Michael Putland was born in 1947 at Harrow-on-the-Hill near London. Encouraged by his uncle, he began shooting photography at age nine. After leaving school at 16, he started work at a London studio where he assisted in advertising, fashion and architectural photography. Michael was privileged to work with Louis Klementaski, the legendary motor racing photographer, during this period. After briefly assisting Time/Life photographer Walter Curtain, he decided to go out on his own, sharing a studio with two friends and eventually securing work with the music magazine “Disc & Music Echo.” His first assignment was Mick Jagger.
He went on to photograph John Lennon and Elton John, among others, before moving to Sounds magazine and continuing to photograph the biggest names in music. He traveled extensively and worked for major record companies including CBS, Warner, Elektra, Atlantic, Polydor, RCA and EMI. When Michael relocated to New York in 1977, he continued his record company and editorial assignments, shooting artists as diverse as Billy Joel, The Clash and the Bee Gees.
While still in New York, he founded the photo agency Retna. After returning to London in the early 80’s, he opened the London branch and continued to shoot mainly musicians including Madonna and George Michael. He sold the company over 10 years ago, allowing himself more time to concentrate on his first love: photography. While his current work is still predominantly portraiture, his sitters are likely to be classical, jazz or world musicians and lifestyle subjects.
Rare among photographers, Michael enjoys producing all of his black & white silver gelatin prints himself in his darkroom in the Sussex countryside where he lives in England.
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