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Neil Young - photographs by Joel Bernstein

Exhibition preview

FROM October 4 to November 10, 2012, Snap Galleries, specialists in rare and exclusive rock ‘n’ roll photographs, is presenting an exhibition of photographs of Neil Young by acclaimed US photographer Joel Bernstein.

Just 18 at the time, and for his first album cover commission, Bernstein made the heavily solarised portrait of Neil Young that appeared on the front cover of After The Gold Rush (1970), and his images have appeared on subsequent Neil Young albums including Harvest (1972), Time Fades Away (1973) among others.

Joel Bernstein’s relationship with Neil Young extends way beyond that of photographer and subject. Bernstein is Neil Young’s archivist, and was instrumental in the research and production of the acclaimed Neil Young Archives box set.

He estimates that he has made at least 10,000 photographs of Young since 1970. Bernstein also believes that he has spent “19½ years – and one day” in archiving Neil Young’s recorded output.

The exhibition coincides with the release of Neil Young’s long awaited autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, which is published in the UK on October 4, 2012.

Famously Neil Young once said: “The weakness of an autobiography is the lack of perspective of the person who’s writing it. So, for that reason, I’ll never write an autobiography. Never. I told Pegi, “Never let me do it.” There’s no reason.”

Bernstein puts some perspective on this: “Neil is like a lighthouse beam. He has an incredibly intense focus in a very narrow area to the exclusion of all else. He does what he wants to do when he wants to do it and doesn’t do what he doesn’t want to do when he doesn’t want to do it.”

Bernstein’s work was the inspiration for the look of Cameron Crowe’s well-received rock film Almost Famous, in which many scenes were precise re-creations of Bernstein’s photographs.

Cameron Crowe said of Bernstein’s work: “As a photographer, Joel shoots like a fellow musician. Bernstein blends in, using all the resources of his understanding of the songs, the instruments, the subject, and the people. There is soul and movement and most of all, music, in every one of Joel’s images. This is what it looked like, and this is what it felt like.”

Joel Bernstein’s wider archive spans more than three decades, and chronicles the inner lives and public moments of some of the most important musicians of our time. They include Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Prince, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty.

Bernstein’s work is well known within the world of music, and is included in the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. He has been published in a wide spectrum of books on music, musicians, and the music business, as well as in Time, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Snap Galleries Limited, 8 Piccadilly Arcade, London, SW1Y 6NH