From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland is available in New York and LA
The Morrison Hotel Gallery once again celebrates the music of Bruce Springsteen with an exhibition now open in Los Angeles and New York. Entitled “From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland”, the exhibition will feature the extraordinary photographs of David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen.
Last year, the gallery presented the work of photographer Frank Stefanko on the occasion of the release of his book, Bruce Springsteen: Further on the Road. Held amid the buzz created by Springsteen’s continued success on Broadway, the next exhibition will focus on two of The Boss’s most critically acclaimed albums – Nebraska and Tom joad.
Both albums were praised for their stripped-down style, as well as their dark and gloomy themes. After failing to produce the same haunting effect with his E-Street Band that he had on the demos, Springsteen recorded Nebraska by itself on a four-track cassette recorder. The result is an evocative folk-style album that shows the flip side of the American dream: desperate characters whose lives have been derailed. The ghost of Tom Joad once again showed Springsteen’s talent for acoustic storytelling, exploring the stories of immigrants and migrant workers in search of salvation nowhere to be found.
The photoshoots for these two albums were inspired by music, and it is these photographs that will be on display in the Springsteen exhibition. Among the iconic photographs in this collection is the dark, snow-swept landscape chosen for the Nebraska cover. The photo was taken by Kennedy, well known for his stunning depictions of New Mexico culture and landscapes, through the windshield of a pickup truck while on a road trip. Andy Kline, one of Columbia Records’ artistic directors, saw a framed copy of the photo hanging on the wall of Kennedy’s studio, thought it would be perfect for the album, and showed it to Bruce – who has accepted. The couple also felt that Kennedy would be the perfect photographer to convey the raw, stripped-down vibe of the album, so they scheduled a shoot. A series of photos taken at Kennedy’s summer residence in upstate New York became the legendary Nebraska sessions – with Bruce and Kennedy wandering the property and back roads to capture images that looked natural and realistic.
For the Tom joad sessions, Pamela opted for photos taken in the Mojave Desert and run-down areas of LA. His images went hand in hand with the stories of desolation and despair on the album. In her work with celebrities from Trent Reznor to Neil Young and Ice Cube, Pamela has spent years capturing candid behind-the-scenes photographs of larger-than-life screen icons and music. As Bruce’s sister, she’s had the opportunity to capture intimate portraits of him that are as calm and introspective as the songs from those two critically acclaimed albums.
“In keeping with the Morrison Hotel Gallery’s tribute to Bruce Springsteen, we wanted to focus on a more American portrait of the boss,” says Peter Blachley, co-owner of Morrison Hotel Gallery. “No better example can be presented than the photography of David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen and their work with Bruce on Nebraska and Tom joad. “
The Morrison Hotel Gallery (MHG) was founded in 2001 by former record company manager Peter Blachley, music retail industry professional Richard Horowitz and legendary music photographer Henry Diltz. In 2012, writer, director and photographer Timothy White joined the team, launching an additional gallery on the West Coast at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood. In 2016, the gallery opened its third location at Mick Fleetwood’s general store in Maui, Hawaii.
MHG is the world’s leading brand in fine art music photography, representing over 125 of the world’s best music photographers and their archives. Their extensive catalog of photographs encompasses images from jazz, blues and rock spanning several generations to contemporary music artists today and now includes iconic photographs from the sports world as well. MHG has a strong online presence, with over 100,000 searchable images per photographer, musical artist, band or concert.