MANHATTAN, NY—Barrie Wentzell’s photos of Hendrix, Kinks, Beatles, Stones, Syd Barrett and Elton John look like they were taken by a friend. Warts and all, they show rock and roll royalty at ease and at play from Jimmy Page reclining on a coach in plaid colored pants and pasty shirt to a pre-fame Elton John sitting on a park bench next to aqualung and the Kinks laughing it up at a London pub. Syd Barrett in a thoughtful mode sporting a crew cut and Cat Stevens at another local pub. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s press conference as well as The Who bashing away in the studio are all colorful reminders of an era and Wentzell’s intriguing take on the times that he charmed the crowd with at the Apple store in SoHo and then the follow-up show at Morrison Hotel Gallery across the street.
Photos intended for the members of Pink Floyd’s individual visa applications provide an interesting look at the faceless band that rarely posed for stills. A photo of Pete Townshend playing banjo to a dog and surrounded by a menagerie of stuffed figurines in a psychedelicized outfit takes us back to the times…go ask Alice.
Wentzell caught his subjects on assignment for London music paper Melody Maker, where he worked from 1965-1975. A shot of Diana Ross while on assignment at a fashion shoot, which was then used for the paper, opened the doors to Wentzell’s magical mystery tour. At the Apple store, he told the stories behind the iconic shots in a slideshow presentation that included traveling with Led Zeppelin to Belfast at the height of the “troubles” in the early ‘70s, as well as shooting the Stones at the free and infamous Hyde Park show where guitarist Mick Taylor was introduced to the public following Brian Jones’ death. For more on Barrie’s work and the Morrison Hotel Gallery, check out morrisonhotelgallery.com. Don’t forget to check out the gallery’s next opening of David Gahr’s work on Oct. 25.