I first came across the photo – that I based this image on – around 1986. It featured on the cover of a cassette tape that I purchased, titled ‘Secrets of Power’ – a recording of a talk given by RAW in January 1986. (See my RAW semantics blog post about the ‘Secrets of Power’ recording). The photo was credited on the cassette sleeve to Duncan Harvey. (You can see the cassette cover and a small crop of the original photo at the bottom of this page).
Almost three decades later, in 2014, more photos of RAW, from the same photoshoot by Duncan, came to light (for more info see here and here). My favourite remains the one used on ‘Secrets of Power’ – I think it has the potential of becoming an “iconic” image of RAW. But for an image to become iconic, it has to be widely seen, preferably in various versions and media formats. Which, alas, doesn’t seem the case with this image, to date – possibly because RAW’s face looks somewhat grainy and low-detail in the original photo (see below for example).
Anyway, I tried upscaling the image with AI face-recovery software, and used the result from that as a basis for creating a new image. The AI-upscaling provided a much higher definition of facial features to work with.
For the new image, I had in mind a sort of cyberpunk comic-book look, since that seemed apt for the bitchin’ cool, both of the original photo and RAW’s talk that it covered, and also the audiences that attended these talks of RAW in London in the 1980s and early 90s – mostly young/hipster!
I liked the resulting image, so I did a few different versions…