This story originally appeared on PROVOKR.COM, a multimedia brand that offers access to the best in provocative arts & entertainment.
In 2003, Dublin-born Charles Moriarty got a job working as a still photographer in the London music industry. That same year, 20-year-old Amy Winehouse released her debut album, Frank, which went on to sell more than one million copies and inspired one British music critic to proclaim, “It is rare for such a young performer to debut with such assurance, confidence and to such instant acclaim, but North London sensation Amy Winehouse already has a reputation that many far more seasoned artists would swap their gold discs for.”
Prior to Frank’s release, as Winehouse’s record label was struggling to find the right cover art for her album, they called up her friend Moriarty, who set up two photo shoots with Winehouse—one in London, one in New York—in which he captured the singer on the brink of stardom. There’s a candid of a beaming Winehouse sitting atop a clothes dryer in a grungy laundry room. A profile shot of Winehouse (wearing purple lightning bolt earrings) applying lipstick in front of a bathroom mirror. A fresh-faced Winehouse in a bubble-gum pink dress holding a dog on a leash—the shot that would become Frank’s cover art.
As British filmmaker Asif Kapadia—the man who won an Oscar for his documentary, Amy, which charted the euphoric rise and tragic death of Winehouse—put it: “Over the years I have seen thousands of images of Amy, by brilliant photographers from all over the world, but Charles Moriarty’s photos stood out…I felt I finally saw the real Amy, the girl before the fame.”
Moriarty has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Before Frank, a photography book that will feature 50 of these previously unpublished photos. "For me, the hardest thing after her passing was there was nothing being published that was really Amy,” says Moriarty. “This is the only Amy I know. She had a lot more to her than addiction. She was vivacious, amazingly talented, joyful and innocent.” Click the link above to see few of the images Moriarty captured of Winehouse in the days before she became famous.