Thursday, May 29, 2008
Camera Man: R.I.P. Legendary Rock Photographer David Gahr
David Gahr, photo-snapper of some of music's most enduring images, passed away this week at the age of 85. He had a promising career as a think-tank economist, but wisely decided he was happier hanging around rock, folk and blues musicians.
In addition to taking famous shots of living giants like John Lennon, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger and Janis Joplin and The Band, Gahr also photographed Bob Dylan from his early folkie days through Dylan's 2001 masterpiece "Love and Theft."
Perhaps most famous of the Dylan images is this one here, from his plugged-in performance at the 1965 Newport Folk festival:
Newport '65 is often cited as the moment when the tectonic plates of popular music shifted from the old guard to the new, but I'm sure Dylan was just trying to have a good ol' time onstage with his band. Besides, Dylan seemed to identify with the old guard more than the new anyway. Epic or not, the performance of "Maggie's Farm" is a hoot, aided largely by the galvanizing guitar of Mike Bloomfield. And this is as good an excuse as any to revisit it.
Bob Dylan, "Maggie's Farm" 1965 Newport Folk Festival
To see Dylan's stunning evoution via the 1963, '64 and '65 Newport Folk Festivals, check out Murray Lerner's relatively new DVD The Other Side of the Mirror. To see more of David Gahr's photographs, google him I guess. Unfortunately, his acclaimed collection The Face of Folk Music, is long out of print. RIP and TCB, Mr. Gahr.