The show was put together by the photographer and curator behind the Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993-1997 exhibition in London in 2014.
The photographer behind immersive Oasis exhibition Chasing The Sun - which included a recreation of Bonehead’s living room from the cover of Definitely Maybe - is opening a new show in Manchester next week.
Lawrence Watson is transforming a brand new Salford art space for his Manchester, So Much To Answer For show, with 40 pictures of the likes of The Smiths, Oasis, Ian Brown, The Charlatans, and New Order - some very famous, others never seen before.
He’s also turning the basement in a ‘dark room’ full of photographer’s contact sheets and a cinema screen. And upstairs, there’ll be an interactive 1980s teenager’s bedroom with authentic decorations and technology from the period - and a stack of records to play.
The idea is to give context to the way Lawrence works and to the era in which many of the Manchester bands he captured were growing up and writing music.
Among the stand out images are a shot of Liam Gallagher sitting on an empty stage in Birmingham with his beer (“After I’d taken that, he said to me, ‘It’s great this touring, everywhere I go they build me a bar’,” Lawrence laughs), and Ian Brown backdropped by a Barbie pink street in Moss Side, which was painted up for an advert in 1993.
Other highlights are shots of The Smiths hanging around outside the old Albert Finney shop on Oldham Road, and Noel Gallagher waiting for a train at Union Station.
Lawrence, who left school at 16 and took an apprenticeship in a dark room on Old Street, says it was a love of music - and specifically, not being very good at playing bass - that made him want to be a photographer.
But he tried different styles first. “I was really into people like Don McCullen, and it was the time of the National Front and Britain First so I’d been taking pictures of that,” Lawrence recalls. “I was still learning, and it was a bit intimidating having 300 skinheads coming towards you.”
From photographing gigs he earned commissions with the NME, where he met The Smiths and Morrissey - who he would continue to work with as a solo artist and says had “the clearest ideas” when it came to photo shoot locations.
But he has also gone on to work extensively with Paul Weller - who pulled the cover for his final Style Council sleeve in order to get one of Lawrence’s shots on there instead.
The new gallery, Future Artists Studios at 81 Chapel Street, has been made possible by a Kickstarter campaign and the art group’s not for profit cafe space next door, Home Of Honest Coffee.
The exhibition opens for a free private view on June 9, at 6.30pm, then runs until July 18. Tickets are essential and cost £6 via the Future Artists website.