Purple Reign: Photographer Brian Ach shares his experiences of working with Prince
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Purple Reign: Photographer Brian Ach shares his experiences of working with Prince

Paris, France. June 2011. Brian wanted to show what it was like to experience a Prince performance, so he decided to shoot in a more artistic and editorial way than is typical for concert photography. This is the first shot he showed Prince, which was the shot that defined Brian's stint as Prince's tour photographer. Photo by Brian Ach for NPG Records 2011.

Celebrity and concert photographer Brian Ach was Prince's European tour photographer during the artist's 2011 "Welcome 2" tour through North America, Europe and Australia. Brian shared some of his tour stories with us in his closing talk at PIX 2015, and this morning he chatted again with us about his experience photographing and working with Prince, following the musician's death this week, aged 57.

You were hired to photograph the European leg of Prince's tour in 2011. As a huge fan of his music, and knowing his reputation for hard work and high expectations, how did you approach this job?

I didn't get a chance to meet Prince before the first show in Paris. Since I didn't have any direction from him about how or what I should shoot, I decided that I was going to be true to myself and shoot the show the way I thought it should be shot. I decided to go for broke and shoot it in an artistic way, to make it worthy of his art and his performance.

When I was ready to deliver the edits to Prince after the show, I opted not to show them to him in chronological order. Instead, I picked what I considered to be the most interesting 6 or 7 shots and put those first. Prince entered the room and said, "You have something to show me," so I pulled the first picture up on the screen. He stared at it for 15 seconds in complete silence and then got up and walked out of the room. I assumed I was going to get fired after a single shot, but a minute later Prince walked back in with his whole band. He pointed at the screen and said, "Look at that," and then stood back with a smile on his face. He asked his manager, "Where did you find this guy?" and I answered, "Queens." He laughed, and from that moment we had an understanding. He expected the best, so as long as I did my best work, we'd work well together.