In the autumn of 1977, Robert Whitman was approached by the managers of a then-unkown Minneapolis musician with a demo tape in the hope that he would take some promotional photographs of their new artist. From the moment Whitman heard Prince’s “Soft And Wet” he was sold.
“The first time I heard Prince voice was in “Soft and Wet”. I was in the car with Gary Levinson, his business manager. After the first minute I looked at my friend and said “ This is more than special”. It was just different and I did not know who he was.” – Robert Whitman
He began to shoot 19-year-old Prince all over the city, from the streets, car parks and Minneapolis’s famous music wall to his manager’s house. As the first professional photographer ever to shoot Prince, Whitman has now released the never-seen-before photos as one beautiful book: Prince Pre Fame.
The book compiles pretty much all of Whitman’s archives from that particular photography session – it’s 200 pages deep, features 71 works, 18 contact sheets, a whopping total of 648 images, the original 1977 press brochure and diary entries from Prince’s then business manager Gary Levinson. Plus there’s a tribute essay from Spike Lee.