It’s been a heavy news week. So much happening in the world and with this week’s news in North America focused on Boston I was happy to come across this piece via Rob Haggart. While I seek to be topical, the macabre doesn’t always need the contribution of my two cents. There has been an amazing volume of photography out of Boston in the past week, and if you are keen to get a sense of what it might feel like to be the most wanted man in America, check out Alan Taylor’s In Focus Gallery at the Atlantic. Like many of my friends and colleagues I have been glued to the news out of Boston because so much of my life is spent in and around running events. In fact, one of my colleagues and his wife, were at the finish line in Boston about an hour before the event and for what felt like hours I was among many waiting for a text message or status update to let us know they were OK.
Today I hope you’ll make time to have a look at something a little lighter. When I try to remember the first photography that captivated my interest I think back to a number of icons of the medium. I was drawn to the drama and adventure of conflict photography, the outstanding work produced by the staff and contributing photographers of Powder Magazine who took crazy risks sharing the world of big mountain skiing, and the body of work shot by Annie Leibovitz from her time at Rolling Stone. I used to keep and hoard magazines for the content, retrospectives, anniversary issues and photo issues in piles on any flat surface in my room. Leibovitz wasn’t the only photographer shooting Rock and Roll, there were dozens, maybe hundreds, even thousands of photographers who have made iconic contributions to this archive of popular culture. Who Shot Rock And Roll is an exhibit featuring work from this medium. Produced by guest Curator Gail Buckland for the the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2009, the exhibit has made a four year tour around the United States and a stop at the Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand.
Who Shot Rock And Roll started off as a book project for Buckland and later spawned the Exhibit featuring nearly 200 works by 100 different photographers from 1955 onward and has since been made into a short documentary film produced by the Anneberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles released in 2012. Above is the trailer for the film and what was my initial point of interest. This is really an examination of how photography contributed to the our understanding of Rock and Roll. In it there is a wiff of suggestion that these photographers, much less well known than their subjects, were legend makers. Listen for Henry Rollins as he suggests that “The right photograph can say so much, as much as maybe as the band’s best record.”
I’ve always wanted to go on tour with a band, at least for a few weeks, to document that experience. With time my collection of magazines have become a library of books, and until I get the chance to go on tour, I will have to content myself in these pages.