The estate authorised limited edition photographs on show and available to purchase constitute the backbone of the exhibition.
Donald Silverstein’s sole session with Jimi Hendrix produced one of the most important and well known photographs of the incendiary guitarist. Jimi stands, looking into camera, his jacket off, his shirt open, revealing a well defined torso. This powerful image originally appeared on a poster issued by Track Records in 1968 as an insert to the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s third studio album, Electric Ladyland. Hendrix fans who have seen that original poster will know that the contrast was notched up to 11 by the designer, and as a result it was very difficult to pick out detail. Seeing the photograph as Donald Silverstein took it, with intricate details revealed by the fine grain of the Kodak Verichrome Pan film that he loaded into his Hasselblad for the shoot, is a complete revelation. In the gallery exhibition we display it in its ultra-large-72-inch-high format.
But what of the other images from the shoot ?
In the planning stage for the exhibition we undertook a very detailed exercise with the Silverstein family to come up with a selection of images that represent what we all feel are the very best work in the archive. Everything is important and has been chosen for a reason, but some personal highlights are:
A Room Full of Mirrors – a 12 frame contact sheet showing Jimi making sure his hair is correct for the shoot. Look at the final frame to see how happy he is with the result.
Axis: Bold As Love – the group portrait that appeared on the inner gatefold sleeve of early vinyl pressings of Axis: Bold As Love
The Dream Grew Strong – a variant of the Electric Ladyland portrait with a beautiful dream like expression on Jimi’s face. This hangs in the front window of the gallery and is a special favourite of the Silverstein family
You Can’t Dress Like Me – a solo portrait with real attitude.
You can see the full range of limited editions here
All the exhibition photographs work individually, and a single piece would make a welcome addition to any serious or aspiring collection of important music photography. One of the exciting discoveries for us on reviewing the entire archive was the fact that certain pieces work exceptionally well in combinations of three, because there is a natural left-leaning, central and right-leaning image. If you have more wall-space available then please do consider a series, because the effect is breathtaking.
These estate authorised photographs are made in the darkroom on silver gelatin paper by one of London’s top specialist black and white hand-printers, from the negatives. Because Donald Silverstein loaded his Hasselblad with Kodak Verichrome Pan, a film renowned for its extremely fine grain and super-high sharpness, handprints can be made in sizes up to 72 inches high without losing detail. These look spectacular, and you can see an example on the gallery wall.
The photographs are offered in small limited editions in a choice of physical sizes: which for convenience we are calling regular, large and ultra. As a general rule, these are paper sizes of 16×20 inches, 30×40 inches and 48×72 inches respectively.
Typically, edition sizes are 20 /10 / 5 respectively for the three sizes, meaning that a maximum of 35 prints of each image will be offered to collectors worldwide. (The one exception is the Electric Ladyland, where edition sizes are larger.)
Donald Silverstein did not offer signed Jimi Hendrix photographs during his lifetime. Consequently these closely controlled estate authorised limited editions are the first and only way to acquire a Donald Silverstein original.
As ever, work can be supplied framed or unframed. Prices online are for unframed items. There are some nice alternate framing options in the exhibition, which you can see if you come to the gallery.