Saturday 2 March 2024

Britain says "Goodbye" to its much-loved Hairy Biker, Dave Myers

Dave, who has died at the age of sixty-six, found fame alongside Si King, his best friend and work partner of 30 years as part of the motorcycle-riding cooking duo, the 'Hairy Bikers'. Together, they toured Britain and the world in search of new recipes which they then, with their wit and charm, discovered and imparted to their millions of television followers. 

Dave was born in the port 
town of Barrow-in-Furness in the historic county of Lancashire in the north of England in the autumn of 1957, the son and only child of Margaret and Jim, a papermill foreman. Dave said : "I was something of a surprise to my parents. My mum, was 42 when she had me and had been told she couldn't have children. So when she went to the doctors, they thought she had an ovarian cyst. And it was me!" 

Motor bikes figured early in Dave's life and he recalled : ”My father used to go to work on a BSA Bantam, when I was about two, three years old I used to toddle down to the bottom of the back street, he’d be there coming home from work, and he’d let me sit on the tank holding on to the handlebars and pretending to ride the motorbike up the back street". He said : “I loved the smell of oil and machinery and rubber; just one whiff would set my pulse racing”.

Back home, of his mother’s cooking he said : “The smell of fresh cakes and pies always filled the room when I was a small boy. It was magic". Unfortunately, his world started to fall apart when he was seven and he had to put his “Mam” to bed after a fall which was the first sign of multiple sclerosis, a disease which would eventually lead to her death. 

Meanwhile, while at Cambridge Street Primary School, he started to suffer from alopecia-related hair loss 
and was cruelly branded “baldy” and “Uncle Fester” by the other kids. He began to do his paper round with his hood up, using a concoction of chimney soot and Vaseline to cover up the balding areas. He recalled : “One time, I got an air pistol to shoot myself in the knees, just to get a few weeks off school, but I was wearing jeans and I hit the seam, so the pellet didn’t do any damage at all”.

Things improved when he was eight years old. His father was sixty-three in that year, and in his increased spare time, Dave said : "We became inseparable. Our favourite pastime was longline fishing in Morecambe Bay. We'd ride out on his motorbike, attach 100 worms to 100 hooks suspended from a long line staked in the sand, and see what the tide brought in. Sometimes, we'd collect as many as 40 plaice". 

Another happy time was a holiday to see to see the TT races on the Isle of Man, a dream come true for the bike-mad boy who badgered every rider he could, to sign his autograph book. Equally sharp were his memories of the meals at the Metropole Hotel, as he reflected : “Bikes and food were vying for my attention, even then”.

In 'part four' of what was to be his last BBC TV series with Si King, 'The Hairy Bikers Go West', which was aired this week, they visited Liverpool and Wirral, Dave recalled : 
"I once came to Liverpool to stay in a bed and breakfast for a week's holiday when I was a kid. It was funny because they took me on the ferry across the Mersey and when I come back, you know when you do your school diary, me I was always pretentious, I put : 'So Mam and Dad took me on a cruise'. I said we went to New Brighton and they burst out laughing, I was really humiliated. Because I thought the New Brighton ferry was a cruise". To which Si replied : "Well I mean it is, if you want to get to New Brighton that is".

Back in the 1960s, with his mother now in a wheelchair, Dave and his father became her full-time carers. He said : "Bedtimes were the worst. Dad would take her arms, I'd take her feet and we'd bounce her up the stairs. But the first time it hit me that she was really bad was when I was nine. She went to bed and couldn't get up again". Kitchen staples were now tinned mince with mashed potato and marrowfat peas. On one occasion his father mixed them all together and claimed to have created a risotto. Ironically, Dave’s love of food flowered for the first time in this period and he said : “I got tired of my father serving us tinned mince and Smash and peas, so I started cooking myself. It wasn’t a burden. I loved it”.

In 1968, Dave, having passed his 11-plus exam, took his place at the 1930 built Barrow Grammar School for Boys with its stirring school song : Westaway the seas lie open, east away the sun rides high, outward bound in morning glory, free and ready here am I.  It was here that he was taken under the wing of his art teacher, Mr Eaton, who arranged for him to visit the art galleries in Manchester and Liverpool. Dave recalled : "He encouraged me, especially in art club, which we had once or twice a week. I’d do some painting and he’d give me advice and put them up on the wall. He had an incredible imagination and would always broaden my ambition, never stifle it". Money was obviously tight at home and at the age of sixteen Dave said : "I applied to get a job as a photographer after O-levels, but I didn’t get it. It’s just as well because I stayed on and got qualifications in general studies and art".  

