A World Gone Purple; Why the passing of a music icon touches us so deeply.

photo credit Ben James/Yamaha Entertainment Group

photo credit Ben James/Yamaha Entertainment Group

I remember when Prince first hit the scene. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him. Was he rock? Was he funk? Was he R & B? He pushed limits and tested all the norms. Like many, I couldn’t help but be drawn into his music and to his persona. To put it simply, he was a master of all that he did. He was pure genius in a purple overcoat.

We’ve lost many great artists this year. But the way the world has mourned the loss of Prince seems to stand out unlike some of the others. From musical tributes to world landmarks turning purple in his honor, the outpouring has been remarkable. Bruce Springsteen, on his current tour has honored artists lost this year through performing one of their songs in the encore part of his show. On Saturday night he broke the norm and the band walked on to a stage bathed in purple to open “The River Tour” with Purple Rain. Prince, in an interview,  when asked who he admired, cited Bruce and his band for their professionalism and dedication to performing at their best night after night. The feeling was obviously mutual.

The best artists have a plan and a command of the path they are on. They put in thousands of hours perfecting their craft so that when we as the audience experience their work we become part of it in what feels like an effortless embrace. Probably no other art form can accomplish this like music can.

Neuroscientists have found that music affects the brain unlike any other stimuli. They’ve discovered that music actually affect a special receptor part of the brain that not only stimulates emotion but at the same time motor response. Our muscles kick in automatically as we tap our feet or fingers to a beat. Nietzsche said our bodies “mirror the narrative of the melody, and the thoughts and feelings it provokes” Music is a part of our bio-humanity and our global history. Perhaps that is why no other art form is so celebrated  when greatness is experienced and mourned so deeply when it is lost.

Creativity and art is an evolving process. Being human is no different and perhaps that is why the act of creating is truly the act of giving; the highest form of humanity that we can achieve.

Thank you Prince for allowing us to be part of your humanity.



The Art of the Fine Print

There are many factors that bear discussion when considering a fine art photograph’s place in the art world. Critics and scholars will often look at three compelling factors.


One is the image itself. How is composed? What subtleties and nuances bear further discussion? What do we feel when we gaze at it?


Next, are its technical attributes. As photography is an evolving art form, what processes and techniques were employed here? How did the artist work with the constraints and parameters of the medium to craft the image? And how is the final print produced? One should always look for the highest quality of finished print when considering a purchase.

And last is its historical perspective. Where does the image live in history? Is its value in a record of some time and place? Is it a moment in the evolution of the artist’s body of work?

If you are considering buying a fine art photograph one last factor should be at the top after all the others have passed the test. Is this an image you would be proud to display in your home?

Fine art consultants cannot emphasize enough picking an image that has meaning to buyer. For the art photography collector and Bruce Springsteen fan, rare photos of Bruce Springsteen are a fit. And one should never discount the investment value. Many Bruce Springsteen photos have more than tripled in value since their initial limited editions have been offered. 


Bruce Springsteen, Cambridge, MA May 1974

Bruce Springsteen, Cambridge, MA May 1974

On Being Part of a Music Photography Collection

I’m not exactly sure how it all happens but people find my photos. I’m always glad to learn how and why. Often, it’s because of my Bruce Springsteen photographs. Some are looking for a gift, some are researching for a publication and some are collectors who have specific subjects they are looking for. Or looking “at”, like the music photography collector who collects images of music icons shot from behind.

Talking to individuals who “discover” my work is always a great pleasure. For me, the Bruce Springsteen photos are from a very memorable night that showcased an incredible young artist who was performing that night with a clear sense of purpose. No one knew then that, nor suspected, that that evening would end up having the stuff legends are made of. But I knew we were witnessing something remarkable in the making. I remember when the doors opened for the second show that night I had set aside a row of seats down front for my closest friends. I couldn’t wait for them to experience what I already had.

When I chose to revisit the images from that night years later I found that I was not only enjoying looking at the collection of images I took but also in many ways reliving the emotion and excitement of the night. Finding out was more that one piano shot that deserved investigation as well as a few other hidden gems gave me great satisfaction. There was more here than I imagined.

