By Michael Traversa
Last Saturday we got the privilege to attend the opening of the Baron Wolman Gallery.
For those who don’t know who Baron Wolman is, he is nothing short of a legend. He was Rolling Stone magazine’s first photographer, and in the sixties he got to shoot practically all the music icons of the time: Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler.
The gallery is located in a nondescript location at 10959 Venice Blvd. The space rather small inside, is completely covered with ivy on the outside. The photographs inside are amazing and we strongly suggest to pay a visit in the next few days. There are two in particular that struck our attention, both taken at Woodstock: one of the 300,000 bodies present at the show and one of the cows sitting on the grass in front of tent city.
When we got to talk to Wolman himself we asked him about it. He was very engaging and his stories fascinating. Wolman said, “It was literally three days of sex, drugs and rock n roll. It was a party. You missed that party. And those cows you see in the other picture, they went crazy! The music and the people made them crazy to the point that they didn’t produce any milk for a month!”
We were fascinated by the fact that he had full access to the bands, that he could share the stage with them, shoot from the backstage, shoot from behind the stage (the picture of the cows). He made me think about Almost famous. Stuff like that today would not be possible and not just because of the economic crisis of the music industry and the editorial industry; at the time there was a trust between people, a trust in talented people that today has been lost, the trust that made the editor of a magazine such as Rolling Stone give a chance to a kid with a dream.
Noticing all the pictures of Mick Jagger we asked him if he followed the Stones on tour. He said, “I couldn’t. I was the first photographer for Rolling Stone I was on assignment every day. I couldn’t go on tour, every day they would tell me go here, go there”. To which I replied “What a life!” “It was indeed a great life” he confirmed.
Head over to http://www.baronwolmangallery.com to get more info, then go visit the gallery yourself, you won’t regret it.