Category Archives: Denis O’Regan

Careless Memories – Is It Worth the Price?

Over the weekend, I found myself in a healthy discussion regarding the Denis O’Regan photo book – Careless Memories. I haven’t personally ordered a copy of the book, but I know a few other fans that ordered a copy of Careless Memories and seem very pleased. The discussion centered around whether or not we’d buy the book even if money were not an option. All who participated in the conversation felt the book to be incredibly expensive and certainly out of reach of many fans. There are always those that will buy whatever is being offered at whatever price point; but for many, price dictates.

Last week, someone sent a question in to Ask Katy about Careless Memories, inquiring whether it was truly worth the price (we’re talking anywhere from £250 on up to £2500). Katy’s reply gave details about the special nature of the book and it’s construction. She closed stating that while it is certainly an investment, isn’t all art (an investment)?

Not only do I appreciate art, I am a certified Decorative Arts Appraiser. That means I’ve been trained to learn how to use market data to assign value to decorative art (paintings and drawings, photographs, sculptures, pop culture memorabilia or yes…gems and jewelry). I know what art is, and to be completely fair, the very question of what is considered “art” is pretty subjective, although there is a vague framework to help define.  Art must be unique if not also rare, it must have beauty, and by some definitions it must be a human expression or application of emotion. The door is left VERY wide open as to what may or may not be considered art, and of course what might be art to one person might not be to someone else. Does Careless Memories fit that bill?

We traded ideas over whether or not the very fact that the book (or photos within) is mass-marketed should make a difference. After all, many works of art have millions of prints made – but are those prints still considered art, or mass-media representations?There’s definitely room for discussion over whether Careless Memories in it’s mass-marketed form (not the original photos themselves, but the book as a whole) really is a good example of art. Are they priced as such and do they hold that value well? In that case, are prints of artwork still an investment? The fact is, being willing to spend £1000 or more on a larger format photo book doesn’t necessarily make that book an investment…although I’d probably argue that to a willing fan, it absolutely is, regardless of whether it is a good investment, or otherwise. However, that is an emotional definition, not wholly factual.

While I hold no resentment about Careless Memories or my decision not purchase a copy, it is clearly being marketed AT fans with the pricing being out of the reach of most. Then again, isn’t most art that way? Warhol isn’t necessarily “cheap” pop art. Even Thomas Kincaid, one of the most mass-marketed kitsch artists ever – isn’t “cheap” by any means if you’re talking about Artist-handled prints. Let’s face it, the band knows exactly what they are doing here, and we really cannot fault them – because ultimately it is in the hands of each of us to decide whether or not to play the game and make these purchases. It puts fans in the position of having to decide how much the band means to them personally,  and it ends up being an emotionally charged purchase, one the band “banks” on, so to speak.

As is typical, there are always fans willing to pay. I checked the website for Careless Memories late last week, and the most expensive editions of the book (“Unique” and “Special” editions), ones that include things such as (not each book contains all things mentioned – these are simply examples) “golden tickets”, meet and greets with the band, special prints direct from 1984 negatives, and personally signed copies of photos and books, were sold out or “unavailable”.  These ranged in price from £1000-£2500.  Even the least expensive edition – “Collector”, has a very hefty price tag of £250 – not a price most fans can even consider, especially at this time of year. Yet when I look at how many books are available in that edition – very few are sold, perhaps an indication that the price is just out of reach.  Fandom continues, in many respects, to be an excellent real-life example of the “haves” and “have-nots”.

While I’ve had the good fortune to do many things consistent with the “haves” column, in the case of Careless Memories I am definitely in the “have-not” column. Not spiteful, not resentful (there’s no point), but I do find myself questioning the tag of  “investment”.  I suppose though, that makes the difference between a buyer and a bystander.

-R

Sing Blue Silver revisited

Have you listened to the BBC podcast with Denis O’Regan about the recently released photography book Careless Memories? In case you missed it…

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/5live/williams/williams_20131211-0015b.mp3

One of the best stories in the podcast is about the lyric “sing blue silver”.  Simon got it from book he read as a child – Children Move Through Time. I guess you just never know where some of the most iconic ideas will originate!

