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Kevin Cummins: Morrissey. Jones Beach, Long Island, New York. July 1991 © Kevin Cummins

Work / Photography

Kevin Cummins photographed The Smiths at the height of their powers

One summer when I worked in a pub I had a colleague who never expressed one iota of joy or enthusiasm about anything. That is until the day a Smiths song came on the radio and she almost lost it, regaling me for the rest of the day about her all-consuming lust/love for Morissey and the various times she saw the band live in the 1980s.

For someone of my generation The Smiths have been coopted into the cultural mainstream, this is a band selected by David Cameron on Desert Island Discs and whose music was used for the much-garlanded John Lewis Christmas ad last year which was as saccharine as it was successful.

It seems timely then that Proud Camden this week opens Manchester: So Much to Answer For, a collection of photos by Kevin Cummins. With amazing access he captured this daring, influential group of musicians at the apogee of their popularity, and his aesthetic sense of melodrama is well in keeping with the band’s own outlook.

Manchester: So Much To Answer For, runs from 1st June to the 15th of July.

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Kevin Cummins: Morrissey, close up. Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester 1983 © Kevin Cummins

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Kevin Cummins: Morrissey. Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester. 1983 © Kevin Cummins

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Kevin Cummins: Smiths Fans. Salford. September 1988 © Kevin Cummins

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Kevin Cummins: The Smiths. Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester. September 1983 © Kevin Cummins

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Kevin Cummins: The Severed Alliance (composite from NME 2009) Manchester 1985 © Kevin Cummins