Peterborough artist, who overcame drug addiction with help from Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood, opens new exhibition

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174347009
Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174347009
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A photographer has been able to get more satisfaction into his life after a chance meeting with a member of the Rolling Stones put his life back on track.

Nathan Browning (35) was struggling with a drug habit when he bumped into Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood in London.

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174433009

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174433009

Nathan, a former Deacons School pupil who grew up in Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, befriended the music icon, and was asked to take a series of photographs of the star, which helped him rid himself of his addiction.

Now Nathan is hosting a gallery of the personal pictures of Mr Wood in London.

He said: “I was driving my car along Kings Road in London in May 2010, when I saw Ronnie Wood and his then girlfriend at a T-junction.

“I had my camera in the back of the car, and thought about going to ‘pap’ him, but it was not in my nature.

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174444009

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174444009

“I put a Stones CD on in the car to try and get some karma.

“A few minutes later I saw a large group of people outside an art shop. Ronnie came out carrying a big easel.

“I offered to give him a hand, and he put the easel into the car. He put the picture in the car, and got into the passenger seat, while his girlfriend got into the back.

“The Stones CD was still in the player, so I was driving along Kings Road with Ronnie Wood playing air guitar in the passenger seat along to the Rolling Stones. It was very surreal.”

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174455009

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174455009

After the meeting Nathan showed Ronnie his portfolio, and was asked to take a series of photographs at his house.

But while taking the photographs, Ronnie was able to inspire Nathan.

He said: “My uncle had taught me how to play the guitar, but he had a drug problem. I started taking drugs at a young age as a result - he introduced me to things like methodone when I was about 14, and I started truanting and running away a lot.

“I had just started art school, having had a change of path following a break-up with a girlfriend, who I had been with for seven years.

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174534009

Nathan Browning, local photographer, with his pictures of Ronnie Wood EMN-150407-174534009

“I was never a full blown junkie, but I was taking heroin. When I met Ronnie, he was just starting to go clean.

“I thought if it was something Ronnie Wood can do, then I thought it was something I could do. Seeing how he coped with what he had done, he was a big influence on me.

“I have now been clean for a few years, and I put a lot of that down to Ronnie.

“I think to be able to inspire people in that way is one of the biggest things a person can give,

“I now mentor a couple of people at the moment, and that is something that gives me a real buzz.”

Nathan is now working on his new project, supplying all the art work for the five star Hyatt Hotel in Azerbaijan.

He said: “Along with photography, I also do art and poetry, which is a very personal thing for me.

“I have to do 32 unique images for the hotel.

“I also have a body of work from when I was in Peterborough. I documented four years of visiting heroin and crack dens in Peterborough. It can be a bit gruesome, but there is also a lot of intimacy there, so there is a possibility I might exhibit some of that work in the future.”

The exhibition of Nathan’s work opened in The Exhibitionist Hotel in Queensberry Place, South Kensington, London yesterday, and will remain in place for a month.

The London exhibition also includes work from Dragons’ Den winner Guy Portelli.

Manhad Narulaowner of thr Exhibitionist Hotel said: “We are delighted that both Nathan and Guy have chosen to show their work at The Exhibitionist Hotel and we’re happy to facilitate this art moment and we’re sure the exhibition will be a hit with music fans and admirers of sculpture and artistic photography.”

For more information about the exhibition visit www.theexhibitionisthotel.com/