Music photographer Mick Hutson has died, aged 58

Music photographer Mick Hutson
(Image credit: Mick Hutson)

The family of legendary music photographer Mick Hutson has confirmed that he died on Thursday, 1 June 2023, aged 58. 

Mick photographed many of the biggest names in music and his work appeared in almost every music magazine in the world – Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Q, Select, Total Guitar, Guitar World and more. 

“Look at all this chaos! It's all your fault, Mick!"

Lars Ulrich

His pictures were also used on official album releases by Nirvana, AC/DC, Primal Scream, Jeff Buckley, Queens of the Stone Age, Mike Oldfield, Aswad, Oasis, Judas Priest and more.  

Hutson started his career, working for legendary photographer David Redfern. When he struck out on his own, his first magazine commission was from Select magazine to go on tour with U2

He barely stood still from that day onwards. His pictures appeared in all of the big music magazines of the time and he became Metal Hammer’s go-to photographer. Every Glastonbury he'd hang out of a helicopter for Q magazine to take their aerial shot of the crowd. Britpop, nu-metal, old metal, grunge, classic rock, indie – he shot it all.

WEMBLEY ARENA Photo of Steven TYLER and AEROSMITH, Steven Tyler performing live onstage (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Aerosmith at Wembley Arena, 1993 (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

The stories are legion. He once stopped the traffic in New York to get the shot below of Metallica walking in the middle of the street. Cab drivers honked their horns and crowds gathered. 

“Within sixty seconds NYPD appeared on horseback,” recalls Chris Ingham, who worked with Huston for nearly 30 years across Metal Hammer and more.

“One of them shouted 'Hey, Metallica, you want me to close the fuckin' street down?' He meant it. So did Mick. The cop radioed his mate at the other end of the street and they brought two patrol cars across the top of it and literally closed down NYC.

“Then the shit hit the fan: Horns blared, people stopped their motors dead, a cabbie was jumping up and down on his own car cursing all us assholes."

The killer shot (below) has Lars Ulrich pointing. He was saying to Hutson: “Look at all this chaos! It's all your fault, Mick!"

Metallica walking in the street in nYC

Hutson's famous Metallica shot, 2003. Lars was saying: “Look at all this chaos! It's all your fault, Mick!" (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Sarah Hards knew Mick as a teenager and went on to work with him for years as Art Editor at Metal Hammer. "Anyone who's worked with Mick will tell you what a talented, professional, down-to-earth and friendly character he is," she says. 

"He always went above and beyond to deliver. The attention to detail was meticulous: tracking ambient lighting and camera angles so people looked like they were standing next to each other, even though they were shot on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Always finding superb solutions to complex shots when Photoshop was still in its infancy."

Hards also says that despite a hard-partying reputation, Mick was at heart a sensitive family man, devoted to his children. "There certainly was a big part of Mick that nobody ever saw or understood," she says. "He was sensitive and spiritual. He shared with me  – and very occasionally on Facebook – some of his poems. 

"He would look for beautiful details in nature often overlooked, capture photos as only Mick could."

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters, 1999 (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

When music mag budgets shrank, Hutson took up travel photography and reportage. He shot child soldiers in Rwanda and travelled with a reporter in Afghanistan. On one occasion he was kidnapped by Tuaregs somewhere in Africa. ISIS came to claim him but by the time they got there, the Tuaregs refused to give him up. Why? Because he'd taken such good photos of their kids. 

It was just one of many astonishing stories that he's left behind, along with some classic images. Below are just a handful more of those many hundreds of great shots. Our thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace, Mick.

Paul McCartney 1998

Paul McCartney, 1998 (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)


Ice-T, 1998 (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Ozzy and Zakk Wylde

Ozzy and Zakk Wylde, 2001 (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)

Mick Hutson shots

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Getty)
Scott Rowley

Scott is the Content Director of Music at Future plc, which means he’s responsible for the editorial strategy on online and print brands like Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, Guitarist, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Total Guitar etc. He was Editor in Chief of Classic Rock for 10 years and Editor of Total Guitar for 4 years. Scott appears on Classic Rock’s podcast, The 20 Million Club, and was the writer/researcher on 2017’s Mick Ronson documentary Beside Bowie.