Blake Wood’s intimate photos show Winehouse in moments of tranquillity, simply being Amy
In the winter of January 2008, a 24-year-old Amy Winehouse, then living amidst the success of Back to Black (2006), read the fortune of 22-year-old American photographer Blake Wood with a deck of playing cards. They had only met that day in the home of Kelly Osbourne, and early in the tarot, Winehouse drew an ace of hearts. As a card, it represents the birth of new love and the start of an emotionally fulfilling period. As a symbol, it represented the friendship the duo would form for the rest of Winehouse’s life: an enduring, endearingly close platonic companionship that would see Winehouse through some of her hardest times. “That symbol in itself reminds me of her,” Wood recounts. “Obviously she had that as a tattoo as well – I have that tattoo now too. It ties so much into one symbol.” This story aside, there were many intricate coincidences that indicated the duo were destined to be friends: Amy Winehouse had an ace of hearts tattoo on her wedding finger, Wood shared the same name as Winehouse’s then incarcerated husband, Blake Fielder, and much like the whole world, Back to Black had helped Wood through a break-up.
“She was someone who could go personal very quick… Though it never felt inauthentic, it felt right, it felt like she meant it” – Blake Wood
Over the next two years, Wood spent time photographing Winehouse when she was at peace with the world: the real Amy in moments where she was able to simply be away from the frenzy of her fame and fortune. From candid portraits on nights out bowling in Soho, or at the pub in Camden, to intimate portraits of the self-actualised star living in tranquillity on the island escape of Saint Lucia, Wood’s portraits inevitably change the conversation around Winehouse as an icon. Now, 10 years on since the photos were taken, over 100 portraits along with Wood’s intricate detailing of their friendship is soon to be released in a photobook by Wood titled Amy Winehouse. Starting with an ace of hearts, the book is Wood’s poetic ode to the friendship that changed his life forever.