I stumbled across a newspaper article which caused me to free-fall back to my apres-teen years which happened to coincide with the wonderful epoch of flower power, folk music, a simpler less cynical, happier, less suspicious and probably a more naive world. It was the time of Carnaby Street, Mary Qant, Haight-Ashbury ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_of_Love ), Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Peter, Paul & Mary, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles, The Who, Queen, Fleetwood Mack, Credence Clearwater Revival, Simon & Garfunkel, Arlo Guthry in Alice’s Restaurant, etc., etc. ad nausea.
The late 1950-ies to the mid 70-ies were, in my opinion, the most artistically creative and prolific years in history. In the photographic world we had David Bailey with The Shrimp and Twiggy, Sam Haskins with Cowboy Kate, Five Girls and November Girl, David Hamilton, again etc., etc. ad nausea. And I had the greatest fortune to be there at the right age and time to benefit from this explosion of freedom and creativity.
The article which triggered me off appeared in the arts section of the week-end magazine and is about a combined exhibition by four photographers who were an integral part of the revolution, Mick Rock, Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen and Joel Brodsky.
These photographers were very good friends with the musicians they shot. They were part of “the family” and spent most of their waking hours together. They shot the musicians before they had become icons and also shot them in their ‘private’ moments. They were trusted by their musician friends and no ‘scandalous’ shots were ever sold or published. Paparazzi and fast-buck publications were unknown. There are thousands of great candid photographs of super stars in their private and intimate moments shot by their close friend photographers who were “family” members.
From 1965 to 1969, in Johannesburg, I was a design student at art school. Most evenings I ended up at either The NiteBeat or Troubadour folk clubs. I became friends with the musicians and club owners. There was no ‘malice of forethought’ involved, simply the budding of natural friendships. After a while, my camera accompanied me to the clubs and thus began my little venture into photographing musicians.
Those were the days my friends………….