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Donald Silverstein2018-10-17T13:04:23+00:00

Project Description

We present a beautiful collection of Jimi Hendrix images taken by Donald Silverstein in London in 1967.

Estate authorised limited edition photographs

These constitute the backbone of the collection. We have worked closely with the Silverstein family to curate a selection of images that represent the very best of Donald Silverstein’s session with Jimi Hendrix. The images work individually, and a single piece would make a welcome addition to any serious collection of important music photography.

One of the exciting discoveries for us on reviewing the entire archive was the fact that certain pieces work brilliantly in combinations of three, because there is a natural left leaning, central and right leaning image. You can see examples of this as you scroll down the page, with three images presented in sequence. If you have the wallspace available, then please do consider a series.

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. They are offered in small limited editions in a choice of physical sizes: which for convenience we are calling regular, large and ultra. Typically – and there are one or two exceptions – 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.

Because Donald Silverstein chose 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.

You Can’t Dress Like Me
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Hey Baby
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He Smiles
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Donald Silverstein’s sole session with Jimi Hendrix produced one of the most important and well known photographs of the incendiary guitarist.

Here it is, alongside.

London, 1967. Jimi Hendrix stands in front of a roll of ‘no-seam’ background paper in the Riding House Street studio of US-born, British-based photographer Donald Silverstein. Jimi’s star is firmly in the ascendency, with a first album released to critical acclaim earlier in the year, and a second album due soon.

He looks into the camera, his jacket off, his shirt open, revealing a fine set of abs. This powerful image originally appeared on a poster issued by Track Records, and has been heavily bootlegged subsequently. Hendrix aficionados 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 is a complete revelation. It is as if years of caked-on mud have been removed to reveal an finely detailed original. The individual strands of his hair are like wire wool, just one of many intricate details picked up by the fine grain on the Kodak Verichrome Pan film that Donald had loaded into his Hasselblad for the shoot.

The camera captured Hendrix’s huge hands, the tufted cords on his trousers, the oversized Mexican influenced medallion hanging on his chest, the richly detailed floral shirt and cufflinks, the rings and belts. This was Hendrix at the peak of his powers, confident in front of the camera, with just the right level of self assurance.

This is an incredibly important Jimi Hendrix photograph. “Iconic” is a very overused term, but in this instance it really is justified.

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Gypsy Eyes
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Flamin’ Hair
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Voodoo Chile
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If 6 were 9 – contact sheet
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Earlier in the session Donald had photographed Jimi Hendrix flanked by Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, for a series of group portraits, one of which would be chosen for the inner gatefold sleeve of the 1 December 1967 UK release of The Experience’s second LP, Axis Bold as Love, but for the most part, the session was about Jimi.

A series of previously unpublished photographs from the shoot reveal Jimi Hendrix perfecting his hair in a mirror held by Donald’s assistant. He then photographed Hendrix wearing his elaborately patterned shirt and jacket, then with jacket removed and shirt open, and finally, bare-chested.

The other complete revelation is that with the exception of the group portrait used on Axis and the solo shot on the poster for Ladyland, only one or two of the portraits of Jimi Hendrix taken by Donald Silverstein have ever seen the light of day. For almost 50 years, outside of the Silverstein family, everything else from this incredible shoot has been kept under lock and key. Until now.

Axis Bold as Love
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The Experience
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The Dream Grew Strong
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Can You See Me?
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Looking For A Soul
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Room Full Of Mirrors – contact sheet
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A special small size at a lower price

Two photographs in the collection – one of Jimi and one of The Experience – are offered in a smaller physical size, and in a larger than usual edition, at a lower price. They have a 7×7 inch image size on 8×10 inch paper, each in a limited edition of 100. Purchasers of a pair will receive matched edition numbers where possible. Earlier edition numbers will be allocated to those purchasing a pair.

Special offer 8 x 10 inch solo portrait
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Special offer 8 x 10 inch group portrait
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Want both?
Buy the pair

Can You See Me ?

Introducing a very special limited edition book

A large format limited edition book from Ormond Yard Press that you can display on your wall just like a work of art and enjoy every day.

The front cover of Can You See Me? in its slipcase

Can You See Me ? the limited edition book from Ormond Yard Press. 

Ormond Yard Press: Bringing You The Bigger Picture.