By now this was against the background of having to look after both his mother and father, since, when he was seventeen, his father suffered a bad stroke and sometimes fed them fillets of fresh plaice he had caught himself. Dave recalled : "I put Dad in his bed, Mum in hers and wondered : 'What I was going to do ?' When the district nurse came round, she realised I couldn't cope and asked which parent I could manage best ? It was awful to have to choose, but I said Dad because I knew he had a chance of recovery. Mum went into a geriatric ward and never came home again".

By now this was against the background of having to look after both his mother and father, since, when he was seventeen, his father suffered a bad stroke and sometimes fed them fillets of fresh plaice he had caught himself. Dave recalled : "I put Dad in his bed, Mum in hers and wondered : 'What I was going to do ?' When the district nurse came round, she realised I couldn't cope and asked which parent I could manage best ? It was awful to have to choose, but I said Dad because I knew he had a chance of recovery. Mum went into a geriatric ward and never came home again".

At the time he was in the sixth form at school Dave undertook culinary adventures when he created a 'mini curry-club', inviting his friends home after their visit to the pub for some grub, which was concoction created from whatever he found in the kitchen cupboard. Many years later he relived those “30p pub-grub days”, cooking a 'Hairy Bikers' chilli con carne recipe enriched with dark chocolate. (link)

At the age of eighteen he made his way south to London where, when arriving at Euston Station for the first time, he was stopped by police suspicious about the contents of his tobacco tin. With the encouragement of Mr Eaton, he had applied for and now took his place as an undergraduate student studying for a Fine Art degree at Goldsmiths College. In addition to his studies, living and eating in South London broadened his culinary horizons and he discovered the pleasures of south Indian food. 

In his first vacation as a student he recalled : "My first trip abroad was with a mate at the age of 18. My Dad gave me some money, so I booked a package holiday to Paris for £65, but had to hitchhike to Calais because I couldn’t afford the train fare. It was a disaster. I fell out with my mate and got pickpocketed outside the SacrĂ©-Coeur, so I only had £25 to last me the week. But I love art, so I spent my time sitting outside and sketching. I really was a starving artist". For the rest of the
 holiday he returned to Barrow, to earn money by cleaning out the steelworks’ furnaces during the annual shutdown. It was about this time that he bought his first motor bike, a Cossack Ural Mars Mk III, with a sidecar.

After graduating in 1978, he stayed at Goldsmiths for a further year to study for his master's degree. When his father died, he said : "It was left to me to tell Mum and she was heartbroken. By the time I graduated, I'd lost both parents and twenty-three was a young age to deal with a double loss like that. I felt rootless. I remember clearing their council flat, putting some stuff in storage and tying the rest on to the back of my motorbike. I was like one of the Beverly Hillbillies".

Dave said : "Ambition kept me going" and working on the the principle that : “If I can paint a picture, I can paint a face”, he successfully applied to join, as a trainee, the BBC TV Make-up Department, which he described as : "A vibrant, exciting and caring place". However, the caring element wasn't present on his first day he was ordered "to get a wig" to hide his alopecia. Dave responded by deciding to not spend the money on a wig, which would have cost more than a month’s salary and instead shaved his head and bought himself a nearly new Honda 185 Benly motorcycle. 

As the corporation’s only known male make-up artist, Dave appeared on the cover of the staff magazine 'Ariel' with Hamble, the rag doll from 'Play School'. Before long, he was preparing guests for Blue Peter, arranging Des O’Connor’s copper-tinged highlights and painting Adam Ant’s white stripe for 'Top of the Pops'. 

Gradually he branched out into prosthetics, making casts of Patricia Hodge and Julie Wallace’s breasts for 'The Life and Loves of a She-Devil' in 1986 and when filming finished, attached one of the artificial breasts to the back of the catering truck and watched it being driven away. On another occasion he was called upon to trim Roger Moore's hair when he was filming in Luxembourg. (link)

Going freelance he became a regular make-up artist on 'Coronation Street' before moving on to larger-scale dramas with actors such as John Gielgud. In 1987, when Timothy West played Mikhail Gorbachev in the TV movie 'Breakthrough at Reykjavik' Dave had to replicate the Soviet leader’s famous red birthmark, ensuring it looked exactly the same for each day of filming.