During much of the podcast, Denis’ approach and career is discussed as opposed to just Duran Duran (which makes sense, it’s Denis’ who is being interviewed!). Duran Duran mentioned in a recent interview that Denis became a sixth member of the band – touring with them and becoming part of the group – which gave him the space to really become a part of the “inner sanctum” without being too close. (so that he could still maintain an unbiased point of view in order to photograph them)  I thought that was interesting, and they do expand upon that a bit more in the podcast.

What really struck me, and the reason I suggest giving it a listen – is to soak in the sheer amount of music history that Denis has experienced through his photography. While it is absolutely true that I feel the book Denis has done is incredibly priced – it is also true that Denis O’Regan is not your average band photographer. Having photographed everyone from our beloved Duran Duran to the Rolling Stones, Bowie, The Damned, Deep Purple and so on, one cannot help but have plenty of respect for his experience, even if his latest collection of photographs is priced to the point where most Duranies cannot even begin to hope to own a copy of even the cheapest edition of the book. For me, this is not really much different than learning about an artist and respecting their work, whether Picasso or maybe even Dalí, even though I know there’s absolutely no way I can buy anything more than perhaps a mass-market printed coffee cup to enjoy at home.

I’d like to extend a thank you to Salvo (Duranasty) for finding this podcast and sharing it on Facebook. I would have never found this piece on my own, that is for sure. This is one thing I really appreciate – those of us who write blogs or do webzines, etc tend to share information freely with everyone. This isn’t about who posts something first, or which one of the websites, fanzines, blogs or podcasts comes up with the best material. I feel as though we’re all in this together out of a love for this band. We work together, create a special brand of Duranie synergy, and make sure the word gets out.  We work to make sure that Duran Duran keeps getting talked about, even when there’s no new music or a tour happening. In doing all of this, we extend one another a sort of professional courtesy by taking that second to say thank you, or to say “Hey – I didn’t find this first, another fan did, and I just want to say thanks for finding it.” I realize it’s not always popular to admit that we weren’t first to find something – and maybe it’s even embarrassing for some to see that a mere fan came up with a news byte or a fantastic picture first – but let me just say this: giving credit where credit is due is important. It creates a tight knit, trusting environment – which is key for a loyal fan community – where information is openly shared, as opposed to a competitive, unfriendly environment where fans are clamoring for even the smallest mention because acknowledgment and credit is rarely given, not to mention that it is the professional and right thing to do.

Food for thought.

-R

Guest Blog: Careless Memories: Photo Exhibition, London 27 Nov-5 Dec 2013

Once again, Daily Duranie is everywhere…thanks to good friends both near and far!  Today we bring you a first hand account from our “Special Correspondent” Anu Lehtinen.  Anu was able to be in London (she’s from Finland) to see the pop-up gallery for Careless Memories, and she was kind enough to share her experience. Additionally, we have some fab photos from Byrony Evens, who was on hand for the arrival of the band to the gallery opening and book release party.  Thanks to Anu and Bryony!!

By Anu Lehtinen & Bryony Evens

photo by Anu Lehtinen

WOW! YES! The possibility to see never before seen photos taken during Sing Blue Silver tour, in a gallery – pure coincidence! A late November trip to London was planned well ahead, with gig tickets bought, but this time on the menu was Howard Jones, Ultravox and Simple Minds.


And then Duran Duran, Denis O’Regan and Olympus announced the collaboration for a pop-up gallery right in the heart of London for a week or so. It would be open from late November to early December. Definitely a MUST visit while in London. What a chance!

The address was clear when on Friday 29th eyes wandered to find the green entrance. Huge video installation was running in one window, the other contained two prints. The gallery was dimly lit. A humble sign hanging on the door said open. Another sign stating opening times was also on the door, but no information was written on it. Should we go in? Is it really open?


Few people were inside. I did not really notice any of them. Instead the rough industrial surroundings in a warehouse type of a setting complete with portable lamps, LED candles, familiar looking photos and large video screens – they all took my attention. This was a photo gallery setting – as quality art photos would and should be shown, getting all the attention they need. No fuss, no bling, and certainly no luxury. The stars of the exhibition were the black and white photos. Never before seen though? I’ve seen that… And that…And that. Was my memory playing tricks? There are so many photos from over the years. So many published from Sing Blue Silver. At first I felt like I must have seen them all.

