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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Paul Hester

1987 (printed 2021)
Alan Mitchell

inkjet print on canvas (sheet: 31 cm x 44 cm)

Born in Melbourne, Paul Hester (1959–2005) was encouraged to play drums by his mother, a jazz drummer. After playing in a few local bands, in 1984 he joined Split Enz, and the following year he, Neil Finn and Nick Seymour co-founded Crowded House. Their self-titled debut album was a critical and commercial success in Australia and around the world. By 1994 Hester was struggling with life on the road and left the band in the middle of a US tour. He later appeared on television and radio shows, including a recurring role as 'Paul the Cook' in The Wiggles. He took his own life in 2005 after a long battle with depression.

Photographer Alan Mitchell took this image of Crowded House during the filming of the music video for 'Something so strong', shot on a farm in the Yarra Valley, Victoria in 1987. This image of Hester, Finn and Seymour shows a more serious side of the musicians on the verge of major international success. 'I had taken numerous shots of Paul on the day when he suddenly said "I think you have taken enough shots of me being funny". At that moment his facial expression changed as I took one last shot.'

Gift of the artist 2021
© Alan Mitchell

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Alan Mitchell

Neil Finn OBE (age 29 in 1987)

Paul Hester (age 28 in 1987)

Nick Seymour (age 29 in 1987)

Crowded House

Subject professions

Performing arts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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