After a brief, misguided foray into making money in the antiques trade, Dave returned to his face paints and at the age of thirty-eight was head of make-up for the Catherine Cookson drama, 'The Gambling Man' in 1995. It was now that he met Simon “Si” King, who was nine years his junior and who he described as : “A big, blond-haired Geordie” even though  he was, in fact, from County Durham. They started their twenty-nine year friendship and hit it off with their shared enjoyment of a curry, a pint and motorbikes and before long were riding and cooking side by side as though they had been childhood friends. 

Dave's health problems had continued into adulthood and his hair thinned even more after a bout of pneumonia and pleurisy. In his personal life when, after the failure of his first marriage, in 1998 Dave became engaged to Glen Howarth, a script supervisor whom he had met during filming of another Catherine Cookson tale, 'The Tide of Life'. However, his life was once again blighted by illness, when four months later she died of stomach cancer. He himself now had an emergency operation to remove a cyst the size of an apple from his brain with the curious side-effect that his hair began to grow back in tufts.

It was six years later, in 2004, when Dave was forty-five, that he and Si, a locations manager on the Harry Potter films, pitched their idea for a TV show focusing on motorbikes and food to the BBC. Dave later said : “It was midlife crisis time and you can’t have more of a midlife crisis than going off on a motorbike”.

Dave recalled : “As soon as we came up with the idea, a lass in the production office just yelled out ‘Hairy Bakers’ and the series was born!” Even so, it was two years before the two burly, hirsute motorcyclists who visited foreign locales, often getting off their bikes to cook by the roadside, would reach the screen. In the first episode of 'The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook' the pair motored through Namibia, stopping off to cook crocodile satay and oryx rolls. Their culinary travelogue ran across three series and took them to Portugal, Vietnam, Turkey and Mexico. The series was renamed : 'The Hairy Bikers Ride Again' for the third series (link) and 'The Hairy Bakers' for the fourth series. It became such a hit with the viewers that a memo circulated the BBC praising the two men for winning over : “A difficult-to-reach audience” to which Si said : “Basically a ‘difficult-to-reach audience’ translates as ‘normal people’”.

It was in 2009, that Dave and Si firmly cemented their partnership when they hosted a 30-part daytime series for BBC Two, 'The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain' (link), which aired on weekdays and saw them visit a different county each day and cook what they considered to be that county's signature dish. Dave recalled : “As soon as we came up with the idea, a lass in the production office just yelled out ‘Hairy Bakers’ and the series was born!” 

The following year their six-part series titled 'The Hairy Bikers : Mums Know Best' (link) was aired and invited guests were asked to bring along their favourite family recipes and cooked examples which were compiled for the 'Mums Know Best Recipe Board' for the other mums to copy down. In addition, they were encouraged to bring along their indispensable, old- fashioned, dependable and sometimes unidentifiable kitchen gadgets : potato peelers, soda streams, meat mincers and pastry cutters. 

With their popularity now in ascendance, they were commissioned for a new 40-episode series, 'The Hairy Bikers' Cook Off' (link), which included a cook off between two families and celebrity guests. Then in 2011 they had signed new contracts with the BBC for another new series which saw the two of them doing what they loved best : a 5000 mile gastronomic road trip across Europe, the 'Hairy Bikers' Bakeation' (link). Their mission was to discover
 the best baking on offer across Europe, from Norway, the Low Countries, Germany, Eastern Europe, Austria, Italy and France to Spain.

At this stage in his life, Dave said of his school art teacher, Mr Eaton : "I often think about where I’d be if it wasn’t for him. There were three of us in Mr Eaton’s art school gang and we’ve all done alright for ourselves. One became a professional artist and the third is a successful photographer in Hollywood. As for me, he got me into the industry I’m in now. I’ve got him to thank for opening the door to art school, the BBC and for allowing me to do all the bonkers stuff I do now. I’m a very lucky man".

Dave recalled : "I met Lili, my wife, while we were filming 'The Hairy Bikers in Romania'. She was the manager of the hotel where we stayed. As she escorted Si and me up a spiral staircase, I whispered : "Cor, I really fancy her." And he said : "Nah, leave off, mate. She's dead scary". But Lili and I became pen pals and got married in 2011. The cultural difference has never been an issue – we just get on – and she wasn't in the least fazed by the saucy attention I got competing in 'Strictly Come Dancing' In fact, at my age, she thinks it's vaguely ridiculous".

