Rare photos of Pete from 1986 have been added to the gallery!

Rory Earnshaw

A stunning set of vintage photos taken by Rory Earnshaw are now up in our 1980's photo gallery!

Pete Townshend agreed to do a photo shoot with Rory, which took place on May 2, 1986 outside his Eel Pie Studios at the Boathouse, shot around the River Thames in Twickenham, London.

Most of these photos have never been seen before, so we are excited to publish these here for the 33rd anniversary of the photo shoot. Many thanks to Rory for sharing them with us!

Here is Rory's story behind the photos.

Having been infatuated with Pete Townshend’s writing since my brothers gave me the Tommy soundtrack for my 10th birthday, when I was a 20 year old photographer in Edinburgh I decided to try to take a photo of Pete.

I wrote to Eel Pie and they politely told me “Sorry, Pete’s a bit busy right now...” I wrote a few more times and on April 4, in the second post, was an Eel Pie envelope. I will never, ever forget the excitement when I read the words “Pete says that since you are obviously such a ‘tryer' he will try to fit you into his schedule so that you can take a photograph of him."

A month later I bused down to London with a camera, 2 rolls of film and some sandwiches. When you’re 20 years old and Pete Townshend walks into a room it can be overwhelming and at that moment I forgot how to speak. Sitting on a bench on the banks of the Thames we discussed photography, music and America.

I live in California now. I’ve been a photographer my whole adult life and have seen some pretty big productions but no photoshoot comes close to the thrill of this naive little session that I was so lucky to have on May 2, 1986.

Rory Earnshaw