Just because you have a fucking Instagram page does not make you Perou. That’s your quote.
Perou has been photographing Marilyn Manson for 21 years. This collaboration began in 1998 with a magazine cover shoot and has seen him become Manson’s principle photographer. The result is in this truly unique book, featuring over 350 photographs – many previously unpublished – including conceptual portraits, informal behind-the-scenes pictures and onstage images that give a rare insight into the world of Marilyn Manson. Published by Reel Art Press, the book reads as a visual journey of the pair’s individual and collaborative histories.
As Perou writes, “a collection of fragments in no specific order; as confused as I have been for much of my time in Marilyn Manson’s company. Some visual clues that I use to remember where I’ve been and what I was doing.” Transcripts of conversations between them reveal an intimate bond that has endured the highs and lows of their long-standing professional and personal relationship.
I often get asked, ‘Who was your favourite person to photograph?’ or ‘Who is the best person you’ve photographed?’ It’s always ‘Marilyn Manson’. Which is just as well, considering how many times I’ve photographed him.
Funny, honest, warm and at times raw, this personal reflection is a wonderful portrait of both Marilyn Manson and Perou’s work and tells of Manson’s deep appreciation of all artistic forms of expression. Manson notes: “I was self-taught, especially about art, and that’s why I appreciate photography and why I can look at these pictures selflessly. Usually when I look at a picture, especially the past, I’m very self-critical and it will affect me depending on what mood I’m in.” The mutual respect for each other’s artistry and rapport they share is evident throughout the book.
21 Years in Hell follows Manson and Perou on the musician’s world tours, on shoots across the globe from Moscow to Berlin, nightclubs in London and at Manson’s home above a liquor store on Santa Monica BLVD. As the pair piece together the last two decades, they cover everything from guns, baked beans, family, religion, Columbine, “The last 21 years, dipping in and out of Marilyn Manson’s stratosphere, have been a blur: people, events and places coming in and out of focus. The early years more disorientating than those that followed.”
Of his favourite subject, Perou muses, “Probably all music photographers wanted to be in a band … I’ve always enjoyed dressing up and used to enjoy being the center of attention. Sometimes that’s been a problem; when you turn up looking cooler than the ‘talent’ but I never turned up looking cooler than Marilyn Manson, ever.” In response Manson recalls, “The first time you showed up you had more rings than me.
You look still, and did at the time, like you were going to be in that movie Romper Stomper: bomber jacket, high laced boots, fully British, barely understandable … I became automatically comfortable around you and that’s the most important part. It is funny to look back at it and see it and where it all started.”
Perou is the only photographer Manson has ever really trusted, which emanates through the photographs in 21 Years in Hell. The visual artistry of both Manson’s and Perou’s illustrious careers is celebrated in the book, which also uncovers the inspirations and influences behind Manson’s image and theatrics that include David Bowie, Andy Warhol and David Lynch. It also shows a warmth behind the antihero’s image, and a vulnerability which arose from situations in which he found himself at the centre of controversy.
Poetic and intelligent, Manson reflects on the authoritarian reactions to his iconoclastic performances with: “Unless you want to say that music is so powerful that it could affect the world in such a way that musicians should be in charge, they should be the politicians in the world. If you’re putting that much blame on art, you should also give it that much credit.”
A signed, numbered limited edition release of 21 Years in Hell will also be available exclusively at reelartpress.com.
Born in the UK in 1970, Perou is regarded as one of the world’s leading portrait photographers having worked with numerous famous artists, bands and personalities, including Al Gore, David Attenborough, Led Zeppelin, Coldplay, Damien Hirst, Gillian Anderson, David Beckham, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, the Spice Girls, Tracey Emin and U2. He has been the premier photographer of Marilyn Manson since 1998.
Reel Art Press R|A|P stands for exceptional style and a unique curatorial eye. It stands for luxury and class, the highest production values, and a sensitivity to an eclectic selection of subject matter and material. It stands for rare, unpublished and unusual work including subjects with mass appeal and limited editions with unlimited potential. The company has made headlines around the world with its previous releases, which include: Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music, Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin, Burt Glinn: The Beat Scene, Total Excess: Photographs by Michael Zagaris and Billy Name: The Silver Age.
Book Information £49.95 / $69.95 ISBN: 978-1-909526-69-3, 272pp; Hardback; 300+ Photographs; 322 x 245 mm Published by Reel Art Press, June 2020