Banksy’s official photographer for a period of 11 years has revealed many of the trials and tribulations the pair faced while the infamous graffiti artist spray-painted his works around the globe. Also working as his agent for a time, he says it was his responsibility to see that Banksy was never arrested. “We were lawless and did just what we wanted,” he says.
Steve Lazarides met Banksy while on a magazine assignment in the late 90s. Both hailing from Bristol, UK and sharing a love for graffiti art, the photographer says the pair were an instant match.
In his new self-published book, Lazarides is giving away many of the duo’s secrets. For example, their trick to never getting arrested was simply wearing hi-vis jackets and using traffic cones. “Nobody stops you if you have them,” he says. The closest the pair got to ever facing police was when a few transgender sex workers misconstrued some of Banksy’s work as being homophobic and called the cops.
Another tactic of theirs was having Lazarides pretend to be a film producer and giving Banksy a written note of permission.
Readers hoping for a glimpse of Banksy’s identity, however, are due for disappointment. Any shot that doesn’t have the artist facing away from the camera has his face concealed. We can see from his hands, though, that he is Caucasian.
The stories and accompanying photographs can be found in Lazarides’ book, Banksy Captured, which is approved by the artist himself. After two successful editions, he says he may even do a third “if [he] can find where the files on my hard drive have gone.”