Robert Sebree explains: “This is my homage to Richard Avedon’s portrait of the Chicago Seven. I chose to play with the form and use the broken format to introduce each band member twice creating a line-up that could not exist in a single frame. The pre-Photoshop era demanded solutions to be a bit less obvious. Of the countless ways that digital has impacted photography I believe this, the way we conceive of images, may be the most significant.
After a few long days in Mike Campbell’s home recording studio with all of the Heartbreakers Tom suggested a band photo. The next day I arrived early and set-up a small seamless and a few lights in one bay of Mike’s garage. That night as the band members were headed to their cars I opened the door and flipped on the lights.
It was a calculated risk springing a shot that was difficult to explain on exhausted band members after a long day. The set was only wide enough to shoot three band members at a time and I was standing outside in the dark shooting through the garage door with an old view camera. The confusion was compounded by the fact that I repositioned them after each sheet I exposed. Fortunately, Tom was intrigued by whatever I was trying to do so with his encouragement we knocked it out in just a few minutes.
The images on the periphery of each frame are my favorite moments as they were unposed. Tom appreciated that this image gives a real sense of the personalities that made up the band. The tension developing between Tom and Stan is on full display here. It’s no wonder considering Stan’s stance in the far right frame and tangling with Tom in Benmont’s frame (far left) that just two weeks later at the Viper Room I would make my last images of Stan before he left the Heartbreakers.
Tom chose this image for a benefit auction at the New York launch of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Runnin’ Down A Dream on November 14, 2007.”