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Retna agency founder photographer Michael Putland dies aged 72

Michael in his home darkroom. Photo by Michael’s wife Sophie Putland

RIP music photographer and photo agency founder Michael Putland who has died aged 72. He died peacefully at home in the UK after a short illness.

The Retna photo agency was established in 1977 by Michael – The photo collection includes celebrities and pop culture icons, along with fashion and event images from the 60s to early 80s. It includes rare early photos of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Elton John, David Bowie, ABBA, KISS, Bruce Springsteen and hundreds of other major performing artists, as well fashion models including Heidi Klum and other celebrities and icons.
While Michael’s photography is now with Getty Images – in 2005 Retna UK and Retna US were sold and became separate entities – Corbis then represented Retna US in 2009. Retna UK went to Photoshot (now Avalon)
In January 2019 the assets of Retna USA were acquired by Globe Photos including more than 750,000 negatives and 250,000 vintage prints, as well as the Retna Photo Agency name and its database of contacts and photographers. Earlier this year Globe Photos partnered with MediaPunch.


  • Michael was a legend and an inspiration to many young photographers growing up in the 70’s era. He sure was for me. I would see his brilliant photos weekly in the British music paper Sounds. There were so many amazing photos, my favorite was Bryan Ferry in tennis shorts. I always wanted to meet Mike. RIP.

  • How do you even put words fitting enough for this man? Michael was not only brilliant but he had a kind heart, a love for photography and all that were part of it. He understood the changes in this industry and I welcomed and respect his advise back in the day and more recently. We lost one of the greats!! RIP sweet Michael!

  • Sigh. Michael was one of a kind. A gentle soul with unbound talent and creativity. Always so down to earth. It was an honor to work for him.

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