Aussie Photographer Tony Mott Rocks the NSW State Library

Aussie rock photographer Tony Mott has led a dazzling career capturing some of the best moments in rock history. For a limited time, his work can be viewed in the What A Life! Exhibition at the NSW State Library.

The Rolling Stones

From Midnight Oil to Mental as Anything to the Divinyls, we Australians pride ourselves on our rock. It permeates our culture, like Sunday barbeques and summer sport. So the new exhibition of Tony Mott’s rock photography at the NSW State Library seems particularly fitting as we approach the summer months, celebrating the best of Australian culture.

For over thirty years, Tony Mott has been at the forefront of rock photography in Australia. When you pin up a poster of your favourite Aussie rock star, chances are you’re looking at an image captured by Tony Mott. Now, over three hundred photographs taken by Mott over the course of his stellar career are on show in the What A Life! exhibition at the NSW State Library until the 7th of February.

Angus Young of AC/DC

Mott was born in Sheffield, England. But in the true carefree Australian spirit, Mott fell into his career as a photographer. He started out as a chef on a cruise ship. But when he began photographing Chrissy Amphlett of The Divinyls in the early 1980s, that all changed. The band manager, Vince Lovegrove, became curious about his work and purchased some of his photographs.

Chrissy Amphlett of the Divinyls
Chrissy Amphlett

One of those photographs was chosen as the band’s next official tour poster, and Mott’s career as a rock photographer was born. Since then he’s been one of Australia’s most prolific photographers. Aussie photographers take the spotlight in Fashion Industry Broadcast’s Masters of Photography Vol. 3.

Mott went on to photograph the likes of Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac. His work is marked by a talent for connecting with his subjects, an irrepressible sense of fun and a deep, deep love of music. His professional name, Tony Mott, is inspired by what he credits as the most influential band in his life – Mott the Hoople. In Mott’s biography he tells us,

“Everyone should have a Mott the Hoople.”

Midnight Oil


Mott’s photography tracks the evolution of rock in Australia and on the world stage. He captures the exhilaration and enormity of each moment, and now the public can get a taste of it at What A Life!

The What A Life! exhibition is open at the Mitchell & Dixson Galleries, the NSW State Library, from 17 October 2015 – 7 February 2016.

All images © Tony Mott.