REVIEW: Masterplan 25: Iconic and Unseen Photographs of Oasis, h Club

Offering a fascinating insight into the work of Michael Spencer Jones and the time he spent with Oasis, this exhibition is a must-see.

Liam Stock Hotel– by the Pool –
1997. Photo © Michael Spencer Jones

Although he has worked with artists such as Suede and The Verve in helping them create numerous album covers, it is his work with Oasis that is probably Michael Spencer Jones’s most familiar pieces of photography.

Masterplan 25: Iconic and Unseen Photographs of Oasis is an exhibition that not only reveals how the photographer (along with the strong input of Oasis) helped create some of the most iconic album covers of the 90’s but also offers striking insight into the band themselves.

In particular, the black and white image of the band backstage in Southend brilliantly highlights the tension and anticipation of all the band members. It is not an aggressive image by any means but a frank and honest one that really stands out. It is one of the strongest images of the exhibition, capturing the way in which Michael Spencer Jones never invaded his subjects space but able to still create a photograph that insightful.

Throughout it all, Michael Spencer Jones’s voice guides the viewer expertly through Oasis’s memorable album covers including ‘Definitely Maybe’ and the single cover for ‘Wonderwall’ – offering fascinating stories abut the creation of each image. The photographer is modest about his own part in the creation, making much of the just how involved with ideas for images the band were and there are times when it feels the exhibition becomes more about the band than Jones’s achievements with this collaboration.

Despite this though, the exhibition highlights just how wide and varied influences on each cover were including the Dali inspired cover for ‘Shaker Maker’ that stands out a mile with its bold use of colour and melted effect on objects. This is just one example of how the collaboration between Oasis and Michael Spencer Jones was consistently pushing boundaries and creativity to great effect.

Overall, fans of Oasis will immensely enjoy this exhibition – not least for the chance to recreate the iconic Definitely Maybe album cover. It offers insight and a chance to rediscover the band in a different way as well as appreciate the sharp quality of Michael Spencer Jones’s photography skills.

By Emma Clarendon

Masterplan 25: Iconic and Unseen Photographs of Oasis will be on display at the h Club until the 12th January 2020.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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