Took a while to breathe and take it all in. There were about 40 photos. One video playing on 5 screens and one wall. The video was the same on all screens, but unsynchronized so that you have different picture on each screen at any given time.

Are we allowed to take pictures? No signs saying no. No one stopping them from being taken. As soon as I took the first photo, I realized how cleverly the lighting was arranged. Lamps, lit furniture and LED candles all made sure photos would have reflections. Perfect for the art and artist.

Behind a makeshift reception desk, a very helpful lady told that 90% of the photos were new

– as in not seen before. They had a familiar feeling since there was always more than one picture taken from every occasion, and only a select few made it into the Sing Blue Silver book. One of them being John’s huge stage grin. Other photos were merely just similar, not exactly what had been seen, so while many of these photos might be recognizable, most have never been seen. All photos were available for purchase. Most of the photos in the gallery had 25 prints for purchase, but some just 5.


I asked her about the video. These were still photos, and in some of the video the photos seem to have a 3D effect. She explained that it is an expensive technique available nowadays. Photos are broken down to layers, and these layers are then placed to form the effect. It is actually a 2½D effect. For full 3D, you would need 3D equipment to start with. That is an expensive technique used sometimes by companies. For this exhibition they wanted to try it for some photos.


And then out of the blue, she asked me a question, “Would you like to talk to Denis?” What? He is here? Would I really? This is his work. His photos. The subject just happens to be Duran Duran.

I asked him, “How difficult was it to organize a pop-up gallery?” “Very!” he said. Location is key. It was really difficult to find an empty location in central London that would be fitting for a gallery. And then everything needs to be done in the time frame when the location is rented – setting things up, marketing, opening. Some of the things take more time than expected. The flyers for this exhibition were printed in Italy, and they are not here yet (on Friday). They were expected to arrive on Monday or Tuesday.

He continued, “Then there’s two prints arriving later today (on Friday). Two photos are printed on huge acrylic sheets. Both are two meters wide. They will arrive later today and be in place tomorrow.

Anu with Denis O’Regan

“One other thing I thought about trying with the prints, was to print some as a work desk cover. The one with Simon, where there’s a lot of white – that could work nicely. You could have your laptop and papers in one part of the desk.” (I suggested that a similar setting was behind him, with Andy and black background.) “That’s true”, he said.  “The other one I had in my mind, is the contact sheet of John and Nick taken in France. That contact sheet from a photo shoot could really be a nice desk top.”


We talked a bit more about the book, promotion and travel. He found it amusing that some preorders had been made for a specific copy of the book – 7, 58, 60, 61, 62, 78, 80, 81, 82, and so on. Yes, we sometimes have our fixed specifics. Duranies!

Returned on Saturday to see the HUGE acrylic prints, and enjoy the peaceful exhibition once more. Impressive!

I do remember there was music playing softly in the background. What it was, I cannot recall.  I thought the choice would be pretty clear, but it clearly wasn’t what you might have expected…
And if that weren’t enough, we have some wonderful photos and video taken from the band’s arrival at the gallery opening and book release party, along with this short postscript from Bryony that everyone should give everyone a chuckle:

On the evening of the reception, 5th December: the band was due to arrive, and the very lovely and helpful door manager at the venue kept getting calls & texts to say the band would be arriving ‘in five minutes’, then when they didn’t was very apologetic. The fans had to explain to him that we understood completely, and even had a word for it: Durantime!

Nick’s arrival: (sorry this is a link but Blogger won’t let me upload it directly)

Anu Poukka lives in Helsinki Region, Finland. Her DD journey began in May 1982 with purchase of two LP’s – entering the record shop to buy Rio and only then realising that it was the second album of this fantastic Band! Nowadays she’s not sure which is more fun – touring with Duranies or the actual DD shows!










