Behind The Gallery presents 'Captures' by Scarlet Page

It’s approaching 30 years since internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer Scarlet Page’s live shot of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell – captured at the 1994 Big Day Out – was first published on the back cover of Raw magazine in the UK. Having just completed a photography degree at the University of Westminster at the time, Scarlet was assisting a photographer during this Australian touring festival but was also able to capture some of her own images.

Just one of the many captivating photographs that will feature in her upcoming ‘Captures’ exhibition – a collection of live, behind-the-scenes, album and portrait shots – this Cornell capture “really helped open some doors” for Scarlet back in the UK, effectively launching her career working for some of the most prestigious music publications in the UK, including MOJO, Q, Uncut, Rolling Stone, Classic Rock and Kerrang!. “It was all thanks to the Big Day Out, really,” she reflects.

While curating ‘Captures’ – her debut photography exhibition in Australia, to be held in Sydney’s Behind The Gallery this May – Scarlet sifted through her archives and discovered some previously unseen photographs and hidden gems with an Australian focus.

As well as photographing many Australian subjects over the years – including The Vines, Nick Cave and Brody Dalle (The Distillers) – Scarlet also captured some very early Silverchair gigs “in scuzzy little venues” all over England, utilising her distinctive documentary style of reportage.

She recently unearthed some long-forgotten contact sheets containing images of Silverchair and was immediately taken by their “vibey, black-and-white, fly-on-the-wall feel”. A selection of these photographs will be on display for the first time during her exhibition at Behind The Gallery.

“Especially as time passes, the photos become more nostalgic and more precious somehow,” she observes, “and they evoke such great memories.”  

Scarlet is also particularly fond of some “very striking” photos she took of The Vines, which will also be included in her ‘Captures’ exhibit. “I shot them at a time where I would say Asperger’s wasn’t understood at all and we certainly have a greater understanding of it now, but at the time Craig [Nicholls], the singer, just seemed like an oddball nutter,” she recalls of this shoot. “Having now worked with, and photographed, people on the spectrum more it’s quite nice to reflect and think, ‘Wow, I see this in a completely different light now to what I did at the time,’ because he’s grimacing a lot.”

While photographing portraits, Scarlet prides herself on “going a little bit deeper behind the mask and capturing the essence” of her subjects. “Reflecting back on my career to date, I can see that thread continuing all the way through,” she says, “which is really nice because you don’t always know what your style is until you have time to look back.”

Over the last three decades, Scarlet has captured some of the most iconic music portraits, photographs and album covers. She travelled around America with the 1994 Lollapolooza tour – photographing the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins and Beastie Boys – and has also toured the globe with legendary acts such as The Darkness, Placebo, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rolling Stones and Stereophonics.

While creating her ‘Resonators’ exhibition, Scarlet travelled around the world taking portraits of this generation’s game-changing guitarists. “I had to reach out to everybody and self-finance travelling to America to photograph Slash in the morning and then Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols in the evening,” she explains. “It was just the most mad week, but I pulled it off. That was pretty amazing; a real accomplishment.” Then in 2019, Scarlet worked with celebrated local musicians in Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of her ‘Resonators +’ project.

Exhibitions of Scarlet’s work have also been shown at The Royal Albert Hall and Camden’s Proud Gallery.

During lockdown, Scarlet started posting weekly ‘Words Behind The Shot’ videos, giving her followers exclusive insights into her process, which quickly attracted a cult following. “So many people still talk to me about those videos now,” she enthuses. “I’d take a shot of mine that was a well-known image and talk about what happened behind the scenes and in the lead-up to the day.”

Scarlet continues to be commissioned by all the major record labels to shoot artwork, press and marketing campaigns for international bands. A Nikon user for 30 years, she is now a proud ambassador for the brand.

As well as her entire ‘Resonators’ collection, other highlights within Scarlet’s forthcoming, Australian exclusive ‘Captures’ exhibition include evocative photographs of Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Oasis, Courtney Love, Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, The Verve and The Prodigy plus more.  

Don’t miss this opportunity to see ‘Captures’, a collection of works by one of our generation’s finest music photographers, which has has been specifically curated for Australian audiences.

Public Opening Night: Thursday 4th May, 5 - 8pm

Venue: Behind The Gallery

Address: 205 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 2010

Artist Talk: Saturday 6th May, 10am - 12pm. Scarlet Page discusses her photography career and the images in her ‘Captures’ exhibition followed by a Q&A session.

Photography Competition: Young Emerging Music Photographer sponsored by Nikon