Rock & Roll

Griffin/DSI Gallery  •  Boston, MA  •  November 2011


The sale of Mike Mitchell’s previously unpublished Beatle’s images at Christie's Auction House caused fans to clamor from all continents to pay over $350,000 for 40 silver gelatin prints from their first US concert. I was asked to consult with the collector of the Astrid Kirscherr collection featuring prints and negatives from the Beatle’s beginnings in Hamburg Germany. And the imminent 50th anniversary of both the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones inspired me to craft a group show covering aspects of R&R from its roots to Cochella.

A gallery talk included a panel with R&R memorabilia collector and photographers Melissa Mahoney and Brian Babineau who took us backstage with their intimate coverage of Aerosmith and Pearl Jam.

How to define Rock & Roll when the performers and their fans are a changing mass of millions who span over a half century and surround the globe? The Griffin Museum of Photography by Digital SIlver Imaging Gallery presents a select view featuring past and present artists from this polymorphous pantheon with nineteen silver gelatin and color prints by up to a dozen photographers.

The Beatle’s are deemed the world’s most famous band and this show features rarely seen images shot of them in their early evolution. German photographer Astrid Kirchherr photographed their beginnings in Hamburg while the band included her fiance, Stuart Sutcliffe, as a bass player. D.C.- based photographer, Mike Mitchell, made international news this year when he uncovered a box of never-before-published images from the Beatle’s first U.S. concert after the Ed Sullivan show. He chose Digital SIlver Imaging to print them and sold the inaugural silver gelatin prints at Chrsitie’s this summer in a record-breaking auction.

Herb Greene is know for his close relationship and iconic images taken of The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Led Zepplin. Eliott Landy has photographed rock legends including Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Ron Pownall gained full access to bands starting with The Rolling Stones up to the E Street Band. His capture of The Boss and The Big Man in their high energy rapport is especially poignant in light of Clarence Clemons recent passing.

Boston has brought forth more than a few musical legends and the photographers who photographed them. B.C. Kagan, now based in New York, has intimate images of The Cars, Joe Jackson, Billy Idol, a teenage Bono and a bespectacled Sting with the early Police.

Ryan Mastro photographs music festivals across the U.S. including Coachella and Bonnaroo. He documents groups before, during and after they break through the fame barrier.  The Black Keys, Radiohead, Amy Winehouse, B.B. King and Phish are some of the artists he has covered.

Melissa Mahoney, Kerry Brett and Brian Babineau all make Boston their home base. Each photographer has developed relationships allowing for intimate and spontaneous images of Aerosmith, The Drop Kick Murphy’s and Kiss. Mitch Epstein is included with his close-up of Lady Gaga.

As many Rock & Roll legends mark their fiftieth anniversary of performing it is a time of reflection, analysis and projection. January 28th the gallery will host a small panel of experts in Rock & Roll to steer a discussion on the people who made musical history and the photographers who documented the phenomenon.