Simon Fowler: The Man Behind Queen’s Iconic Photography

Simon Fowler: The Man Behind Queen’s Iconic Photography

By Fiona Adams

Back in 1981, renowned music photographer Simon Fowler received a phone call that would change his life. The line was a bit fuzzy and the Teddington-based snapper was a little distracted but after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, it turned out to be a booking for a band recording in Munich. Not just any band, mind you, but one at the very peak of their powers – Queen – laying down tracks for Hot Space at the city’s Musicland Studios.

With a mere ten minutes promised to capture the notoriously camera-shy Roger Taylor, Brian May, John Deacon and Freddie Mercury, Simon was not exactly sure what to expect, but the ten minutes turned into three hours and well, the rest is history. Queen loved Simon’s work and the feeling was mutual, Simon “loved every minute”. From there, he went on to photograph sessions with the band for over a decade, right up until Mercury’s final album, Innuendo, capturing memorable moments from hits along the way, such as Radio Ga Ga and I want to Break Free.

Simon continues his association with Queen to this day through the Mercury Pheonix Trust (MPT), which was set up in 1992 by the band’s manager Jim Beach, Brian May and Roger Taylor following Freddie’s death from HIV/AIDS the previous year. The Trust raises funds – £17million so far – to support education and awareness projects across the world, including with small grass-roots organisations that are often overlooked by larger charities.

To help fund these projects, Simon is selling a collection of limited-edition portraits of the band with 50% of the profits going to MPT. The black-and-white group images include the iconic ‘quad’ shot, with each of the members’ headshots side by side, as well as others taken at the Olympic Studios in Barnes in 1989. “It is such an honour to be able to share my work in this way to raise funds for the charity,” he says. “What they have achieved is truly phenomenal.”

To possess your very own little (local) piece of Queen, simply visit Simon’s website at, choose your favourite and enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling of supporting the Trust at the same time.