The photographer who charted the supernova rise of Oasis to international stardom is launching an exhibition of some of her classic images at Central Library.
Jill Furmanovsky worked with Noel, Liam and the band from 1994 until their split in 2009 and has personally selected highlights from her extensive archives for the free ‘Oasis – DNA’ exhibition.
The exhibition includes some of the most iconic portraits of the Gallagher brothers, early live images and candid behind-the-scenes photos – some of which have never previously been exhibited.
Jill said: “Central Library has a fantastic exhibition space and it’s great to be able to use part of the library as a gallery. Really, these images are just the tip of the iceberg, so I’m fortunate to have so much room to work with for this exhibition.”
It wasn’t always easy for Jill to get the mercurial Gallagher brothers to pose for the camera, but the resulting images went on to adorn the walls of Oasis fans worldwide.
“Noel and Liam were OK with being photographed, but they had short attention spans”, Jill said. “They didn’t want to hang around for hours, which suited me as a photo-journalist. I work quickly. Maybe that’s why they liked me.
“I look at some of the photos now and remember what moods they were really in – but somehow, I usually managed to persuade them to pose for me.
“I had the sense that Noel thought it was important to document everything that was going on at that time – it was all happening so incredibly fast.”
Jill, who has photographed a staggering who’s-who of music legends including Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley, started working with Oasis at the time of their debut album, Definitely Maybe – thinking that this would be her final assignment with a band.
“Oasis had been signed the year before”, Jill said. “At the time, I was putting together a book of my work, ‘The Moment’, which started with an image of Paul McCartney from his time with The Beatles. I wanted an up-and-coming group to bookend the collection and they seemed to fit.
“Once I’d photographed them, I thought that was the end of my rock-and-roll years. But then Noel asked me to go on tour with them – and I was still working with them years later.”
One panel of the exhibition is dedicated to images of graffiti from outside the world-famous Abbey Road studios, taken while Oasis were recording the album Be Here Now.
“The Abbey Road graffiti was always dominated by The Beatles, no matter who recorded there – but you can see that the wall was rapidly being written over by Oasis fans, which shows what a huge cultural impact they had”, explains Jill.
The exhibition space is on the first floor of Central Library, next to the Henry Watson Music Library, which holds a wealth of books on modern music – including Oasis biographies and sheet music for fans to explore.
“I have many images of other great Manchester artists, including Morrissey and The Buzzcocks – so I would love to come back to Central Library in future with a ‘DNA Manchester’ exhibition”, added Jill.
Jill has dedicated her exhibition to Peggy Gallagher, Noel and Liam’s mum, “because she was such a source of strength for the band. That’s why it’s called ‘Oasis DNA’.
“There was always creative conflict between Noel and Liam and as people, they are like chalk and cheese – but through it all, there was brotherly love and this shared sense of humour, which helped keep them together.”
Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “Central Library’s dedicated exhibition space is the perfect venue for this incredible retrospective of images of a Manchester group who were fast becoming one of the best-loved bands in the world.
“Many of these pictures will be instantly familiar to Oasis fans, while others give a never-before seen perspective on their meteoric rise.”
The free ‘Oasis – DNA’ exhibition is at at Manchester Central Library from Wednesday 2 November until the end of January 2017. For more information about Jill Furmanovsky, photographer and founder of Rockarchive.com, go to www.rockarchive.com/photographers/jill-furmanovsky.