Bryony Evens has been an unashamed pop music fan for the last 30-odd years. Here’s all you need to know in musical terms: first album: Super Trouper by ABBA; first single: Rio; all-time favourite song: Dr Mabuse by Propaganda; favourite band: you need to ask?!; favourite solo artist: Liverpool’s elusive Thomas Lang; all-time perfect non-DD album: ABC’s Lexicon of Love; guaranteed mood-lift song: the 12” of Walk Out to Winter by Aztec Camera; compulsory-to-dance-to song: OT Quartet – Hold That Sucker Down (Builds Like a Skyscraper mix); favourite classical music: Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Rach 3 and Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances; first gig: The Sugarcubes; bands seen live most often: either Duran Duran or Misty’s Big Adventure; next gig: Glasgow’s A New International – truly a band to discover; best new album: Electric by the Pet Shop Boys. She loves to sing. She also plays the viola badly

I Try to Leave the Memory Behind

Some weeks it feels pretty quiet in Duranland, especially during Duran downtime or when the band is in the studio or on vacation.  This week wasn’t that.  No, this week featured some news regarding a coffee table book of photographs by Denis O’Regan from the 1984 Sing Blue Silver tour and a Duran Duran calendar for 2014.  Both of these announcements got a lot of attention from Duran fans who are anxious to purchase anything and everything Duran, especially from those who are serious collectors.  Rhonda touched on the coffee table book on Thursday.  I can’t help but add my two cents here about that as well as about the calendar, especially as they are connected.  The 2014 official Duran calendar will feature some of the same pictures as the book, according to the Ask Katy, which you can read here.  You can also see the cover of the calendar there as well.  The calendar will be available for purchase on November 28th and unlike the coffee table book the pricing information is unknown.  We do know the prices for the coffee table book, which are on the (VERY) high side starting at $400.

