This exhibition kicks off on Thursday 4 October at 11.00am at the gallery, but images from the exhibition are online now. They are available to purchase in a range of physical sizes to suit your wall space. This is the first time that Neil Young has been the subject of one of our gallery exhibits, and I am quite embarrassed that it has taken me this long!
Well, we’re making up for the delay with this exquisite body of work. We have deliberately kept the selection small and intimate, because less is more, and we wanted to concentrate on some absolute key pieces from Joel’s incredible archive. Visitors to the gallery will of course get to hear some classic Neil Young tracks while they view the photographs. I have to also tell you that Joel’s physical prints are absolutely exquisite, and the images online don’t do them justice in the flesh. Come see.
Joel’s relationship with Neil Young extends way beyond that of photographer and subject. Joel is Neil Young’s archivist, and was instrumental in the research and production of the acclaimed Neil Young Archives box set. He estimates that he has made at least 10,000 photographs of Young since 1970. He also believes that he has spent “19 ½ years – and one day” in archiving Neil Young’s recorded output. Completely coincidentally, the exhibition, which runs from 4 October to 10 November 2012, coincides with the release of Neil Young’s long awaited autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, which is published in the UK on 4 October 2012, and which features a number of Joel’s photographs.
Just eighteen at the time, and for his first album cover commission, Joel made the heavily solarised portrait of Neil Young, with a mysterious old lady passing him, that appeared on the front cover of After The Gold Rush (1970), and his images have appeared on subsequent Neil Young albums including Harvest (1972) and Time Fades Away (1973) among others. You’ll be familiar with many images, I’m sure. The photograph alongside is a particular favourite of mine, and deserves its full front page coverage on our exhibition catalogue. It was taken at Neil Young’s home near Woodside, California, in September 1971. It has a magical quality. Don’t just take my word for it though: it was chosen for the permanent collection of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.
Other personal favourites include:
- the back cover shot from Harvest of Neil Young and the Stray Gators,
- Neil in his 1947 Buick Roadmaster,
- Neil in a limo with a Gretsch White Falcon ( which would look amazing in a 30×40 inch paper size),
- and the original full frame version of the After the Gold Rush cover shot, with Graham Nash appearing on the right of the frame, with Neil and the old lady. This makes a nice contrast with the solarized album cover shot, and the two work well as a pair together. Interestingly, the old lady appearing on the cover shot was no accident. Here’s Joel on how the old woman came to be in the frame: "The photo was not "a mistake." I saw the small, old woman coming towards us down the sidewalk, was intrigued, and wanted to catch her passing Neil. The mistake, to me, was that I had in my haste focused the lens just past the two figures, closer to the fence than to Neil’s face. That was the original reason why I made a small-sized print and solarized it; to help with the apparent sharpness. But the solarization in this case added a somewhat spooky dimension to the image, which Neil took to immediately."
There’s plenty more – take a look yourself. You can view images online here. Hit the fullscreen button when you get to the individual images, and you’ll be able to visualize them framed and on your wall, which is just where they should be.