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Who Shot Rock & Roll?

Mosh Pit at Endfest, Kitsap County, Washington, 1991
Courtesy of Charles Peterson

If you love music and/or photography, you’ll enjoy an exhibition going on right now called “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History 1955 to Present.” It’s worth the 2 hour drive to Allentown, PA because chances are you’ll see images you might never have seen before, and you’ll get a real feel for what the performers experience during and after a show, and will be moved by the candid shots backstage, at pubs, at concert halls, and at favorite restaurants.    Some highlights:  An early photo of Madonna before she became a superstar; Elvis before he was “The King,” and a shot of Paul McCartney taken by his photographer wife, Linda.   Some of my favorite pictures are the ones that captured the energy of live performance.  A photographer showed a 1970s Elton John in motion about to do a handstand on the piano; hands on the keyboard and platform-shoe-clad feet up in the air.  A cool “double exposure” effect made me feel like I was watching Tina Turner strut across the stage in front of me.   And a posed studio-shot of 5 young performers from Georgia later turned into the cover of the very first B52s album.  To see all these images will make you glad that rock photographers have been following our favorite performers, documenting the concerts and private moments, capturing music history as it’s been made over the years.

“Who Shot Rock & Roll will be at the Allentown Art Museum through May 13th.  For more information, visit The Museum has extended its hours until 9pm on May 11th and 12th, giving you plenty of time to get there after work.

Is there an artist or group whose photos you love to look at?   What’s a favorite concert moment that you wish you could have documented or recorded?  Please share your comments below.


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