Count me as one of those Duranies who had a moment of excitement and internal jumping up and down in joy at seeing the announcement of the Denis O’Regan book before I came crashing back to reality.  I had been hearing about that book for a long time now and couldn’t wait for it to come out.  I had always been a fan of his work from those initial photographs in the paperback, Sing Blue Silver book, that I still owe today.  He captured that tour so well, in my opinion, and definitely wanted to see more and packaged in a way deserving of such quality.  Then, I saw the prices.  Ouch.  Really big ouch.  Painful ouch.  Unattainable ouch.  As much as I’m sure that this is an amazing set of photographs of a really iconic time in the band’s history, there is no way that I could afford that.  Okay.  Let me be frank here.  I could afford it but it would be at the cost of something else…something else that is just more important to me.  That $400 price is more than a plane ticket to see my brother or my nieces or Rhonda.  That is more expensive than a VIP ticket to a Duran show.  While, yes, I would have that book forever, I prefer to focus my extra spending on experiences with the people I love.  On top of that, I couldn’t justify it.  I know of many other “coffee table books” that are expensive and high quality.  I can’t think of one that is THAT expensive.  It leads me to wonder why.  I’m not naive.  I understand that you have to make money doing art or providing whatever service or product you do, but you don’t need to go overboard.  It doesn’t feel very respectful to the fans.  I could see charging something like $100-$200 as many of my friends have suggested.  Double that suggested price just feels wrong.  I suspect that it feels wrong to many Duranies, too.
This, of course, leads me to wonder about how many people will buy it.  As Rhonda has stated, she is sure that it will sell out.  I’m sure she is right.  Yet, I’m a little sad by that and not because I don’t want people to have the product.  I do.  I wish that every Duranie who wanted it could have it.  I just worry that the people who pay the price for this is reinforcing the high price of Duran related products.  After all, I can’t blame anyone for charging high prices.  Everyone wants to make money and be successful.  Yet, buying products at those prices will ensure that they stay that high whereas not being willing might effect prices in the future by having them be lowered.  Let me give you an example from Duranland.  VIP ticket prices started out around $300 in the Astronaut tour days.  As 2008 came around, the prices started creeping up closer and closer to $400.  I noticed that less and less people would pay for them at that price.  I will be honest.  I didn’t.  I bought VIP twice before 2011 and both tickets were less than $400.  Clearly, then, something changed.  VIP prices went down, for the most part, in the US.  They are closer to what…$250.  Now, of course, some may argue that they offer less, too.  True.  Yet, no matter, more people, like Rhonda and myself, are buying because of the lower prices.  My point here is simple.  What we as fans decide to buy and for what price sends a message to the powers that be, which is either that we are willing and able to spend or we are not.
Immediately following the announcement of the coffee table book was the announcement of the 2014 calendar.  This, again, excited a lot of Duranies.  After all, many, like myself collect the official calendars, and many fans were excited for an opportunity to own some of those great Denis O’Regan photographs at a reasonable price.  I have no doubt that the band and the powers that be heard the fans requesting an official calendar.  I have had a new Duran calendar every year that they have come out since the reunion.  I looked forward it.  I didn’t know what the pictures were going to be of since they hadn’t done much together, publicly.  Then, I thought, maybe, they would be from the MoMA event and the screening of Unstaged or simply stills from Unstaged as a way to please the fans with a calendar and promote Unstaged.  Yet, no, they chose to go with the photos from the 1984 tour.  On one hand, I get that.  It gives fans a chance to own some of those photos at a cheaper price and, on the other hand, it helps to promote the coffee table book.  Yet, as soon as I looked at some of the finer and not-so-finer details, I worried.  
My concerns about the calendar center around a big elephant in the Duran Duran room, which is the line-up.  I cannot be the only one who likes the current line-up of John, Simon, Nick, Roger AND Dom.  I know I am not.  I would like my current calendar to reflect the current state of Duran.  After all, a calendar represents present day and the present year.  Plus, Duran Duran has been about embracing the present, the now and not about looking back.  For me, that means those five guys–the four original and the guy that should be officially in the band.  In 1984, though, as we all know, Andy Taylor was in the band.  Is he then included in both the coffee table book and the calendar?  Mixed results, it seems, there.  According to the press release on the coffee table book, the deluxe edition has signatures from the original five, which, obviously, means Andy.  That makes sense to me since he was in the band then.  Does the calendar show the same?  From the picture included on the Ask Katy, I see NO pictures of Andy.  Is this due to the fact that the calendar is “current” and since he is not currently in the band, he can’t be included?  I suspect that is the case.  Now, I get how complicated situations like this are.  I have no doubt that there is much behind the scenes about contracts and what/where/how Andy can and should or should not be included.  Yet, for fans, this kind of thing can hurt.  On one hand, the band seems to be celebrating Andy Taylor with the coffee table book.  On the other hand, they are pretty open about saying, even so, he is not part of the current line-up.  Even worse, if he is not in the calendar at all, is that like changing history?  Ignoring a big part of the 1984 Duran Duran?  That can’t feel good for Andy fans.  Then, there is Dom and his fans.  I am sure that he understands projects or other moments focusing on the past, on the times before he was around.  Yet, a NEW calendar comes out and doesn’t feature what is current, doesn’t feature him.  Ouch.  Again, that can’t feel good for Dom fans and those of us embracing the now.  
I wanted to be excited for both the coffee table book and the calendar.  I really did and I was for both, briefly.  My calendar collection needed a new edition and my coffee table could have made room for a fabulous new book.  My books on fandom and fan conventions that currently occupy a corner of my coffee table could have been moved for something cool and new.  Yet, my pocket book won’t be buying either one.  Now, I’m sure that there are many fans who will and that’s fine.  I, instead, will think about how that money will be saved to be used later for the next tour or trip.   
-A

Careless Memories…for a price.

Due to technical difficulties…the review we had planned for today will not run. Instead we bring you the following piece of news from Duran Duran and Denis O’Regan.

This sounds like a wonderful collection and something to treasure.. take heed, my fellow Duranies…to own this book, it’s gonna cost ya. A lot. $400 USD for the least expensive book option. I am certain some will happily pony up the cash, and that’s great. I need to put my kids through college and be able to retire at some point, to be blunt!

And I’ll follow this up with an additional item: Durandy (Andrew Golub) has come out with his own coffee table format book of Duran concert posters…full color, and done with all the love and care in the world because he’s a fellow fan, and while I do not know the full price, I am willing to bet my own poster collection that it’s less than this. I’m working on editing an interview I just did with him via email that will be up on the blog next week.  Andy is a fascinating person who has put so much effort and time into maintaining his archival collection of Duran Duran ephemera – I can’t wait to share the interview with our readers.  Watch this space!
-R

