For those of you with a love of festivals or a touch of nostalgia, this London exhibition is of unseen photographs from one of the most famous festivals of all time.
Baron Wolman was Rolling Stone magazine’s first photographer. In 1969 he attended what would become the most famous music festival of all time. This June, Reel Art Press presents an exhibition of Wolman’s unseen photography. The London exhibition coincides with the release of Woodstock, a sumptuous hardback edition featuring Wolman’s stunning photographs, published in their entirety for the first time.
The exhibition at Forge & Co Gallery on Shoreditch High Street will launch with a Q&A with Baron Wolman and Woodstock creator Michael Lang, who will share their personal experiences of Woodstock; intimate stories, anecdotes and stand-out performances. The show will feature a selection of Wolman’s greatest previous unseen images, including 20 x 60 exclusive prints of just 5 limited editions each, priced at £1950; and signed, numbered editions of 100 limited edition prints priced at £100 and signed by Wolman.
What started as a free event advertised for 50,000, would become the most important music festival in history, attended by over half a million people, united in a message of peace, love, openness and cultural expression. Woodstock was a defining moment for the wider counter-culture generation. “No one could have predicted the enduring influence of the Woodstock experience,” comments Wolman. “Yes, the bands were first rate and there were many of them. And the setting … was picture perfect and tranquil, a bucolic setting for relaxing with friends and listening to music and getting high. But in unexpected ways, Woodstock became more than a concert for all of us.”
Wolman captured the experience and atmosphere of Woodstock like no other photographer:
“I ended up spending most of my time out in the wild with the crowd because what was happening ‘out there’ was just too interesting not to explore.”
More interested in the crowd than the performers, his photographs are hugely evocative and offer an insight into this legendary event that is rarely seen. “The thing to remember about the 1960s, even near the end in ‘69 was that everything was totally different, the behavior was new and unexpected. Plus, the 1960s were simply wildly photogenic in every way imaginable … the changes that were taking place in the heads of the people were visually manifested. I mean, how could you not take pictures?”
“I remember flying in on the helicopter, looking down at all the people thinking, “Oh my god, it’s like a single living organism. An ocean of hair and teeth and eyes and arms!” The sound of the crowd was so loud you could hear it over the sound of the helicopter engine” – Carlos Santana
The Reel Art Press edition is the definitive photographic essay, introduced with a foreword by musician Carlos Santana and features an extensive Q&A with Baron Wolman and Michael Lang. This remarkable volume also includes Wolman’s contact sheets in their entirety, including outtakes.
2014 marks the 45th anniversary of Woodstock. This London exhibition and the 192-page hardback edition from Reel Art Press perfectly capture the zeitgeist, the music, the drugs, the people, the sheer hedonism; the enduring legacy of the most famous festival ever.
The exhibition is only running for one more week until 8th July, so get yourselves down to Shoreditch High Street. Not to be missed.