummins 10 at the Festival of the Tenth Summer
  16. ^ review of The Smiths and Beyond in The Observer
  17. ^ BBC report about We're Not Really Here exhibition
  18. ^ Paul Stolper Gallery
  19. ^ [1] New Statesman article by Kevin Sampson
  20. ^ Exhibition review in City Life, Manchester
  21. ^ Fotografia Europea 2010, Reggio Emilia
  22. ^ Proud Gallery website
  23. ^ Review of Proud Gallery exhibition
  24. ^ Kevin Cummins' best shot in The Guardian October 2011
  25. ^ "Kevin Cummins (1953–), Photographer". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  26. ^ "Peter Blake Love Portfolio". Paul Stolper. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
  27. ^ Faber&Faber website
  28. ^ Rizzoli website

External links[edit]