More series abroad followed in 'The Hairy Biker's Mississippi Adventure' (link) and 'The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure' (link). Dave recalled that when they were in Japan : "I fell in love with Kyoto, which feels like old Japan, full of elegant temples and waterways. We stayed at a traditional ryokan guesthouse, where you sleep on a futon mat, but we were banned from the bathhouses because we had tattoos. There are lots of rules like that and I found it fascinating culturally". They were, incidentally, warmly accepted at a “sumo stable” in Kyoto, where they trained in loincloths alongside the wrestlers, who consumed 20,000 calories a day.

In 2013, Dave appeared on TV's 'Strictly Come Dancing', performing a “Tartan tango” to the tune of The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) with his dance partner, Karen Hauer. (link)  He became, in the words of the show’s judge Len Goodman : “The people’s champion”, winning the weekly popular vote despite sometimes low marks from judges and armchair critics deriding his “ungainly boogying”. He didn’t win, but received the longest standing ovation for his Meat Loaf-themed paso doble.(link)

In 2014 with Si, he launched 'The Hairy Bikers Diet Club', which included recipes and tips and tricks to help people to live a healthier and trimmer life, while not starving to be "skinny minnies". In 2015, they co-presented 'The Nation's Favourite Food' on BBC Two alongside Lorraine Pascale.

Dave said, with his usual enthusiasm : “We'd spent two-and-a-half years going around the world investigating other people's cultures. We wanted to get back to our roots and celebrate the food culture we have in Britain. It's just as much an exploration of wonderment for us as it is for the viewers to discover all these local foods. There are some amazing cultural dishes in the UK that have been cooked for hundreds of years that have nearly been forgotten about. We want to revive those great old recipes. Have you heard of Shropshire's fidget pie, for instance? (link)  It's based around gammon and cooking apples with potatoes, sage and onions. Delicious. We've discovered lots of great dishes like that”.

He continued with his eulogy : 
“In Cornwall, we made proper Cornish pasties at the Edenproject; we have made Malvern pudding, Cheshire cheese soup in the jaguar house at Chester Zoo; Cullen Skink soup in 
Moray.(link)  In Scarborough we made my mum's Yorkshire pudding with Si's Mam's gravy; in Wales we made Carmathenshire cockles, laver bread and Welsh salty bacon; in Somerset we cooked Somerset chicken, a traditional dish heavy with apples.(link) These are dishes born out of the land and generations of cooks perfecting the recipes”. He said that by the end of the series : "We had ridden 15,000 miles on our motorbikes – a proper food tour of Britain”.

In 2022, Dave revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment. (link) 
He had recovered sufficient strength to handle his motor bike, by the summer of 2023, to take part in this seven-part series for BBC which saw him reunite with Si to make 'The Hairy Bikers Go West'. They traveled together down the west coast of Scotland and through Lancashire, Merseyside, North Wales, Bristol and finally Devon and Dorset.(link)

It was to be, in part, a valediction that took the bikers to places that had shaped them, with Dave even making an emotional homecoming to the county where he was born. Along the way they explored these changing areas through restaurants, recipes and inventive new food entrepreneurs. It was appropriate that they traveled their last 600 miles together on their quest to explore and reveal hidden culinary gems and as usual, the series was replete with recipes : from Chicken Balmoral with truffle mash, poached lobster served with Scottish Bucatini pasta, to Lambchop pakoras with traditional Persian rice and a Lancashire Butter and Potato Pie.

With Dave's passing Si said : 

“I will miss him every day and the bond and friendship we shared over half a lifetime. I wish you God's speed brother. You are and will remain a beacon in this world. See you on the other side. Love ya”.

When once asked how he would like to be remembered ? Dave had replied with perfect self-effacement : 

“Oh, just as a bloke that 'had a go' really. I’ve been lucky enough to do the dreams. And sometimes the nicest thing about our programmes – you look at our shows, and it’s like going away with  your best mate. It takes you out of yourself and you learn a bit and  if people remember that about me, I’ll be well happy".

