“Visions of a Magic Time” offers an insider’s look at some of music’s biggest legends.
Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, Los Angeles, 1979, shot by Henry Diltz.
Compared to the “branding” that seems embedded in every social media gesture and the dubious authenticity of reality TV, the rock royalty photographs of Pattie Boyd, Henry Diltz, and Carinthia West appear nearly guileless. Gathered together in “Visions of a Magic Time”—on view at Hilton-Asmus Foto September 18 to October 30—these shots of stars on the road, at the beach, laughing, or lost in conversation simultaneously iconize and humanize the artists who created the soundtrack of a generation.
Although these photographers sometimes shot with the wider world as their target, even their most commercial images projected an air of informal intimacy. West’s portrait of Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, enchanted by Wood’s infant son, is an eye-opening glimpse of these men in a mode miles away from their strutting on the stage. Boyd was married to both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, so she had immediate access to their moods and manners. And as a former model accustomed to facing the camera, she understood well the inherent intrusiveness of the lens.
Diltz, who made the scene just about everywhere in the ’60s and ’70s, from Woodstock to LA’s musician-packed Laurel Canyon, says, “I am very low key in my approach. Sometimes I don’t take any pictures until people forget why I’m there. If someone’s not interested in being photographed, then I’ll probably put my camera away. David Crosby might give me the finger once in a while, but that’s just his nature, not a warning!” On view September 18-October 30, Hilton-Asmus Foto, 716 N. Wells St., 312-475-1788. A pop-up exhibit is also on view September 19-30 at Virgin Hotel, 203 N. Wabash Ave., 25th Fl.