His typically gauche, kohl-lined description belies the apparent joy that shines through the images: for all their gothic posturing, it’s clear that the relationship between Vella as a creative and the band as his subject and muse has been one of friendship and collaboration, as much as professionalism.
Designer and photographer Vella has worked with The Cure since 1981, photographing the band and designing album sleeves including Love Cats, Faith and Boys Don’t Cry.
In his illustrious career, he has also created designs for The Smiths and Pavement, for whom he helped create the cover for the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain album alongside frontman Stephen Malkmus.
For his book on The Cure, edited by Karl French and punningly titled Osbscure, Vella chose to remain faithful to the band’s gothic, melodramatic modus operandi; displaying Smith’s foreword as white, painterly handwriting on a black backdrop.
Of his photographs, Vella says, ‘I have no fixed idea of the to age I’m after. I always like and trust spontaneity. I love light and dark and what sits in the middle. I certainly wasn’t feeling intellectual when I took these, I just happened to point the camera in the right direction.’
He adds, ‘With the cure I love putting images to poetry.’
Obscure is published on 18 September by Foruli Codex priced £30. For more information visit http://forulicodex.com/catalogue/obscure