Freddie Mercury unseen photos: Brian May releases new-found private images of Queen bandmates

18 March 2021, 12:41 | Updated: 18 March 2021, 13:07

Brian May has released a brand-new selection of backstage images of Freddie Mercury and his Queen bandmates Pictured (L to R) Mary Austin, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor.
Brian May has released a brand-new selection of backstage images of Freddie Mercury and his Queen bandmates Pictured (L to R) Mary Austin, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor. Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D

By Giorgina Hamilton

Private pictures of Freddie Mercury relaxing backstage and at home has been released by his Queen bandmate Brian May to celebrate the latest edition of the book, Queen in 3-D.

Brian May has released a brand-new selection of backstage images of Freddie Mercury and his Queen bandmates.

The photos show Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon relaxing off-stage and includes a photo of Mercury with his long-time love, Mary Austin.

See more: Hear Freddie Mercury’s spine-tingling acapella voice in backstage video from last Queen concert

The images come from Brian May's private collection of photos he took while travelling with the band and form part of a book, the first published with an intimate view from the inside by a founder band member.

Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin on a train in late 1970's
Brian May's private photos include Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin relaxing on a train in 1977 (pictured). Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D
Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor backstage makeup
Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor getting ready backstage before a concert in the later 1970's. Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D

Brian May's book Queen in 3-D features over 360 personal pictures taken by the Queen guitarist on his stereoscopic 3-D camera.

See more: Queen: Freddie Mercury and Brian May's private hotel jam session from 1986 is magnificent

From an early age Brian would travel with a stereo (3-D) camera in hand, so on Queen tours and during recordings he was able to capture rare behind-the-scenes moments of one of the world’s greatest rock bands.

Some of the photographs had not even been fully processed until the book was in the making and initially thought by Brian to be a quick job, this project turned into a labour of love for May and his team which spanned three years.

See more: Queen’s Brian May giving a tutorial on how to play ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is so soothing

For the ultimate 'virtual reality' experience, the images in the book can be viewed through its accompanying 3-D lens and every photo's context is explained intimately by Brian May himself.

Freddie Mercury topless reading a book in his dressing room
Freddie Mercury can be seen topless and reading a book in his dressing room in the candid snap taken by Brian May. Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D
Freddie Mercury and John Deacon at an airport.
Freddie Mercury poses in front of an aeroplane with John Deacon behind him at some time in the early '80s. Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D

See more: Spine-tingling moment Brian May plays a staggering guitar solo to an empty stadium

“The whole process of writing this new kind of book was almost subconscious," Brian May says.

"As I looked at the 3-D photos, memories were triggered and the stories poured out. It’s the 3-D element that makes it so evocative.

See more: Freddie Mercury's last ever photo revealed: Beautiful private image of the Queen star at home

"I believe each image will draw readers in deeper, like me, inviting them to immerse themselves in a scene in a scene, to share a previously unseen Queen moment.” 

Each time the book seemed to be close to completion, more 3-D photos were found in forgotten hiding places, prompting further memories and filling in the gaps in the narrative.

See more: Queen: Freddie Mercury sings to 'soulmate' Mary Austin in touching footage from 1986 - video

Queen in 3-D eventually became a compelling set of snapshots of Brian’s life and the life of Queen, over more than 50 years and according to The Bookseller is “The closest thing to an autobiography May has written."

Freddie Mercury in shorts at BBQ with Roger Taylor
Freddie Mercury wears short shorts as he and Roger Taylor load up their plates at a BBQ in an image taken from Brian May's new book 'Queen in 3-D'. Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D
Freddie Mercury hairspray backstage makeup
Freddie Mercury has his huge hair sprayed into place by an assistant in this candid shot taken by Brian May. Picture: Brian May/Queen in 3-D

Brian narrates the stories behind each of his photographs and while often he is light and conversational in tone, at other times he can be intensely reflective and philosophical, drawing the reader deeper into the image, the time and the space.

See more: Spine-tingling moment Brian May plays a staggering guitar solo to an empty stadium

Most of these recollections about himself and fellow band members Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, Brian shares here for the first time.

Some of the pictures were taken on stage; others behind the scenes, including informal shots taken on the road and during leisure time, giving close-up glimpses of the band as never seen before.

See more: Freddie Mercury in private: Rarely seen photos of the star behind closed doors

Queen in 3-D by Brian May, £30 is available to buy from The London Stereoscopic Company