It’s hard to picture Prince without swathes of purple around him and a guitar in his hands. But of course, like all musicians, there was a time when the person overshadowed the artist, and all the aesthetic baggage that comes with being famous.
Have a look at Robert Whitman’s never before seen shots of Prince taken in 1977 – before he became ‘Prince’.
In 1977, Prince was making his way as young musician in Minneapolis, USA. Then known by his full name, Prince Rogers Nelson, he had recently caught the attention of music agent Owen Husney and his partner Gary Levinson, who had asked photographer Robert Whitman to take some promo shots for the budding artist.
Whitman had been enamoured by Prince after hearing an early demo of Soft and Wet (which went on to become his first single) and agreed to do the shoot.
“I first met him when he was rehearsing in the studio,” Whitman recalled to Another Man Mag. “He was very quiet but very friendly to me. I could tell he wasn’t very talkative but when I saw him playing the different instruments you could tell he let his music do the talking.”
The shoot saw Whitman photograph the young Prince on the street and in the studio in Minneapolis. Dressed in flares and a suede jacket, gloves and comb in hand, the shoot captures all the magic of the young artist on the brink on stardom, as well as a rare event that would seldom be caught on camera again – Prince smiling
To mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic shoot, Robert Whitman has produced a limited edition book, Prince Pre Fame, that offers a wry and honest commentary of Prince’s early style, wiring and creative process.
Check out some of the incredible shots below and see it here on Vero.