If you’re anywhere near the Capitol District in NY and might appreciate stellar photos of many of rock and roll’s greatest talents get to the Albany Institute of History & Art before Feb. 12, 2017.
Photographers don’t exist in a vacuum. At least they shouldn’t.
If you’re photographing weddings, well you’d better look at the work of other photographers. You probably already do, for some combination of education, marketing, and inspiration. When I do, I sometimes notice creative poses, beautiful lighting ideas, or simply shots worth admiring – the sorts I work to get and keep my eyes open for.
If you’re photographing buildings or landscapes – the same applies. I enjoy looking at other photographers’ work because I enjoy what these subject look like on the page – not just my own.
Some of the earliest I recall admiring were in books of photographs of ‘old New York” that captured the light and shadow of industry and architecture at places like Grand Central Terminal
Instagram is a platform I guess is well-suited for this, though I’m not much of a user. Some folks probably use Pinterest the same way.
For me its often the social post and blogs of other photographers I turn to for inspiration particularly Fine Art Photographer Leanne Cole, in Australia, a true inspiration whose tastes seem to run much like my own from architecture to abandoned spaces to nature, landscapes – and of course portraiture.
Last week I read a piece called ‘The Dark Art of Concert Photography” by Sarah Arnold on the SmugMug site. (SmugMug is a gallery and ecommerce site for photographers. I use it mainly for weddings portrait shoots at jonathanment.com)
Republished from August 2016, it’s a sort of instructional for aspiring live music shooters.
Having spent many a hot and sweaty night during the years I actively published the Urban Rag Zine either in the photographer’s pit or pressed against the barricades when there was none, I read it with some – albeit – nostalgic interest.
I would have to cull through a lot of years of photos, from negatives through the digital archives to find anything worthy of blowing up to poster size. This is not the case however for Patrick Harbron, whose “Rock & Roll Icons” exhibit hangs in Albany for two more weeks.
Whether its his shots of Ray Charles, for which Harbron wishes he could remember what he said to make the icon laugh, an extensive display of a young Bruce Springsteen, coverage of the Rolling Stones, KISS, ACDC, The Police, Bob Marley, John Mellencamp, or Deborah Harry (pictured in the ad for the exhibit) he really seems to have captured everyone active beginning in the late 1970s (Particularly if they toured through Toronto).
For music fans unsure about a spending time with a collection of photos, understand that these are simply beautiful to look at. You can hear the music in some of them. There also a soundtrack of rock playing in the background a few guitars from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other items on display to lure you out
For photographers, there’s even a bit on the craft, from lenses to lighting and even Harbron’s old camera ‘bag,’ a nearly indestructible roller-skate box his caption explained could double as a sort of short step stool.
There’s also a bit of backstage insight, like references to Van Halen’s contract for photographers – retaining rights for the band “forever and until the end of time …” throughout the entire universe,” Harbron said he never signed it.
Mixed among the admirable insight is a fair amount of music history and career context surrounding some of the photos. Just what I’d expect in a setting such as an institute of history and art!
No doubt we’ve all seen some of Harbron’s work already, in print or on album covers, but not like this.
Many images can be viewed at the rock and roll icons link above, but it’s simply not the same as the large exquisite prints you’ll find in Albany – or wherever this exhibit might visit in its next incarnation.
I escaped completely into this exhibit – and maybe, even got a little inspired.