October 30, 2012

David Gahr at Morrison Hotel

David Gahr: Legacy of a Master Photographer
Morrison Hotel Gallery, New York City
October 25 – November 20, 2012

Back in July, Aaron Zych from the Morrison Hotel Gallery called to ask if we would be interested in producing an exhibition from the archives of music photographer, David Gahr. At the time, aside from recognizing a few images, we knew little of Gahr’s work, who passed away in 2008 …


From the Morrison Hotel Gallery press release:


The launch of David’s career coincided with the birth of the folk music revival, and he and his camera soon emerged as fixtures of the Greenwich Village circuit, documenting virtually every significant figure and moment of the period. Gahr established an instant rapport with his subjects. His intense affection for music guaranteed he captured his subjects in flattering, sometimes reverential contexts, and his particular expertise with posed shots included skillful employment of natural light.


Fortunately for us, we were able to work closely on this project with Robert B. Ward, a long-time associate of David’s and the acting archivist of the Gahr estate. Bob was a tremendous help in determining the look of the exhibition prints, as well as a source for anecdotal information that would give us clues into David’s working procedures.


David Gahr: Pete Seeger, Beacon, NY 1958
30 x 40 archival pigment print


By all accounts, David Gahr was a hardworking photographer known for rigorously controlling the published look and feel of his images by making as many of his own final prints as possible in his own darkroom. However, one idea that Ghar did not seem to entertain was creating master prints to set the standard of his vision for the future. So, while vast in content, the archive would unfortunately yield only a somewhat uneven selection of prints to use as guides for this exhibition, the first ever of his work. In fact, most of the supplied prints appeared to have been rejects and extras saved from his initial printing sessions as he prepared reproduction copies for the various publications and record companies for which he had been hired to shoot.



David Gahr: Howlin’ Wolf Band, Newport Folk Festival, 1966
20 x 24 archival pigment print


All the images chosen by the Morrison Hotel Gallery were shot on location using 35mm black and white film in natural or existing light, a signature element of Gahr’s personal style. The original negatives were scanned at LTI/Lightside, a decision determined primarily by the general condition of the negatives, which, were curated from a shooting career that spanned more than 30 years. As mentioned, David was a steady professional shooter who amassed an enormous volume of work on assignment . His images were well received and often requested and published again and again. Many of the original negatives appeared to have been well-traveled – though sometimes not so well cared for – and in a few cases, damaged from all the handling and transit. Therefore, it was decided that the best solution to present a consistent reflection of Ghar’s vision for the Morrison Hotel would be to create an all-new set of high-resolution master files and fiber-based archival pigment prints.

Once the negatives were scanned, we then set about preparing them for a series of internal proofing rounds. This involved a general cleaning of the newly produced the raw scans, the identification of any handling and damage issues that were present in the original negatives and loosely adjusting the tone and contrast for each image based on whatever 8 x 10 original prints were available from the archive. This in-house work was done in preparation of inviting Ward and Zych in to (re)acquaint themselves for the first time with the digitized versions of their exhibition choices.



David Gahr: Joni Mitchell, Newport Folk Festival, 1967
20 x 24 archival pigment print


Initial review rounds are always interesting. For Ward and Zych, this part of the process proved to be rather eye-opening as we chose to present the first set of proofs enlarged to nearly 16″ long dimension … a size already larger than either had seen these images ever before. Gahr’s images did not disappoint and all the original choices held up nicely for focus. A flurry of notes were taken from that first session. Perhaps the one difficult issue that arose was simply choosing which images would be enlarged to 30″ x 40″ as they nearly all looked like terrific candidates for mural printing!



David Gahr: Sam Sheppard and Patti Smith, Chelsea Hotel, New York City, 1971
20 x 24 archival pigment print

After we applied the changes from the initial round, we switched to proofing images in small batches, enabling us to edge each image closer towards the what we perceived Ghar’s preferred tone and contrast to be. Eventually, the entire body of 40 prints was able to stand on its own, realized as a whole for the first time ever.


You can view the entire catalog of Gahr’s works represented by The Morrison Hotel Gallery by clicking here and you also read further into David’s story by visiting his website here:



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October 14, 2010

Thursday night openings (Rain Report): Tim Barber, Danny Clinch

Burning Bridges
Tim Barber:
Nike Bowery Stadium

Now that I’ve been to the Nike Bowery Stadium and having tried to describe the night to a bunch of different people I’ve found myself on the dumb end of the question: What exactly is the Nike Bowery Stadium? I say “dumb end” because I actually haven’t been able to answer. So like any smart guy would do, I looked them up online and checked the “about” link … here’s how Nike (I presume) calls it:


Nike Stadiums are new multi-purpose destinations in Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Stages for inspired performers, labs for innovative expressions, spaces where stories are told and others are written.
We are always open, always on.
I don’t know if “always open” translates into 24 hours … but there’s still a good bit of “Huh?” in there for me. For instance, they don’t mention anywhere that there’s a retail component to the whole thing and yet, I found myself purchasing a a pair of these?



Anyway, the real reason we were there was to revel in the fantastic display of b+w images shot by Tim Barber called Burning Bridges (again, don’t ask) … the important thing is, the work looks great!

Barber (left)


From Darkness to a Dream
Danny Clinch
Morrison Hotel Gallery
October – November, 2010


The Moment (The New York Times / T Magazine), recently caught up with photographer, harmonica player and filmmaker, Danny Clinch, whose images can be seen at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo from Thursday.
Read the interview by clicking here:


As mentioned above, it rained Thursday night … pretty hard, pretty much all night, in fact. Despite this, here’s what the Danny Clinch opening at Morrison Hotel looked like by the time I arrived:

Jammed, from one end …

to the other.

Clinch, mobbed.


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