Last August Dave Bett art director at Columbia records contacted me. He was working on a project and was interested in seeing some of my photos of Bruce Springsteen.  I mentioned to him that my collection was from his May 9, 1974 show at the Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA. The show where Jon Landau penned the now famous line “ I saw the future of rock and roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen”. Dave affirming that it was indeed an important night for He opted to dedicate a full page in the booklet of Bruce Springsteen memorabilia to that night in was to become this weeks Bruce Springsteen Re-Mastered Album Box Set release. History again brought to the surface of an evening for the ages in a collection that brings new light and new sound to a timeless artist.




Music Photography is the New Fine Art Collectible

If you’ve ever thought about collecting art but felt the price, or the whole concept of it was beyond you, read further. In the last decade the idea of collecting fine art photography has risen dramatically. Curators and music photography galleries recommend it for a number of reasons. One, its affordable and a great way to start a collection, two, the market value of many works has risen dramatically giving all signs that this trend is not going away, and three, you can purchase something that is truly unique and you’d be happy to hang on your wall.

A recent article in the highly respected Financial Times not only supported this but also keyed in on collecting music photography.  To quote the Times

Music photography – images that were once ripped out of magazines and stuck on teenage bedroom walls – have become increasingly collectable. Musicians are themselves, whereas film stars are pretending to be someone else. There is more of an art to music photography because of the intimacy. Take Gered Mankowitz’s portrait of Jimi Hendrix, which nearly doubled in price from £5,367 to £9,781 between November 2013 and May 2014. Or Annie Leibovitz’s 1980 photograph of a naked John Lennon curled against a black-clad Yoko Ono. Selling for $350 in 1984 at Washington’s Govinda Gallery, the image fetched £15,420 at Sotheby’s New York in February 2013”

Early pictures of Bruce Springsteen, as featured at Gallery5.9.1974 are certainly part of this trend. For the fan who is also a collector, it is more than Bruce Springsteen memorabilia but a record of an era that had gone by. Again to quote the Times

“Simone Klein, director of photography at Sotheby’s Paris, says: “Photographs of celebrities are increasingly important in today’s celebrity-obsessed world. And rock stars from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s are the big heroes, so they are becoming more important in galleries and auctions.” Sotheby’s Paris has a Rolling Stone front cover of Keith Richards by Sante d’Orazio (est €4,000- €6,000) in a sale this month, alongside photographs by Andreas Gursky, August Sander and others.” 

In the last five years, Bruce Springsteen photos in galleries in the United States and Europe have tripled in value.

Bruce Springsteen, Cambridge, MA 5/9/1974

Bruce Springsteen, Cambridge, MA 5/9/1974

On the Bruce Springsteen Box Set Release

When you get the re-mastered Bruce Springsteen box set, set aside a few moments to page through the elegant book of Bruce Springsteen memorabilia. You’ve purchased this set to hear the marvelous re mastering of his earlier works, but the collection of Bruce Springsteen photos and other items from his past included within wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t.. “For You”. That’s right…you.


Enter the Bruce Special Collection. Housed at Monmouth University this collection outgrew some years ago the Asbury Park Library. The Collection includes approximately 20,000 holdings in multiple formats: books, songbooks, tour books, magazines, fanzines, Internet articles, academic journals and papers, comic books, selected printed items, newspaper articles, historic memorabilia, CDs, vinyl recordings, posters, DVDs and videos. To quote the Collection’s website “The Bruce Springsteen Special Collection originated in the summer of 2001 with a concern over the rate at which magazine and newspaper articles on Springsteen’s early career, once plentiful, had become increasingly scarce.  To address this problem, the Springsteen fanzine, Backstreets Magazine, organized a fan-to-fan campaign to collect and organize essential documents from each phase of Springsteen’s career, ensuring that the historic record would be publicly accessible to all who have a serious interest in Bruce Springsteen’s life and career.” It was this rich collection that Dave Bett, graphic designer for Sony Music, used to hand pick many of the items that the box set’s booklet features. Dave came to Monmouth for a few hours, ending up spending the day and promises to return. All these items, Bruce Springsteen pictures, photos and other memorabilia have been donated from one source, the fans. According to Bruce only one other location has a bigger collection, his mother’s basement.