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Cathy by John Carder Bush

Behind the Pages explores some of our favourite features and fashion shoots in AnOther Magazine and Another Man

Cathy © John Carder Bush

We explore the magical world of the eight-year-old Kate Bush through amazing photographs taken by her brother

The Document section of AnOther Magazine is always filled with unique vignettes, and the latest issue is no different, with guest editor Conor Donlon – founder of Broadway Market bookshop Donlon Books – ranging across the world and into works long departed from the shelves of Waterstones to create a fascinating literary portrait of youth. A particular highlight is Cathy, a book of photographs of an eight-year-old Kate Bush, taken by her older brother John Carder Bush and published in 1986. Here we present an extract from Carder Bush's lyrical introduction, alongside a gallery of images featuring a blunt fringed Cathy cavorting around in costumes and oversized hats, lost in a world of her own imagination.

My name is John Carder Bush. My father comes from rural Essex, and my mother comes from County Waterford. I have a brother eight years younger than me and his name is Patrick, I have a sister fourteen years younger than me, her name was Cathy. She is famous now, and her name is Kate.

Much has changed since these photographs were taken, some almost twenty years ago, and we in her family have changed. The sudden introduction of fame into a human unit forces decision and action, and they change people. But still in the photographs is the “now” as well, and for those that know the later images of Kate there is much to recognise.

"But still in the photographs is the “now” as well, and for those that know the later images of Kate there is much to recognise" — John Carder Bush

The photographs were not meant for any purpose, for me they were just a way of realising the emotional observations that charged around my head at the time. Our lives were filled with trappings of the Celtic Twilight, its poetry and its music. The Pre-Raphaelites and the turn of the century book illustrators were an obsession for me long before the fashion machine born in the sixties plastered Beardsley all over Europe, the Brotherhood into every home.

Most of the costumes she is wearing came from jumble sales and were many sizes too big for her. Under the costumes is my eight year old sister, companionable little friend, loved by us all who was absorbing it all through her quiet, unobtrusive intelligence. Still at the age when she believed that Gandalf lived in a rock garden in Old Bexley, in love with her pets and just beginning to discover that lonely world of self-to-be.

The finding and arranging of each negative has changed my perspective of that part of the past. My memory tells me that certain events happened at a certain point in time – the printed photograph often shows me an inaccuracy in my recall that I fight against accepting; after all, the memory has been unchallenged for many years, but in the face of my disbelief the photo must win. Even with a detailed diary so much is left out; a photograph gives more in a moment and then offers all the titbits of detail – fences that have gone, walls that have been painted, animals that are dead, people that have grown up. The memory grabs for them like something starved.

Find the full extract in the new issue of AnOther Magazine, out now. John Carder Bush's novel, The Cellar Gang, is available here.

Text by John Carder Bush


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