BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. JUNGLELAND. Iconic portraits by FRANK STEFANKO.



BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. JUNGLELAND. Iconic portraits by FRANK STEFANKO.

date July 2 > August 28, 2016
place Wall Of Sound Gallery

“In 1977, I was backstage at a Patti Smith concert, and she said, ‘Hey, you ought to have your picture taken by this guy Frank Stefanko.‘ She said he was an old friend who worked in a meatpacking plant in South Jersey and he was a really great photographer.

I was on the finishing end of Darkness on the Edge of Town, so I gave Frank a call. One winter’s day I drove my ’60 Vette south to Haddonfield, New Jersey. We did the session at Frank’s house. My recollection is that he borrowed a camera and had the kid next door come over to hold up a big bright light, in case where we were shooting grew a little too dark. The cover shot for Darkness was taken in Frank’s bedroom, and any exterior shots were taken either in Frank’s yard or on the streets of Haddonfield.

The pictures were raw. Frank had a way of stripping away any celebrity refuse you may have picked up along the way and finding you in you. He seemed to photograph you within a set of very strict self-imposed limits, but within those limits he created a fully-realized world – a world that I felt was deeply connected to the characters I was writing about on Darkness. The pictures lack of grandeur, their directness, their toughness, were what I wanted for my music at that time.

Frank always shot your internal life. He let your external imperfections show. His photos had a purity and poetry; there was some humor in their laconism. In the aftermath of Born To Run, he latched on to the very conflicts and ideas I was struggling to come to terms with: Who am I? Where do I go now? He showed me the people I was writing about in my songs. He showed me the part of me that was still one of them. Thanks." - Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen has been an absolute icon of American popular music for over 40 years. His music, his lyrics, the characters in his songs, have definitely become part of American cultural Dna, and not just that. Frank Stefanko did photograph Bruce during crucial years, between 1978 and 1982, and even later, on several occasions. His covers for landmark albums like Darkness On The Edge Of Town and The River have become classics. It’s no coincidence that – around the same time he decided to take his “River Tour” all over the world – Springsteen has picked a photograph by Stefanko for the cover of his upcoming autobiography Born To Run, due out on Sept. 27.

It all began in the early ‘70s when a young Stefanko – ignited by the raw and essential black and white of such masters as Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz, August Sander and Edward Steichen - started photographing the emerging in-crowd of the Chelsea Hotel , Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s in New York City. When he met a young upcoming artist, Patti Smith, he was instantly mesmerized by her talent and presence and began photographing her on countless occasions. It was Patti who then pitched Springsteen on her photographer friend Stefanko. When "the future of rock' n' roll" knocked on Frank's door at his home in Haddonfield, New Jersey, Elvis had left the building only a year before. With his camera Frank captured Bruce's secrets and torments with honesty and spontaneity, sharing his dreams and hopes. Rarely photographs have defined this well not only the aesthetics, but the essence itself of rock and of the artist who best represents it to this day. We're very proud to exhibit Frank Stefanko's photographs for the first time in Italy, along with more recent images taken around the time of Nebraska and in 2004.  

 

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