Sunday 4 February 2024

Britain says "Goodbye" to its Photographic Genius, Brian Griffin

Brian, who has died at the age of seventy-five was called 'The most  unpredictable and influential British portrait photographer of the last decades' by the British Journal of Photography in 2005, and 'One of Britain’s most influential photographers' by the World Photography Organization in 2015. 
* * * * * * * 

He was born, just after the end of the Second World War, into a working class family of factory workers on a sunny Spring day in 1948 in the bomb damaged industrial Midlands city of Birmingham. At the age of eleven he passed his 11+ exam and didn't go to a grammar school for boys, but attended Halesowen Technical School, created in the 1940s to teach 'technical' subjects such as mechanics and engineering and prepare students to work in related trades. 

In 1964 left school at the age of sixteen and he began his apprenticeship as a draughtsman in a metal engineering factory making conveyors. His parents were against him working there, so he played with the idea of doing something more exciting, like many teenagers at the time, of becoming a fighter pilot, a speedway rider, or something more creative like a painter. In fact he was encouraged by the foreman to join the local photographic society. (link)

Many years later, when Brian was fĂȘted as one of Britain's greatest photographers he paid homage to the Black Country where he had spent his youth : "The Black Country was black and white. I didn't see any colour in the Black Country when I was a boy. I didn't see any colour at all. It was all black and white - an expressionist movie really, living there. All the hot steel; all the rolling mills; all the sound. I loved the music there - the music from all the machines; all the forges and the wonderful light from the hot steel. It marries itself so well to black and white photography that would, it seemed to be like, a black and white world. The Black Country made me what I am. It gave me all those inspirations, those motivations in regards to all my life in photography ".(link)

He raised his horizon when he finished his apprenticeship at the age of twenty-one in 1969. He recalled seeing the rats running along side the canal and realised that was pretty much what life had in store for him – a lifetime of routine and work that he’d seen his parents endure. So he made the step which would change the course of his life when, as he said :  “I put some pictures in a Boots photo album and tried to get a place at an art college. I got into Manchester Polytechnic. I was 21 and, to be honest, I wasn’t that interested in photography. It was a form of escape”. It was here that he learnt the crisp technical skills that have made his photographic images of precision and clarity which became his professional hall mark in the years that followed.

When he graduated in 1972 he found it incredibly difficult to get started as a photographer and said : "People just didn’t want to give jobs to a young lad and there weren’t many photography jobs to come by in the first place. In the late sixties photography wasn’t a terribly fashionable thing to do, it wasn’t something anyone desired to do”.(link)

Surprisingly, when Brian later spoke about the influences on his work he said : "Looking at the history of cinema, especially German and French cinema, it just fed my imagination and also the surrealist painters at that time. I've always been very close to painting. I've not been close to photography. I've always led a a slightly detached life as a photographer, from photographers. I've always been closer to artists, I like to feel. I feel I've reached the point where I sort of jump into photography to get my idea across. It's not something which is second nature to me. I'm more interested in other art forms much more than I am in my own art form".(link)

Brian recalled in 2010, when he was a successful sixty-two year old : "As a photographer you've got to work 24/7 every year of your life and never give up because at times it gets so bad, so horrible and unbelievably difficult and that's why some one my age, since I'm a senior person in British photography now, never reach my age in photography. They go off and make furniture or babies or whatever they do, estate agents, because you've got to stick at it. And it's just unbelievably difficult, but the rewards are immense". (link)

His first big break came when he went to work as a photographer on a business publication called 'Management Today' where he said his shot of a ballroom dancer got him the job. It was he came under the influence of an Art Director called Roland Schenck. Brian recalled says that Schenck would send him back time and again to take pictures or shoot portraits until he returned with something fresh, stylish and distinctive. He shot 'Rush Hour. London Bridge' for the magazine in 1974.(link)

Brian later recalled : "I'd grown up in the Black Country. It's all black and white, heavy shadows and I started with the inspiration they gave me - when to use bright light etc. Through the back of the cab, the metropolis shot was the shot that I found when I left college, was the shot that I found I could become a photographer. I was over the moon when I'd taken that picture. I was about to go down on my knees on London Bridge, pray to God : "Thank you Dear Lord". Maybe I can make it in photography".(link)

When London became the centre of a business boom, Brian became a highly sought after photographer for corporate clients, shooting major projects for businesses as he said : "Accountancy Age, Computing, Marketing, all those kinds of magazines”.

