NEW YORK, NY—At the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo Henry Diltz and Joel Bernstein present a lifetime’s worth of work celebrating the life and achievements of ‘60s iconoclast Neil Young. This time around, it’s by intimate insiders. Diltz, who also photographed The Doors, Hendrix, McCartney and numerous other iconic musicians, started photographing Young in 1966 when he shot the relatively unknown Buffalo Springfield in front of a rock club in Redondo Beach, California.
Joel Bernstein started out at the age of 16 as Joni Mitchell’s photographer, moving on to photographing Young’s After The Gold Rush album cover and then Harvest and Time Fades Away. Going from photographer to guitar tech for Bob Dylan and back to camp Neil as the chief archivist of the Young legacy and the forthcoming series of box sets, Bernstein’s a true insider and it shows in his intimate photographs.
Before the opening Diltz and Bernstein presented their work in a slideshow at the Apple store across the street. Diltz started with his first big pic of Buffalo Springfield, then took on the Doors’ Morrison Hotel album cover shoot as well as covers for the Eagles and the first CSN album. His numerous anecdotes breathed life into the images that have been staring back at us since the ‘60s.
Bernstein’s pix were more like the fly on the wall variety by a friend with a camera in hand. Starting with Mitchell at 16 he eventually shot her while still in high school at Carnegie Hall and continued doing so through her transition from folkie to the glamorous matinee idol look she evolved into during her Hijira period.
His inner gatefold pic of a reclining Young backstage at the Electric Factory and the album cover for Young’s 1970 album, After The Gold Rush, is what Bernstein is most noted for. Taken in 1970 on the Lower East side near the corner of Sullivan and 3rd Streets, most likely before or after CSNY’s sound checking at the nearby Fillmore East, the original contained Neil walking with CSNY bandmate Graham Nash following suit down a local sidewalk.
Nash was later cropped out of the image that was then pseudo-solarized in a photographic technique that electrified and separated the image’s subject from its busy background. Bernstein philosophized at length about the timeless nature of the photo then added that years after the pic became well-known, Young confided that the reason he chose that particular photo for the cover was because the older woman passing him represented his pending divorce from his first wife at the time. At the opening Diltz, Bernstein, photographer Danny Clinch and gallery co-owner Peter Blachley played an entertaining mini set of Young classics.
You can check out these images at morrisonhotelgallery.com and in person at Morrison Hotel Gallery’s SOHO site at 124 Prince Street.