Monday, April 29, 2013

Graham Nash's Visual Harmony: Rock Photographer on the Inside Looking Out

By: Anne M. Raso

The Morrison Hotel Gallery in Soho and the Americana Shopping Mall in Manhasset, LI, are both currently proud to be hosting rock legend's Graham Nash's Virtual Harmony photography exhibit. I was lucky enough to attend the opening night celebration at the Manhattan location at 124 Prince Street and got some of Nash's own views on his photography. The photos are not your typical live, sweaty "rock star" shots but show vulnerability like the humble Nash himself has. He likes to portray a rock star having "a thinking man's moment" with no concern for vanity.
Graham Nash (second to left) and Friends

If you are familiar with Nash's photo work, you know that not only does he have an insider's view and access to shooting other rock legends, but he is really all over the charts with his work--his last exhibit in New York (called The Art Of Graham Nash at the ACA Galleries last autumn) included large collages of images that dealt with particularly heavy subjects like war and racism, next to amusing photos of Nash taking photos of himself in hotel bathroom mirrors. The Visual Harmony exhibit, which is at the Morrison Hotel Gallery through mid-May, is only about rock and roll.
There are candid and posed shots of the likes of CSN&Y on vacation in Hawaii, a unique b/w side profile shot of Elvis Costello wearing a pork pie hat, a whimsical oversized b/w shot of Neil Young with bangs before he was in CSN&Y and more. There is even a colorful Pink Floyd live shot and one of the best Johnny Carter and Joni Mitchell performance shots of the 70s ever taken. Nash's color self-portrait, which actually is hidden way in the back of the Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft area, shows a nearly unrecognizable Nash with his longest-ever hair and beard (if he had kept it up, he probably could have joined ZZ Top in a month or two more, LOL)!
Hearts Desire 72dpi
In general, Nash seems preferring having mixed medium shows, but Visual Harmony--the very best of his rock photography--is something he is very pleased with. He told me, "The Morrison Hotel Gallery is very smart. They realized rock photography would come into its own very early on and they know that people's interest in the history of the 60s will last for a long, long time. I think that when historians look back at the 60s in the future, they are going to equate it with the Renaissance and Vienna at the turn of the century or Paris in the 1930s. I think they are going to think the same about the 60s." As for the self-portraits he has done, especially the aforementioned "mirror series" that includes shooting himself in bathroom mirrors and small round reflective surfaces like hubcaps, he says with a chuckle, "I prefer a distorted view of myself. I like the strange moments of myself. I know it sounds strange, but I don't even really know what I look like. I feel like I am just a brain on a stick."
We had to ask him (since this is a foodie website after all if he has any particular favorite cuisines or eateries. He told me, "Honestly, I am not fussy. I am not a foodie. I resent the time it takes to cook something and sit down and eat it. I like to keep moving. I am happy with an apple. If I never had to eat again, that would be fine with me." Still, he admits that he and his entourage did enjoy dining at the Modern Asian eatery called Toku in Manhasset after the opening night of Visual Harmony there.
As for his future projects, the twice-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told me, "I have a million things going on. Not just touring (with CSNY) but I am just finishing autobiography coming out with Crown Books in September and I just finished (producing) Stephen's 50 Years boxed set and finalizing a live CSNY 1974 show being released as an album...and I have been painting like a maniac." I hope to be covering more of this Renaissance Man's work. His paintings are amazing--they go from pop art to very "painterly" and straight up “abstract”--and I can't wait to see his newest pieces!

Photos by Anne Raso and Morrison Hotel Gallery

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