Prince: A Private View by Afshin Shahidi, Foreword by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, St. Martin’s Press, US $35.00, Pp 236, October 2017, ISBN 978-1250134431
In 1993, Prince wrote “slave” on his face. Two years before the release of debut Destiny’s Child, he said, “People think I’m a crazy fool for writing ‘slave’ on my face. But if I can’t do what I want to do, what am I?” This was also the year when Afshin Shahidi met Prince for the first time. After a few photo and video sessions with Prince, Shahidi was picked as Prince’s permanent cinematographer. Shahidi was so good that soon he became one of the few people who was allowed to photograph Prince. Shahidi remained Prince’s trusted photographer and videographer till Prince’s death on April 21, 2016. Shahidi was the only photographer to shoot Prince at 3121 private parties in Los Angeles that were the most sought-after invitations in Hollywood. In Prince, Afshin Shahidi shares some of the iconic photographs (many of them for the first time) taken between 2001 and 2010. Along with the photos, he also shares the stories behind those photos.
In the Foreword, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter says that Prince was an innovator, an independent thinker, a revolutionary, a businessman, a masterful musician, a multi-instrumentalist, a singer, a songwriter, and my mentor. She writes, “When Prince walked into the rehearsals, dressed impeccably from head to toe, he greeted everyone with a shy, almost mischievous smile and a commanding presence. There were many teachable moments during those rehearsals and Prince proved to be a generous teacher. Most of the gems I will keep only in my heart, but I will say that preparing for that performance and taking it to the Grammy stage on February 8, 2004, will continue to be a highlight of my career.”
Afshin Shahidi says “Prince changed how I interact with the world. He gifted my family with the knowledge that his support was never waning. He surrounded me with equally passionate artists, many of whom I am still friends. His absence is overwhelming. His death is still a bad dream”
Prince will help you better understand the personality, music and their impact on the world. This visual memorabilia opens a window into the private and intimate life of Prince and tell the hitherto untold story of the great music icon. Many of these photographs tell the story of Prince’s romantic life we were still unaware of, which shows the kind of trust Prince had in Afshin Shahidi. More than one hundred photographs were never seen before and many of these photographs have the same qualities as a painting has. It is simply a pleasure to hold or look at this beautifully manufactured book. It is a must-have for all music lovers.