Laura Levine Shot Rock: The Photographer On Her Photo of R.E.M.

R.E.M, Walter's Bar-B-Que, Athens, Georgia, 1984

By Laura Levine

R.E.M. and I clicked from the moment we met at our first photo shoot in my Chinatown apartment back in 1982. We became close friends, and over the next few years as we spent an increasing amount of time together, I photographed them more than any other band before or since: on the road, at their homes, in my studio, backstage and onstage.

This particular photograph was taken in March 1984 in their hometown, of Athens, Georgia. The band was about to release its second album, Reckoning, and since their record label didn't have a budget to send a photographer to Athens to do a publicity session, I flew down on my own dime to shoot pictures, make a Super-8 film (Just Like a Movie) and spend a few days hanging out with my friends.

For the next few days I shot rolls and rolls of film as the five of us explored every nook and cranny in Athens that had photogenic possibilities - the railroad tracks, abandoned factories, trees blanketed in kudzu, outsider artist R.A. Miller's whirlygig yard and, of course, Walter's Bar-B-Que.  Actually, this shot at Walter's wasn't even planned. We'd been taking photos all morning and we'd worked up quite an appetite, so we stopped into Walter's for lunch (It was the guys' favorite BBQ joint).  While we were eating I looked around and saw a great photograph there, so I stepped behind the counter and quickly took a few frames (I'm afraid I didn't even allow them to eat their meals in peace).  By the way, that's my plate of food in front of Michael Stipe.

This photograph has a special place in my heart not only because of our friendship, but because it documents a time and a place that disappeared soon thereafter. (Even Walter's is long out of business). I don't suppose any us of could have imagined how much would change in just a few years' time. It captures those last moments of innocence, just as they were on the cusp of stardom and about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.  But mostly, for me, when I look at this photograph, I see my four friends being themselves, smiling, relaxing, and chowing down on a good Southern meal.

See Laura Levine's other images in the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography. To learn more about the photographer and her work visit her official website.

Helmut Newton Arrives June 29th!

Our next exhibit is the very first solo show at the Annenberg Space for Photography and boy is it a doozy. Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes presents the work of one of the most revolutionary and influential photographers of the past century. Newton's provocative images of women brought eroticism to fashion photography. In his photos, art, fashion, subverison and aspiration collide. The exhibit opens on Saturday June 29, 2013.

Watch the video teaser above for a sneak peek of the show.

Godlis Shot Rock: The Photographer On His Photo of Patti Smith

By Godlis

I remember that night like it was yesterday. They say a camera stops time, and for me, in this case it’s proven to be true. One-quarter of a second exposure on my handheld Leica IIIf camera back in 1976 has endured via silver and megapixels all these years.

I spent a lot of time in 1976 looking through the French photographer Brassai’s photographs of Paris nightlife in the 1930s, and had worked out a way to shoot photographs at night by natural light without flash. In looking back now, it was all of another time – pushed tri-x film, arcane developing chemicals, nights in the darkroom. But it enabled me to return night after night to CBGB’s with boxes of pictures to show off my experiments to my friends in a budding scene and create my “Documents for Artists.”

It was in between sets when everyone headed out from within CBGB’s, to the raw air under the Bowery streetlights.  Patti Smith was standing in mid-conversation that night, when I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if I could take her photograph. I know I saw the Bleecker Street sign in the background and thought “perfect.” I knew that she was standing in the right spot, under the streetlamps. All the elements were in place. So when she turned my way and brought her hand to her face – I knew in that moment, the photo was mine to have or screw up.  Shooting at night, handheld – no tripod - meant both Patti and I would have to be perfectly still. I did my part that night, and obviously Patti more than did hers. One-quarter of a second stopped forever. Time on my side.

See Godlis's work in the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website.

'Digital Darkroom' Film Wins Award

Congratulations to Arclight Productions on their recent win at the New Media Film Festival here in Los Angeles. Their film, Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D won Best in Category for 3D Content. The short documentary film was presented exclusively at the Annenberg Space for Photography's Digital Darkroom exhibition.

The 4th annual New Media Film Festival was held on June 11 & 12, 2013 at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles.

Watch Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D (in either 3D and 2D!) in its entirety here.

Pages