Photo Review

by Julie on March 19, 2012

Jimi Hendrix, New York City, 1970

Australian magazine Photo Review just published an interview they recorded during the Antipodean leg of the Rolling Stone Years Cosmic World Tour. Some of the highlights:

PR: You’ve said that often you’d come away from shooting a concert and remember almost nothing of what had happened. Why is that?

BW: You had to be totally involved in the photographic moment. There was no autofocus, no auto-exposure, no auto-winders. Everything was done manually and you had to think it out in advance before you did anything. On stage the lights were always changing, and that meant the correct exposure was always changing too. I had a spot meter that looked like a machine-gun almost. I’d point it at the musician hoping that the reading I got then would kind of stay that way for awhile, you know. That was before there ever was a meter in the camera itself.

PR: So your mind is filled with the technical challenges while you’re shooting, then you come out of it and discover what you’ve done?

BW: Well, I knew that I could turn it on and off. I had to actually stop thinking actively about what I was doing and just let it come to me. You know, I felt like I was a conduit for these images to come through – wherever they were coming from – through me to the camera. I felt like I didn’t play a major role in it – obviously I did – but I felt somehow disconnected… I didn’t feel like I was responsible for the pictures; although obviously I was.

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