EYE CANDY

See Rare Photographs Of Prince Before He Was Prince, and Just 19 Years Old

It’s been 40 years since the photographer Robert Whitman heard an early demo of Prince‘s song “Soft and Wet,” and became so taken with the musicians that he agreed to photograph him for a couple of Minneapolis music managers—even though at that point Prince Rogers Nelson, as he was then known, was only just barely known and only 19 years old. The photos—and, of course, Prince’s demo—ultimately ended up in him being signed to Warner Bros., and it wasn’t long before Prince headed off from Minneapolis to California to make some much more official recordings. These days, though, they also give a rare glimpse at what Prince was like when he wasn’t entirely done up, and instead a teenager wandering the streets of his hometown in jeans and turtlenecks—a stark change from the extravagant ensembles, including everything from high heels to bedazzled canes, he’s been so remembered for since his untimely death last year. Get to know Prince Pre-Fame, as he’s known in the series that Whitman has now published as a limited-edition book available on Vero, here.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.

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Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.