Mick Jagger’s seductive smile, the Beatles bonding with the Maharishi in India, Keith Richards strolling to his private jet with a half-empty Jack Daniels bottle - these are just a few snapshots that document an iconic period in music history - the birth of rock n’ roll. The drugs, the booze, peace and love, hippies and groupies are often things that come to mind when someone mentions the 60’s and 70’s music scene.
Not only is she the model who inspired Twiggy, muse and former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, inspiration behind the songs, ‘Something’, ‘Layla’, and ‘Wonderful Tonight’, Pattie Boyd is a talented photographer who captured snapshots of life with the Beatles, touring with Eric and one of the first ‘selfies’.
Photographers Pattie Boyd, Henry Diltz and Carinthia West strip away these clichés and invite us to take a glimpse into the lives of those who broke musical barriers – the forefathers and mothers of rock n’ roll. Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Mama Cass, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and Jimi Hendrix are names we all know, but who are they really?
Writer, actress, model and photographer for the Rolling Stones, Carinthia West documented a day in life of iconic figures like Ronnie Wood, Helen Mirren and Neil Young. Member of the Modern Folk Quartet Henry Diltz started his journey as a photographer when he purchased a second-hand Kodak Brownie. Little did he know he would capture a number of famous album covers such as Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Doors and James Taylor, and document Woodstock. Collectively, these photographers’ images tell the stories behind the history of the 60s and 70s. Like these musicians, they were artists. As Carinthia’s documentary is aptly titled “Hanging Out”, Pattie, Henry and Carinthia were just spending time with friends ‘hanging out’.
Humble, kind and inspiring are a few words that describe the photographers behind Visions of Magic Time. A ‘millennial’, as some like to call me, I grew up in 80s and 90s during the time of the Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, the Spice Girls and the Beastie Boys. However, I still grew up listening the magical music of the 60s and 70s. Whenever I went for car ride with my parents or while my mom was cleaning up around the house, the ‘ching-ching’ of Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ or Viking-esque cry of Robert Plant from ‘Immigrant Song’ blared through the speakers.
As a gallery assistant at Hilton Asmus, I was lucky enough to hear the stories behind these photographs directly from the those captured them and the wonderful Renee Pappas, a true expert on music history, once married to co-founder of Atlantic Records, Jerry Wexler. Even prior to the shows official opening, I was struck by visitors’ nostalgic reactions to these images. “I had all these albums!” or “Oh my god, I had such a crush on James Taylor,” are just a handful.
The night before the exclusive preview, Janet Davies from ABC7 came to the gallery to interview Henry and Pattie. Henry stood in front of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s first album cover. Casually sitting on a burgundy leather couch in front of a white house. From left to right are Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and David Crosby. Why are they out of order? Henry explains, "We took the picture and it turned out they were sitting in the wrong order -- they'd named [the group] a few days later. So we went back to re-shoot the picture, and the house was gone. They'd torn it down, yeah. It was a pile of sticks in the back of the lot. It's parking to this day." Little did Diltz know, this image would leave a lasting impression. One of our clients came in with a photograph of he and his friends sitting on the couch in the same pose, “We wanted to be Crosby, Stills and Nash,” Bill Reishstein says.
Pattie discussed her ‘selfie’. Perched on edge of a hotel bed, facing mirror with her camera is the lovely Pattie dressed (so we think) for an evening out of the town. "This was after 13 years of being with Eric Clapton. I now was on my own and not sure of what I was going to do until I spotted my camera," Boyd said. "I was about to go out for the evening and I was getting dressed and I was sitting on the end of the bed. And I had my camera nearby...What you probably don't realize in the photograph, I'm not quite dressed. That is my skirt on the side.”
Upon speaking to a group of professional women, Carinthia tells the story of Chris Jagger standing in front of Robert Palmer’s ‘Pressure Drop’ album poster with a shocked look on his face. The image illustrates a nude woman leaning over a balcony with her perfect backside facing the viewer. “Chris Jagger and I were walking down Sunset Boulevard to get a coffee when we spotted this life-size poster of Robert Palmer’s new album cover for ‘Pressure Drop’ on the wall of Tower Records. I had modeled for the cover a few months before, but it was still a bit of a shock to see myself nude in such a public place! The cover was shot by photographer, Graham Hughes, and there were at least five other people in the room – including assistants, a make-up girl, Robert Palmer and his then wife. It became quite a cause célèbre at the time, with everyone trying to guess who the model was. I kept quiet because I didn’t want to embarrass my parents. This turned out to be unnecessary as when my father [a five-star general in NATO] found out he bought 20 copies and proudly gave them as gifts to all his friends. Here, Chris is miming my parents’ embarrassment. I think I was paid £150 for the shoot. I thought it was a fortune!”
Opening night at the gallery was abuzz with activity. At 5:30 on the dot, visitors started pouring in. Conversation and laughter filled the air. The photographers arrived - Carinthia in a beautiful velvet blue L'wren Scott dress with her long legs and striking smile, Pattie in white pants and flawless skin looking like a supermodel as usual and Henry with his signature ponytail and down to earth grin, awed guests with their stories.
Elliott Roberts, Neil Young’s manager, made a special appearance. The next day, he called Carinthia and Renee to say that when Neil Young found out Carinthia was in Chicago, he wanted to see her. He invited Carinthia and Renee backstage at Farm Aid at Northerly Island where they were able to reminisce with their old friend Neil.
It was a whirlwind week for the trio traveling from TV to Radio stations the first few days of their arrival. Fox News 32’s Corey McPherrin hosted Pattie, Henry and Carinthia on the morning show. Writer for WTTW, Chloe Riley conducted a fabulous interview in the gallery. Pattie and Henry were invited for interviews on WDRV (The Drive) and then Pattie was off the WBEZ. And Michigan Avenue Magazine did a fabulous article on the show with a half page photo of Keith and Ronnie in their lear jet.
Carinthia was a special guest of Elysabeth Alfano’s “The Dinner Party” with Chicago darling, Hebru Brantley and Co-founder of Kickstarter, Charles Adler. Carinthia shared her stories of Prince Charles. Afterwards, Carinthia, Pattie and Henry were the stars of Elysabeth Alfano on WGN Plus. “Over quintessential savory pies and bangers and mash made by Chef Art Jackson and his wife Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson from the Pleasant House Bakery, along with lots of Guinness, Pattie, Carinthia and Henry share great stories from the 1960s and 1970s rock era and just how much has changed in today’s celebrity world.”
On the cover of the exhibition catalogue “Who Shot Rock & Roll”, a music photography show curated by Gail Buckland for the Brooklyn Museum, shown nationally and internationally, is a photograph by Henry Diltz of Tina Turner. Her bright red lips form an open-mouthed smile; sweat rolls down her face and a nearly indescribable emotion is reflected in her eyes – pure ecstasy. As one rock n’ roll photographer stated, “Too much bullshit is written about photographs and music. Let the music move you, whether to a frenzy or a peaceful place…Let the photography be one you remember – not for its technique but its soul. Let it become a part of your life – a part of your past to shape your future. But most of all, let the music and photograph be something you love and will always enjoy.”
As Ronnie Wood lovingly put it, Carinthia took photographs while we were getting on with life…”
A client at the opening saved her 16 Magazine featuring an article by Pattie Boyd about hair care.