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History of Rock, a guitar at a time

The world's top 30 music photographers capture the evolution of guitar playing in unique photoexhibition, now showing in Mumbai

In 1968, legendary Rock photographer Baron Wolman captured Jimi Hendrix with his flying V guitar at a live concert in the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco. The picture, however, was overlooked by the Rolling Stone magazine where Wolman was working. They didn’t like the shape of Hendrix’s guitar.

Angus Young
Angus Young (AC/DC) performing at the Bill Graham concert series, Day on The Green, at the Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California in 1978. The full-house concert featured around 10 different bands including Aerosmith, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, among others. Here,Young is seen playing the only guitar he ever owned, a Gibson SG. “It’s the same guitar that you see in all pictures of Young. You associate the Gibson SG with Angus Young more than any other artiste. Because that’s the only guitar he ever owned,” says Dave Brolan. The photograph was taken by Baron Wolman.

While Hendrix and his flying V guitar rose to popularity, the picture was forgotten. Four decades later, the black-and-white image of Hendrix, is one of the most iconic photographs in Gibson Through The Lens, a unique photo exhibition that is featuring works of musicians with their Gibson guitars.

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix playing his flying V guitar during a live concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1968. Hendrix used many guitars, but he painted this one himself using psychedelic paint. The photograph was taken by Baron Wolman for the Rolling Stones magazine, but was overlooked during publication due to the odd shape of the guitar.

String theories
Having toured all over the world, the show, curated by music photography archivist Dave Brolan, has now travelled to Wink, Vivanta By Taj President, where it will be showcased for the next four days.

Gibson Les Paul guitar
Slash with his Gibson Les Paul guitar. “Les Paul invented pretty much everything in the electric guitar,” says Dave Brolan. The picture was taken by Ross Hafflin for a guitar magazine. Hafflin also photographed the back cover of the first Guns N’ Roses album.

Brolan elaborates, “We have tried to catalogue the history of music, music photography, and music equipment, all together in one exhibition. The exhibition features musicians across genres be it Rock, Jazz or Metal. There is little bit of everything here. It’s interesting how even though their style of music is different, they all used the same instruments, of the same make; a few of course, had their own modifications.”

Brolan says the exhibition is also important because in many cases, the photographers are not alive. “It’s a very rare and valuable collection, something music lovers don’t get to see all the time,” he adds.

Class acts
The exhibition showcases nearly 70 photographs from the world’s most respected music photographers including Neal Preston, Mick Rock, Bob Guerin, Ross Hafflin, Baron Wolman, and the late Jim Marshall, among others.

The photographs feature some of the most popular music icons such as Angus Young of AC/DC, who, Brolan says, owned only one guitar, a Gibson SG. The other music icons featured are Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash, BB King, Elvis, Bob Dylan, Slash, Lenny Kravitz and Jon Bon Jovi to name a few.

Brolan adds that while the focus is on the guitars, the show also explores how these artistes influenced and changed the culture of playing guitars. “These artistes not only made some of the greatest works in the history of Rock, but also defined the culture associated with the guitar, for example, how to hold a guitar or the theatrics associated with it. Even today, most guitarists try to copy their poses and their theatrics on the stage,” he signs off.

The exhibition will travel to four other cities Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Gurgaon.

On: Till November 2, 12 pm to 1 am
At: Wink, Vivanta By Taj — President, 90, Cuffe Parade.
Call: 66650808

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