Pop-up archive shows portraits of pop's iconic stars
Portraits of some of the most important and iconic musicians of the last 50 years are appearing in a pop-up shop in Clifton Village, in Bristol, over the next month.
The images come courtesy of Rockarchive, a collective of music photographers founded in 1998 by award-winning photographer Jill Furmanovsky, known for her work photographing Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley and many others.
Both a website and a photo-publishing outfit, Rockarchive became a place where music lovers could purchase limited-edition prints of classic moments in rock history. The collective now publishes more than 900 images, both rare and well-known, each one also featuring the photographer's own story of how the image came about.
Rockarchive opened its first pop-up gallery in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden earlier this year, after its Islington gallery closed for redevelopment.
One day during the pop-up shop's tenure, Richard Cross and Suzy Barnard from LITTLEWHITESPACE, a pop-up shop and workspace on Bristol's Clifton Down Road, stumbled across it by chance on a day trip to the capital.
"We were spending a day in London, looking at other pop-up shops and galleries and how they were working," Suzy explains.
"As soon as we saw that the shop was packed full of original framed rock prints, of course we had to go in and have a look around.
"We absolutely loved the power and stunning quality of the iconic images and the stories attached to them, all spanning the last half-century of rock history.
"That is when we met [curator] Jane Ripley and hit it off immediately.
"We decided then and there that, with its huge and diverse music scene, Bristol should be the next place on Rockarchive's itinerary."
Images selected for the Bristol exhibition range far and wide over the past five decades of rock history. They include a series of pictures of a young Bob Dylan sitting in his small, empty New York apartment way back in February 1963, with one frame marked out and ready for use as the cover of Dylan's forthcoming debut album.
The Rolling Stones also feature strongly. "Images of the Stones always prove popular and, going by the photographs taken, the band know how to play up for the cameras," says Jane.
Another iconic image features the hugely distinctive singer-songwriter Tom Waits, taken by Furmanovsky herself in a Chinese diner in San Francisco in 1999, peering up from his reading of The Mammoth Book of Oddities.
Jane says: "The image was used for his book cover, and the buildings, his clothes, even his look back to the camera generate such power and feeling."
Other images include photographs from Glastonbury Festival over the years, showing the Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Coldplay and Portishead – alongside portraits of seminal figures such as Bowie, Hendrix, Presley, The Beatles, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop.
The 1970s are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the dominant decade in Rockarchive's body of work.
"The Seventies were such an iconic era in rock history, with so many big and hugely charismatic bands," says Jane.
"That said, more recent images of younger artists are also very popular, such as that of The Stone Roses covered in paint [a 1989 image, voted the best to feature on the cover of the New Musical Express] and poignant images of Amy Winehouse backstage during an intimate gig at the Union Chapel, London."
Rock fans and lovers of fine-art photography are in for a treat.
Rockarchive runs from Thursday, October 31, to Wednesday, November 20, at LITTLEWHITESPACE, Clifton Down Rd, Bristol, 10am-7pm. Call 0117 381 2012 or go to www.littlewhitespace.com