‘Halfway through the shoot, a Lambretta scooter arrived for Liam and he took off up the street with me shouting after him: “Come back!”’

One of the first jobs I did was the cover for All in the Mind by the Verve. That one photo got me a lot of work – and on to Noel Gallagher’s radar. You already knew the Gallaghers were going to be stars. Some bands act really relaxed, but when you pick the camera up you’ve got four blocks of wood. Oasis weren’t like that. Their confidence was incredible.

The cover shot I did for Definitely Maybe, their 1994 debut album, ended up being completely different from how they envisaged it. Noel had seen a shot of the Beatles in Japan where they’re all sitting around this coffee table. His idea was that the band would be photographed around the dining table at [guitarist] Bonehead’s house in West Didsbury, Manchester. I was disappointed: “We’re not going anywhere exotic?”

I went to have a recce and thought: “What are they going to be doing at the table? Playing cards? Having a seance?” There was no way I could see it working. Then I thought: “Well, if we have to do it in Bonehead’s house, let’s shoot in the lounge towards the bay window.”

It’s a tiny room. I had to whack in a wide-angle lens just to get everyone in. But Bonehead had stripped floorboards – and with that lens, it looked like an advert for Ronseal varnish. It was a real problem. I’d not long ago been to the Egyptology section of the Manchester Museum and it came to me to have Liam lying on the floor in a kind of transcendental state with his eyes closed, like he’s not of this world. Is he alive, is he dead? I thought it’d be pretty surreal and also solve the problem of filling that space. I was nervous about mentioning it to Liam. Asking the lead singer to lie on the floor: a lot of bands wouldn’t have gone for that. But Liam was up for it straight away.

The shoot was littered with Red Stripe cans, but there was no way I was having them in the shot, because it would just look like product placement. They wanted some reference to alcohol in there, though, so I said: “Let’s get some wine.” It’s actually Ribena in the glass, though. The urban myth is that it’s because they couldn’t afford wine, but that’s complete rubbish. When I was at art college, I learned that when you photograph “red wine”, you always use diluted Ribena, because wine just comes out black.

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