See original press release here. 
November 21st, 2013  

Duran Duran and photographer Denis O’Regan release new coffee table book: ‘Careless Memories’
On December 15th 2013 Intense Books will publish Duran Duran’s ‘Careless Memories’, a limited edition coffee table book by photographer Denis O’Regan, documenting the band’s record breaking 1984 ‘Sing Blue Silver’ tour. Containing hundreds of exquisitely restored, previously unseen photographs, taken mostly during the North American and Japanese legs of the band’s tour, ‘Careless Memories’ provides an unparalleled visual history of Duran Duran’s ascent to the top, with a commentary from the band members themselves.
Priced from £250, each special edition ‘Careless Memories’ large format, hard cover book (373mm x 249mm) will be bound in cloth, and will contain 200 pages of both colour and black and white images. The deluxe edition (priced from £500), will be signed by all five original band members, and is delivered in a cloth-bound presentation box that will also contain limited edition, signed photographic prints, published by Off Beat. Five Unique Editions of the book (priced at £2500) will also be made available, containing contemporary fine art prints and 1984 vintage prints, together with handwritten lyrics of one of the band’s classic hits by Simon Le Bon.
A selection of photographs from the book will be on display at a dedicated pop-up store, at 15 Foubert’s Place, off Carnaby Street, in Central London, (not far from the band’s original 1984 office) from November 20th to December 6th. The night before the exhibition closes, members of Duran Duran, Denis O’Regan and Intense will host a launch event for ‘Careless Memories’, with the proceeds of a silent auction that will run throughout the life of the exhibition, going to the Ace Africa charity.
Speaking from their studio in London, where they are working on a new album, keyboardist Nick Rhodes said “There was a growing sense of achievement as we got further into the tour – we were winning over the audiences and the reception we received was astonishing every night. As we traveled from city to city, it almost felt as though we were on a political campaign trail, but having an awful lot more fun. It was undoubtedly the ’84 tour that sealed our reputation in America, and as it drew to a close, I think we all knew that it was never going to be the same again.
“We chose Denis to accompany us on tour based upon his work and his reputation. He was one of a small elite group of rock photographers who really knew how to shoot a live show properly. We had seen the stunning results he achieved with other artists and wanted him to do the same for us. It helped enormously that his personality fitted in so well too, we laughed a lot together. If you weren’t able to keep up with the constant humour we survived on, you really didn’t stand a chance. Denis rose to the occasion admirably!”
Lead singer, Simon Le Bon added: “Photography has been massively important to us throughout our career, as it enabled us to maintain a worldwide presence while we were on tour. Denis’s photographs provide a wonderful document from that period.”
1984 was a particularly exciting year for Duran Duran, as this was when they really conquered the US market, playing their first arena tour amidst the kind of mass hysteria from their fans that hadn’t been witnessed since the Beatles had first set foot on American soil, some twenty years earlier. They were touring in support of their third studio album ‘Seven and the Ragged Tiger”, which spawned a series of hits, including their first international #1, ‘The Reflex’. It was a year in which they won two Grammys, graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine (who donned them ‘The Fab Five), and played to more than three quarters of a million people in less than five months. With MTV now a powerful promotional vehicle for bands such as Duran Duran, who had been quick to embrace the medium, the stage was set for the five boys from Birmingham to become what appeared to be an overnight global sensation. In actual fact, this period followed five intense, non-stop years of hard work, as the band toured the world, breaking territory after territory.
Photographer Denis O’Regan exclusively captured Duran Duran’s Sing Blue Silver tour, joining the band in France, where they were filming the video for their single ‘New Moon On Monday’, and staying with them until the end of the run, covering their Japanese and North American dates, as well as a number of other European shows and promotional appearances. His unprecedented access to the band gives the ‘Careless Memories’ book a never-before-seen insight into the lives of Simon, Nick, John, Roger and Andy as they won hearts around the world. It documents the excitement of the shows, the hysteria and mayhem that surrounded them, and the tedium of life on the road as they became prisoners of their own success.
Denis O’Regan has toured the world as official photographer to David Bowie, Queen, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Spandau Ballet. He was the official photographer at Live Aid, and continued that tradition as official photographer at the Concert For Diana, MTV European Music Awards, and most recently Download, Coachella and Glastonbury festivals.
‘Careless Memories’ will be available for pre-order at www.ddcarelessmemories.com.
The ‘Careless Memories’ exhibition runs from November 20th to December 6th.
-Duranduran.com