Photographer Perou has worked everyone from the likes of Courtney Love to Foo Fighters, as well as many other big names in music from pop artists to rappers, plus a long list of celebrities. The subject of his soon to be released book (created with this artist) needs no introduction – it’s Marilyn Manson.
21 Years in Hell, which will be out in the UK on 6th June and can be pre-orded from Reel Art Press, features over 350 photographs of Manson captured by Perou over the last two decades, as well as transcripts between the two that reveal the highs and lows of both their professional and personal relationship. To dive a little deeper we caught up with the man behind the lens, Perou…
What sparked your interest and desire to become a photographer?
Your first collaboration with Marilyn Manson was a cover shoot in 1998, how did that shoot come about?
It was Chris Turner’s fault (aka christ urner) @favcolblk he made me do it. There was a financial incentive. But I WAS already listening to Marilyn Manson’s early works, loudly, in London. It was great music to upset the neighbours with and smash shit up to. I like working with Marilyn Manson: he’s a nice boy (as my mum would say.)
Do you think being a fan of an artist or band is an important factor in being a music photographer, in order to help you understand your subject more?
I was and still am quite partial to a loud bout of Marilyn Manson’s music. The last album was great and the one about to be released is greater: like fine wine (apparently) we’re both improving with age. In my case, practice makes perfect. I shoot a lot of footballers, brilliantly, but I hate football. You dont HAVE to like the music to make great music photos, but I don’t photograph bands and musicians I don’t enjoy listening to, unless the pay me double. It’s been 22 years now, I still don’t understand Marilyn Manson, he’s an enigma.
What has been your most memorable shoot with Manson?
On tour in RUSSIA: girls, drugs, bribery, Harrison Ford, snowball fights and an arctic monkey.
When it comes to photo shoots who comes up with the concepts, or is it more of a collaboration?
There’s some collaboration in that we both reject each other’s ideas and arrive at some greatness in-between. Everything begins and ends with Marilyn Manson.
To follow any artist, especially for almost 21 years, shows both trust, loyalty and a big love for your work, why do you think you work so well together?
Or laziness and habit. Did I used to have a t-shirt that said ‘familiarity breeds contempt’? I’m not the ONLY photographer that Manson works with or that has photographed him in the last 21 years, just the one that’s served the most time. I don’t impose myself upon the artist, no matter what people say.
Having worked with Manson for over two decades, what made you decide to do a book now?
I decided to do a 20 years of Marilyn Manson book but it took me a while for me to get it together and we kept shooting. Finally we had to close entries for submissions to the book, BUT we’ve carried on shooting, so now we’re on vol.2.
When it came to creating the book how much of it was a collaboration between the two of you, did you discuss image selections together?
It was fully a mutual, consensual book making experience. I went to LA with ALL the pictures and we went through them one night. Manson said, “you can use any except these….’ Then Paul @peterandpaul my BFF designer made a first draft on the book and I went back to LA and we went through everything one night, talking about all the stories behind the pictures which we recorded and THAT became the text for the book. The NEXT time I went back with the design and words printed out, Manson had us both read out our ‘parts’ again. Which should have been taped too. Manson was speaking slowly and I was getting annoyed because I was tired and and wanted to speed through it. So I started reading his words as well, which annoyed him because I wasn’t doing his accent right.
If you had to pick one photo from the book, what would you say is your favourite?
All those ones that Manson wouldn’t allow in the book. There was one particular shot of him naked, on tour, holding a bag of boiled eggs in front of his junk.
Why should Marilyn Manson fans buy your book, what can they look forward to?
They dont have to wait for their reward in heaven…Buying the book grants them membership into the ‘people who bought the coolest book in the world’ club, which has no annual subscription or door policy. This book is nutty decent: we spent too much money making it: the paper stock is quality, the design is quality, the photos obviously quality and the subject matter is ok. “You don’t have to take your clothes off to have a good time,” you also don’t have to love Marilyn Manson to appreciate how special this book is – there is nothing else like it.
See more images featured in the book below (click to see them in full view):
Marilyn Manson by Perou. 21 Years in Hell.
Text by Marilyn Manson, Perou
Published by Reel Art Press £49.95 / $69.95.
UK release date 9th June
US release date 23rd June
Pre-order now through Reel Art Press.