Photographer Sharon Latham has spoken of how a friendship formed over a love of Man City bloomed into her being invited on the road to shoot for what would become Noel Gallagher’s first ever book.
Any Road Will Get Us There (If We Don’t Know Where We’re Going) tells the behind-the-scenes story of Noel’s biggest ever world tour with his band The High Flying Birds and the making of his critically-acclaimed album ‘Who Built The Moon?’ – told through the stunning images of former Man City photographer Sharon Latham and the words of Noel and his bandmates Mike Rowe, Chris Sharrock, Russell Pritchard, Gem Archer, Jessica Greenfield , Charlotte Marionneau and YSEÉ.
“We were doing a photo shoot with him and Carlos Tevez, and that was the first time I met him,” Latham told NME. “I think that was 2009 or 2010. From there on our paths crossed all time because he was either at a game, in a box or doing something for City TV. We became friends quite quickly through always bumping into each other.
“We’ve both got a very dry sense of humour and we bonded. He realised I was both a good Northern lass and a Man City supporter. He would text me to ask if I was going to various City events and we bonded because we were both obsessed with football.”
Speaking of how she ended up on tour with Noel, Latham continued: “The first interview that “Pep” [Josep Guardiola] ever did was with Noel, and that was my last shoot before I left the club. I put my foot in the water and asked to go on a few gigs with Noel on tour and he said ‘Yeah, Shaz – no problem’. I did quite a few of his festivals back in 2016 and that’s when I started shooting backstage and onstage.
“When the tour started in 2018 I messaged him and said ‘Can I come shoot a couple of gigs for you?’ He said ‘Yeah, come to America’. I was only supposed to be there for two weeks and it turned into a year.”
Asked about her highlight of life on the road with the band, Latham said that she was often starstruck – but largely just drawn in by the ‘family atmosphere’ of the High Flying Birds.
“Going backstage after the LA gig and bumping into Bradley Cooper, that was the one,” Latham told NME. “You just don’t normally do that on a Saturday night. Lars [Ulrich, drummer] from Metallica was there too which was surreal. The camaraderie on the tour as a whole has been my favourite thing.
“It sounds really cheesy but it’s been really family-orientated. They’re such a good group of people. It’s such a laugh.”
If she learned anything about Noel while on tour, it was that his temperament may not be as aggressive as the public perception might have you believe.
“I knew a lot about him from knowing him for a while anyway, but from being on tour with him you realise that he’s a lot happier than he makes out sometimes,” Latham went on. “He can be such a grumpy tosser, but if you look at the book then you’ll see a lot of happy, smiling photos and they’re not posed. He’s the most happy and relaxed that I’ve seen him for a long time.
“The fact that Noel is working at his own pace and on his own terms has made him a happier man. His wit and his dry sense of humour is absolutely second to none. He’s so sharp. You’re like, ‘Wow, did he sleep in a knife drawer?’”
Her favourite snap from the book also turns out to be a shot of Noel in the toilet.
“One of my favourite pictures of Noel on the road is of him warming up. He does it every night and usually has a room for it, but there’s a photo I got of him in Houston, Texas of him warming up in a bog. You may be a rock god and spreading your love to millions, but you still have to warm up in a bog. I think that’s hilarious.
“As I was walking past afterwards, he was like ‘Have you just fucking photographed me?’ I was like ‘I might have done…’”
Latham also enjoyed the variety that comes with shooting Noel’s resident scissor-player Charlotte Marionneau.
“I’ve got thousands of scissor shots,” she laughed. “Every night was slightly different with Charlotte. She’d hold them differently or wear a different cape. Not one scissor shot is the same. Trying to perfect that perfect scissor shot is a skill.”