Bruce Springsteen in the heartland.
That's the theme of the new "From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland" exhibition from photographers David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen. It's on display through Nov. 4 at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York City.
Pamela Springsteen, a professional photographer, took pics of her brother for "The Ghost of Tom Joad" album in the mid '90s, and Kennedy shot the Boss in the early '80s for another Springsteen solo acoustic project, 1982's "Nebraska."
Yet, his cover shot for "Nebraska," a highway on a barren landscape, was taken in 1975.
"This picture was in the my studio and (Andrea) Klein, who was one of the art directors at Sony that worked with Bruce, saw it and she thought it would be great for the 'Nebraska' cover and she showed it to Bruce," said Kennedy at the Oct. 23 opening reception at the Morrison Gallery. "Bruce loved it and wanted to use it".
"Andy introduced me to Bruce and I listened to the album and was just blown away and I said I would be honored to work on this."
Pamela Springsteen and Frank Stefanko at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Oct. 23. (Photo: Dan Bassini)
Kennedy took portraits of Springsteen in Brewster, N.Y. He used the traditional analogue technique of platinum palladium printing, which gives the images a look at warmth and permanence.
He's known for the technique.
"It's a hand made process from the 1800s," said Kennedy, who wore a cowboy hat and leather vest to the opening.
Pamela Springsteen, who has photographed Trent Reznor, Neil Young, Ice Cube and more, took her brother's pics in the Mojave Desert and the underside of Los Angeles.
"Bruce on the Highway" by Pamela Springsteen. (Photo: Pamela Springsteen)
The Freehold native was also at the Oct. 23 opening, taking pics with fans, friends and sister Virginia Springsteen Shave. Springsteen Shave relayed the story of her part in inspiring her brother to write the "The River" and as if on cue, "The River" came on the speakers at the gallery.
Amy Kalman, Virginia Springsteen Shave and Julie Sokol at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Oct. 23. (Photo: Courtesy of Spring-Nuts)
Other attendees included Frank Stefanko, Allan Tannenbaum and Jim Marchese. Stefanko, who shot the cover of "Darkness on the Edge of Town," was there with his wife Carol. They had just returned from Bologna, Italy where his "Bruce Springsteen. Further up the Road" exhibition is showing at the Ono Arte Contemporanea there.
The works of Springsteen and Kennedy in the Morrison exhibit have a sparseness and intimacy that informs Bruce Springsteen's current presentation, "Springsteen on Broadway."
"It’s all about the heartland and the real Americana and what's going on in American and how everybody is feeling about it," Kennedy said. "I think that’s what’s going on Broadway — doesn’t it feel that way to you?"
The exhibit is also running in the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Los Angeles. Visit www.morrisonhotelgallery.com for more info.
Chris Jordan: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @chrisfhjordan