Not a band that springs to mind if asked to list household names. Nevertheless, Tindersticks have an incredibly devoted and loyal group of fans. Here’s Phil again, talking about this shoot with Stuart A. Staples.
Tindersticks, Stuart A. Staples, Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, Devon, early 2001; this is the full frame version of the image used on the cover of the album, ‘Can Our Love’.
I’d not really been around Donkeys in my time, this was a first, a bit of a revelation. What amazing creatures they are! At the beginning of the shoot we went into a huge, covered enclosure which was just full of them - loads of donkeys! What surprised me was the silence as we moved among them. I went in with all six members of the band and we just wandered, taking pictures, stroking our hosts! Men in suits with animals milling around…it was a strange one and I do remember wondering what I could capture from this unusual happening.
I needn’t have worried and as the day passed, we just explored. I grabbed what I could - donkey shadows can be amazing by the way. I’ve been going back through the set which led to this cover image and I’d forgotten the sequence. Stuart was attempting to keep…Bobtail, (was this Bobtail? I do have a record of this but can’t lay my hands on it right now), occupied. The secret was a packet of biscuits. Ginger Nuts to be precise. That’s how we got the photo, by indulging this beautiful creature, (Bobtail, not Stuart!), in a packet of Ginger Nuts. This isn’t too irreverent is it, killing the magic? Anyway, the sequence of these images is wonderful with Stuart, captured, laughing in so many of them, it wasn’t easy to get that moment of stillness. Would posting a block of uncensored images from the contact sheet dispel the magic? I hope not.