Behind the scenes at the Resonators shoots
Photographer Scarlet Page picks some favourite shots from her new book of guitar icons
Scarlet Page has taken portraits of some of the world’s most celebrated guitarists for her book Resonators. Among them are Jeff Beck, Brian May, Peter Green, Slash, Noel Gallagher, Joe Walsh, Mark Knopfler – and her father, Jimmy Page. Here, Scarlet chooses seven of her favourite photos in the book – and tells the stories behind them.
She’s the only woman in the book, so it’s brilliant to have her in there. Rock music is such a male-dominated environment, sadly. I tried to get other women – Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Nancy Wilson, Viv Albertine. But Chrissie was really keen to do it, and she looked amazing. It was shot at her home in Maida Vale, where she lives in one floor of a house and her daughter lives downstairs with twins. Chrissie has a reputation for being quite spiky, but she was lovely with me. She made me herbal tea and we sat down and had a good old whinge about musicians, blokes in general. She doesn’t mince her words, which is quite refreshing. She’s just very funny.
Apparently, Jeff doesn’t smile very much in photos, so I really like how this shot came out. We did it at his place in London, a flat, where he was rehearsing. He was very relaxed and that comes across in the photo.
This was at the Sunset Marquis hotel in Los Angeles. Slash was having a little strum as I was shooting. It’s what they all do. Give a guitarist a guitar to hold – what are they going to do? Slash hasn’t changed so much over the years. He doesn’t drink anymore, but he’s still the same person – very calm, and such a gentleman.
He was tricky to find, actually. I asked anyone who might possibly know him, and finally I got a message to him. The fact that he was happy to do it was a real honour. I think the fact that I’m my dad’s daughter helped – that Peter felt he could trust me. Being aware of Peter’s history, I wanted to make the shoot as painless as possible. We met at a studio in London and he came with a selection of holiday hats – one from Norway and another from Madeira – that he said were gifts from friends. Having his photo taken is not his favourite thing. He’s also quite deaf, and that puts you in your own world. But he was very charming, a kind soul.
Photographing somebody as famous as Paul McCartney, it’s kind of like an out-of-body experience. This was taken in LA, backstage at The Jimmy Kimmel Show. I’d only just arrived in LA when I got the call that this was happening. I was so tired, but in a way that helped. It would have more terrifying if I’d been waiting around all day to do it. I did the shot in the green room at Jimmy Kimmel. There wasn’t much time. I took 13 frames and that was it. But Paul was very friendly, and although he’s a bass player, he picked out an acoustic guitar for this shot – which fitted the theme of the book. And he even sang a song for me, which he made up on the spot – a song about me coming all the way from London to LA. It was all very surreal!
Steve was at home in LA – a real man-pad. He has a Union Jack painted on the inside of his front door. The place was a bit of a mess. The pool was full of leaves. But all of his clothes were nicely folded – and he brought out this Evel Knievel suit that had been specially made for him, with ‘SJ’ on it. And for the whole time I was shooting him, Steve played a little game with me. He would whistle a song and I’d have to name it. I got a few. Mott The Hoople was one. He loves them.
This is at my dad’s home in Kensington. We did a load of shots all over the house. This one is in his studio, and it was his idea to do some shots in there. This is where he’s been working recently on the Led Zeppelin stuff. I see a lot of photos of dad where he has the ‘mask’ on: he looks tough. But this one is more candid, nice and loose. But for me, taking pictures of dad, the pressure is really on. It’s got to be right, or you’ll look like a really rubbish photographer. But there is an advantage, of course. If your child is taking a picture of you, you’re going to be a little off guard, and that’s what I got here.
A series of signed, limited edition prints from the book are also available, with proceeds from sales going to the Teenage Cancer Trust.