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Lend Me Your Ear is a collaboration between music photographer Andrew Cotterill and illustrator Ben Tallon, in association with Young Urban Arts Foundation and CALM.

This series of images is a celebration of individuality, human energy and creativity. It is a love letter to self-expression, depicting music artists who never attempted to hide the true essence of their character, succeeding because of it and inspiring millions of people along the way.

This project brings Cotterill and Tallon together from two very different generations to explore the magic that attracted them to music and the unique personalities who make it so special.

It is also a reminder to those who are lost and beaten down by the frightening pace of modern life to remember that the strongest of identities can only be found inside. That never changes.

Andy Cotterill is a music photographer working with Mojo, Q, Sony music and more. His iconic photography is known for its warmth, energy and ability to capture the inner character of his subjects.

“Ben approached me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on an idea he’d had. I took a look at his work and the energy felt like a great fit for my photography. How someone else would interpret my images, seeing it all in a new way was fascinating. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with a lot of strong individuals over the years so it represented a chance to celebrate such a varied range of characters and their creativity, people who moved us in some way by staying true to what they are.”

Ben Tallon is an illustrator, artist and host of the Arrest All Mimics podcast. His organic, loose, hand drawn style and hand lettering is recognised with the likes of EMI Records, CALM, The Guardian and NME.

“I wanted to work with Andy because there’s a humanity, an honesty to his photography that captures something vulnerable and unique in each of the many characters he has documented. In today’s world, our feet don’t touch the floor and it’s easy to forget that we each have a unique journey that is valuable, interesting and worth celebrating. We are confronted with so much information, thousands of idyllic daily depictions of what life could be like, but deep down, we’re all a little lost. At a formative age, these musicians showed me why expressing our truest self is crucial if we are to make sense of the world. I want to share that. Creativity is undervalued when it can help people in so many ways. There are no better examples of that than in music.”

The Bigger Picture

There are many themes in Lend Me Your Ear, at the heart of creativity and its benefits for humans. We’d like to address some of these beyond the project. If you’d like to help, we recommend supporting the charities below with your time, money, mind, body and ideas.

Campaign Against Living Miserably

Looking out for the fellas who struggle to talk openly. Boys do cry.

Young Urban Arts Foundation

Young people have a lot of energy and too many have not benefited from the guidance needed to apply it positively in ways that help form a strong sense of identity. Andy and Ben were fortunate enough to find belonging in the arts. These guys do fantastic work helping young people develop skills, creativity and self-esteem.