Graham Nash is an English photographer, song writer and singer, renowned for his contributions to The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in terms of songwriting. As far as photography is concerned, he is a collector and his photographic work has been published. In 2010, he was made officer of Order of the British Empire for his services to charity and music. He has honorary doctorates, including one from Lesley University, Massachusetts in fine arts and another from University of Salfordin in music.
Since childhood, Nash was fond of photography and from 1970s began collecting photographs. Nash’s father bought him a camera from his close colleague at work and took him to take pictures in Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo.
By the year 1976, Graham Nash had collected around thousand photographic prints for which he hired a curator, Graham Howe, to present in traveling exhibitions from 1978 to 1984 around the world. In 1990, Nash decided to sell his collection of 2,000 photographs through a well-known auction abode, Sotheby’s.
Since 1960s, when his musical career started, people have been taking thousands of pictures of Nash and so he realizes that as and when a person knows that their photo is being taken they act like James Dean. This is why Nash doesn’t want his photography subjects to be aware of the presence of a camera. In 1969, he took an image of Joni Mitchell from the back of a chair while she was sunk in listening to Clouds, her album. He took only one picture and according to him and Joni, it was perfect.
In 1980s, Nash began experimenting with digital imagery on computer with R. Mac Holbert assisting him. Holbert was the travel manager at the time of his band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; in addition he handled technical and computer matters for the group. Holbert and Nash tried commercial printing device such as Fujix inkjets from the University of California‘s digital printing center. However, later Nash had to shift to using the Iris printing device built by IRIS Graphics, Inc. Fortunately, Nash met David Coons, a color engineer and programmer for Disney, through the sales representative Steve Boulter at IRIS. Coons use to work on producing Nash’s work in his free time with the in-house printer at Disney. In 1990, Graham Nash purchased his own personal printer and set up a mobile house on Manhattan Beach in California. Coons and Boulter printed large photos taken by Nash for a show called, Sunlight on Silver that included 1,750 portraits of celebrities by Nash. Afterwards, his photographs were exhibited in San Diego at Museum of Photographic Arts.
Graham Nash has also released photography books. Eye to Eye is a photo book containing 150 images by Nash, suggesting that the musician as a unique eye to catch moments that commonly people don’t get to see. The book displays his mastery in visual arts as well. Taking Aim another book featuring memorable rock ‘n’ roll images selected by Nash that includes vibrant pictures of some of the most notorious musicians of the world, like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Michael Stipe and Sting. This collection included photographs taken by celebrated photographers, such as Annie Leibovitz, Charles Peterson, Daniel Kramer, and others.
Overall, Nash’s photographic portfolio includes pictures of street life, self-portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and portraits of friends and family. The photographs were mostly black and white. Nash’s photography influencers have been photographers like Weegee, Diane Arbus, and Sebastião Salgado.