Can You See Me? Jimi Hendrix by Donald Silverstein, the fourth book from our publishing arm, Ormond Yard Press, features the very best from Donald Silverstein’s  previously unpublished 1967 archive of Jimi Hendrix photographs. You can read all about it here.

For my money, Donald Silverstein’s 1967 session is the great undiscovered Jimi Hendrix archive, and this book celebrates these images in glorious ultra-large format.

As with all Ormond Yard Press volumes, it is a book on a spectacular scale: a hardcover volume housed in its own printed slipcase and measuring 24 inches high x 18 inches wide (60x45cm) when closed, 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90cm) when open, with 96 pages of photographs. The physical scale may be large, but the edition size is reassuringly small – just 500 individually numbered copies are available to collectors worldwide.

Buy Can You See Me?

The Copyright Collection

The Copyright Collection

Something unique for the discerning collector.

A number of clients have asked if we can offer them unique pieces – something that no-one else can own, and where only one example exists.

We can now make this a reality, because in an innovative new approach to offering collectible photography, Donald Silverstein’s family have selected a small number of images from his Hendrix to offer to collectors as unique artworks.

By purchasing one of these unique items, you acquire a beautiful handmade photograph of a select image, and also acquire full copyright. No-one else is legally able to reproduce the image because it is under your ownership and control. 

We present images from the Copyright Collection in a  beautiful custom display case, designed with ‘cascading’ contents. The interior coulis of the box have been chosen to reference the pink and green colours of the jacket Jimi is wearing for the shoot.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to discuss pricing and arrange a viewing to see the images that have been selected to be part of this unique offer.

The box containing an image included in The Copyright Collection
Interior view of the box containing an image in The Copyright Collection

A purchaser of one of these specially selected individual photographs will acquire a beautiful handcrafted bespoke display box containing the following items:

  • a custom reference print (approximately 16×20 inches) of the photograph in question, made by hand in the darkroom from the original negative, and set in an archival window mount, with debossed title;
  • the original negative, contained in a bespoke case covered with Colorado Exe bookcloth, and titled in white foil blocking;
  • a legally binding document transferring ownership of the copyright in the image in question to the buyer, bound in Colorado Exe bookcloth, and titled in white foil blocking;
  • an ultra-high resolution drum scan of the original negative, in a bespoke case covered with Colorado Exe bookcloth, and titled in white foil blocking;
  • a special 12×12 inch book of photographs from the shoot. This book is specific to the box set and not available to purchase by itself. As with other box contents, it is bound in Colorado Exe bookcloth, and titled in white foil blocking.

Installation photographs

A selection of photographs of framed examples. 

Biography

New York born Donald Silverstein (1934-75) started photographing early in life. Given a Rolleiflex camera by his mother at the age of 12, by 19 has was photographing for Glamour Magazine in the US and at 20 has was sent to London on a one year contract for English Vogue by renowned Art Director Alexander Lieberman.

He loved Europe and ended up staying for four years:  two in England, and then two years working for French Vogue in Paris. During that period he developed a close friendship with French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin. Donald returned to the US and worked in New York for three years. He was a big music fan, with a strong sense of style, and that comes across strongly in the record sleeve portraits he took during this period for Riverside records, and which won him many awards.

He missed Europe, however, and decided to return, with his family, with London acting as a central base. He shot for fashion publications, newspapers, major advertising agencies. He kept esteemed company.  A 1964 Daily Mirror article on Britain’s top photographers shows him alongside Bailey, Donovan and Duffy.

Donald opened a London studio on Riding House Street, just around the corner from Carnaby Street. He photographed the first Biba mail order catalogue, featuring model Madeleine Smith. He shot royalty – almost. The Silverstein family archive contains a beautiful portrait by Donald of Wallis Simpson, gloves off.

He was an award winning photographer, collecting over 50 professional awards in the course of his career. A medal in the 1968 Design and Art Directors awards for his photograph of a little boy with a bandaged eye (used in adverts for preventing accidents from fireworks), was followed by four medals in 1969 including an award (with Alan Aldridge) for the iconic 1968 poster image used for the London screening of Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls movie, which featured his photograph of a provocatively posed young model, now artist, Clare Shenstone.

He loved music and was thrilled to receive the Jimi Hendrix commission in 1967, creating what has become his most well known image, and one of the most important images of Jimi Hendrix.  Donald led a vibrant life, then he died too young, in 1975.