Brian said : "I was a creative person, I felt, I was far more capable than just clicking the shutter. I’d grown up in my late teens engineering, so I was quite good at maths and all that stuff. I found the analogue side of photography quite easy, so that suited me. Secondly, I wanted photography to be more than just capturing something. You could create your own environment, your own set. I’ve always been desperate to make photography more than just being a photographer. We were the dirty raincoat brigade in the 60s. It was really looked at as pretty low-brow". 

Brian said : "I was aware that I had a very different way of looking at things and that my own style was ‘not of the time’. I shot on black & white Ilford film and colour and, if you look at my images from that time, I do think there’s a remarkable stillness to them". (Traffic Island. Wandsworth)

“I started to do advertising, editorial and music when I got my first studio, which was in Rotherhithe Street, London, in 1980. 
I was technically quite adept because I’d studied engineering, so during the analogue days I was right ‘on it’ mathematically with exposures and all sorts of stuff. I could really get on top of things, hone my technical virtuosity and I made a great success in the ’80s through this studio. You need a studio to get really deep into photography and the analogue days helped with this because you could build multiple exposures and exciting things”.

After Margaret Thatcher came to power as Prime Minister in 1979, to capture the heroes and victims of what became known as Thatcherism and Globalization, Brian created a new photographic style, which became known as 'Capitalist Realism' and parodied the earlier 'Socialist Realism'. He undertook a major project in the City of London in Broadgate.(link)

He recalled that he : "Did all this photography of the workers building this massive site near Liverpool Street Station and it became a famous piece of work, primarily because most people went interested in photographing workers, businessmen at the time and it became extremely well-known. it formed the body of work in a book called 'Work'. 'Work' was voted in 1991, 'The Best Photographic Book in the World', which was extraordinary, at the 'Barcelona Primavera Fotografica' . It was also exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery for a few months". 

* Liam. Steel erector
* Carpenter 
* Train carrying tunnel    workers under London 
* Big Bang.(link)
* Felix Hyde. Foreman
* Alasdair Cathcart. Contract Manager
* Augvidas Baradinsksa. General labourer

Brian said : "Its a very difficult thing photographing people, particularly people who have not been photographed very much. A photographer who is going to hang around for two to three hours and really go at it for two or three hours at you and really try to develop something up. It's new to these people and I have to control them to a certain extent in order to control them and in order to the situation". 

He said he had to be : "Extremely, extremely observant watching all their mannerisms, the way they react between each other. Watching how they interact between each other. Watching how they relate together, how they feel together and I source that attitude from one experience or two and always get public transport. I use public transport all the time. I watch people do the most basic things in life. So I'm fascinated when I have a group of people in front of me, observing the minutiae about them and I apply all that minutiae into the group shot".
The other important strand in his career centred on his work for the music industry. He recalled that : 
“Post-punk bands tended to dress quite smartly and were quite fashion-conscious. I thought they looked just like the businessman I was photographing, so I wondered if I could get a job shooting music". He discovered that Elvis Costello was signed to the indie label Stiff Records, based in Notting Hill, London, and so visited them. Brian said : “I got my first cover through going to see Dave Robinson at Stiff Records. It wasn’t because I loved music or wanted to photograph bands. I just wanted to expand my repertoire and source of income. But, like all the best choices I’ve ever made in life, it was the most basic decision. I liked music, so I just made the basic decision to go to a record company. I looked at Elvis Costello and he wore a suit and tie and that, and I thought, ‘well I could do a good picture of him, he looks interesting with those horn rim glasses’. He looked just like an everyday person, which he was. It was a basic, obvious choice".(link)

It was a choice which subsequently led him to photo shoots with Siouxsie Sioux, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Toyah Willcox, R.E.M., Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, Ringo Starr, Queen and Peter Gabriel.(link)  In addition, his work appeared on many album covers, notably that of Depeche Mode's 'A Broken Frame' in 1982 cited as one of the best color photographs ever shot.(link) It appeared on the cover of Life's 1990 edition of 'World's Best Photographs 1980–1990' and helped earn him the title of 'Photographer of the decade' by The Guardian in 1989.

In 2013, of his profession Brian said : 

"If you're passionate enough and are willing to sustain the efforts it takes, it can be an incredible thing. But you've got to be a little obsessed and you need a strong disposition”.