For Art Kane, a face was never enough. With rock ‘n’ roll musicians, Kane’s approach was to strip away the instruments and take them off the stage, and construct portraits that projected what they meant to him. Armed with background facts on Jefferson Airplane, he immersed himself in their sound. He saw flight as a key part of their identity, not just because of the name of the band. In his notebooks he wrote flying by any means, drugs or fantasy, to leave the ground, enter the rabbit hole…They seem to favour the look of the ‘bad guy’ in the old Western movies… For the cover picture Kane commissioned six plexiglas boxes – at a cost of $3,000 – a huge expense at the time. They were stacked in an environment suggesting a barren stretch of Western desert, in front of a mound of gypsum on the bank of New York’s East River across from the Union Nations Building. He wanted them to float, to appear apart, separated in their individual boxes. This photograph appeared on the cover of Life Magazine on June 28, 1968.
Art Kane: Jefferson Airplane, 1968 Life Magazine Cover photograph
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