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Behind the Photo - Amy Winehouse

Posted by Dan Giannopoulos

Today it was announced that the inquest into the death of Amy Winehouse had recorded a verdict of death by misadventure, after she was found to have had 5 times the legal drink-drive limit of alcohol in her blood when she died.

I shot this photo of Amy Winehouse on the 20th July 2010, 3 days short of a year before she tragically died at her home in Camden, North London. 

Throughout 2009 and 2010 I worked as a live music and band photographer for publications like the NME, UNCUT and The Guardian.

This photograph was not taken during one of her performances. In fact, surprisingly at this point Amy Winehouse had briefly slipped away from the limelight of gossip pages in the UK's daily tabloids.

I was photographing a sold-out Nas and Damian Marley 'Distant Relatives' performance at Hammersmith Apollo. It was almost at the end of the standard 3 song allocated shooting time when I noticed her at the side of the stage, behind the speaker stack. As I passed her I fired off 2 shots. the second of which is this one.

I wasn't ever a fan of Amy Winehouse, I don't own any of her music and I only ever followed her life and exploits in the most cursory way. But I was touched by the inevitably tragic circumstances by which her short life came to an end.

It's a photograph I have come back to repeatedly over the past year or so. It's a photograph whose meaning has shifted for me, making the transition from a standard live music capture to a contemplative document of a complicated individual.  Now, three months after her untimely, but sadly not unexpected death, it feels like this image in some way, for me, captures the loneliness and complexity of her life and ultimately her death.