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Albert Watson Shot Rock: The Photographer on His Photo of Michael Jackson

 © Albert Watson

By Albert Watson

This was the first and only time I worked with Michael Jackson. We were booked for a two-day shoot for the Invincible album cover and some inside photos. The shooting was divided into one day of portraits and one day of dance shots at my studio in New York.

I already owned a mirror rig that allowed me to adjust eight mirrors individually. And, of course, before Michael arrived, the mirrors and lighting were completely prepared on the set. To give Michael more flexibility (and to add a little fun) I gave him what was essentially a stripper's pole on a white Plexi stage. When he arrived on the set, Michael spent two or three minutes stretching and then started dancing in front of the mirrors to "Billie Jean," which we played over the studio stereo system. Because of the set-up and the preparation, it was hard not to get some magical shots in almost every frame during the roughly 30 minutes he danced in front of the camera. This was Michael Jackson dancing, after all. How could you go wrong?

I found Michael charming, cooperative, totally professional, and a pleasure to deal with. The shooting was actually quite easy. After seeing the contact sheets from the shoot, the final print was essentially one gigantic contact sheet. From far away, the print looks almost like a piece of wallpaper, but close up, it gives you a very good idea of the entire shooting, and the charisma and power of Michael's dancing."

See more of Albert's images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. Learn more about him on his website at www.albertwatson.net.

Ian Dickson Shot Rock: The Photographer on His Photo of The Red Hot Chili Peppers

© Ian Dickson

By Ian Dickson

This shot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was taken in Hamburg, Germany in 1992. I photographed the band while on an assignment for Vox magazine, a monthly music publication in competition with Q Magazine and now sadly defunct.

Henry Rollins, who was the support act that night, claimed his band blew the Chili Peppers off stage.

The band’s energy is infectious and you get caught up in the rhythm while taking pictures – such great fun. Each time you have to stop to load a new film, it feels like a rude interruption.

See more of Ian's images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. Learn more about him on his website at www.late20thcenturyboy.com.

Watch The 'No Strangers' Video Teaser

We've just extended the exhibit run for Who Shot Rock & Roll and, at the same time, are also prepping for the opening of our next show, no strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World. The exhibit is about the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people throughout the world and opens on November 17, 2012. Watch the video teaser above to get a sense of what to expect from this important show.

Spotted at the Space: Ted Danson & Mary Steenburgen

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen stopped by the Space last night to take in last night's IRIS Nights lecture, which was presented by their pal (and featured Who Shot Rock & Roll photographer) Guy Webster. Look for his lecture to be added to our past lecture videos page in the very near future!

Photo by Unique Nicole for the Space

Noel Gallagher: 'It Looked Like a Big Front Room'

© Jill Furmanovsky. Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Maine Road, Manchester City football ground, 1996. Part of the film accompanying Who Shot Rock & Roll. Courtesy Rockarchive.com

By Noel Gallagher

Maine Road was where we all used to go as kids. So I was standing there, trying to make sure I never forgot this moment. After the show I was trying to take it all in, watching (out of a dressing-room window that faced the stadium) everybody go, and it was a weird thing because the lights were all on and it was dark outside. It looked like a big front room, except there were 20,000 people in it.

Read what Jill Furmanovsky had to say about the above image, which she shot, in a previous blog post. See more of Jill's images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. Learn more about Jill on her website, www.rockarchive.com.

Who Shot Rock & Roll Extended

 © Edward Colver. Flip Shot, Pasadena, CA, 1981. Part of the film accompanying the exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll.

The show will rock on!

Due to unprecedented popular demand, Who Shot Rock & Roll will be extended an additional two weeks. That means you have until October 21, 2012 to see the show for the first time or the 20th time. After that date, the show will leave the United States and travel abroad. Who Shot Rock & Roll will travel to its final stop later this year: the Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand. Once the exhibit closes, the Space will shut down until November 17 to prepare for our next show.

Up next at the Space is No Strangers. Click here for more information about that exciting exhibit.

Jill Furmanovsky on Her Photo of Noel Gallagher of Oasis

© Jill Furmanovsky. Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Maine Road, Manchester City football ground, 1996. Part of the film accompanying Who Shot Rock & Roll. Courtesy Rockarchive.com

By Jill Furmanovsky

I took this picture with a Nikon and a wide angle lens on Tri-X film. I was perched on a raised part of the stage where later a four piece string section would sit. I hid there for several minutes waiting for the band to come onstage. A gigantic roar was the signal. When Noel Gallagher walked out and headed for the front of the stage I put the camera over the parapet to take this shot. I thought as I always think at these tense moments, 'Keep calm JF! Don't f--- it up!" I didn't. 

See more of Jill Furmanovsky's images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 7, 2012. Learn more about Jill on her website, www.rockarchive.com.

Chris Stein Shot Rock & Roll: The Photographer and Rocker on His Photos of Debbie Harry and Anya Phillips

 Anya Phillips and Debbie Harry, Staten Island ferry, New York City. Graphics by John Holmstrom, "The Legend of Nick Detroit." © Chris Stein

By Chris Stein

Somehow I now associate images from that great 1976 issue of Punk magazine, “Legend Of Nick Detroit,” to the famous headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” published in the Daily News the previous year. New York City was in decline at the time (well, actually even earlier) and I had had visions of young people playing in the rubble, among the skeletons of the city. For the downtown crew that I was a part of, a ride on the Staten Island ferry was like an excursion into the wildest nature.

 Anya Phillips and Debbie Harry, Staten Island ferry, New York City. Graphics by John Holmstrom, "The Legend of Nick Detroit." © Chris Stein

Today the “Legend Of Nick Detroit” might be construed as performance art but in 1976, I'm not sure if it had a classification. Cartoonist John Holstrom did the artwork on the photos.

Anyway we wound up on the ferry acting out the shootout twixt Nick and the Nazi Dykes, who were sort of villains. Debbie Harry and Anya Phillips went down in a hail of cartoon bullets. Anya was one of the movers and shakers of the burgeoning New York underground rock scene but that's another story...

Chris Stein is co-founder and guitarist of Blondie and also a photographer. See his images in the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

A Rockin' Labor Day at the Space

Thanks to everyone who came to the Photography Space yesterday, the Labor Day holiday. Our staff greeted visitors with complimentary treats and drinks. Guests were also given the opportunity to pose for free photos with a variety of musical instruments (the inflatable kind) to celebrate the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit. Here are a couple of fun pictures from the day. Looks like everyone had a great time. Hope you all had a very good holiday!

Alice Cooper: Bob Gruen Is 'an exception to a lot of the rock photographers'

In the clip above, Who Shot Rock & Roll featured photographer Bob Gruen reveals why he enjoys being a rock & roll photographer. "Rock & roll is fun", he says, "and I like to have fun. That's why I like rock & roll." Pretty simple formula if you ask us. But what about the musicians he photographed? Legendary rocker Alice Cooper approved of Gruen and allowed him intimate access to his life on and off stage. According to him, Gruen was "an exception to a lot of the rock photographers."

Watch the short clip above to learn more about the photographer and rocker.

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