Jimi Hendrix 1968

 

 Jimi Hendrix at Hunter College New York, March 2, 1968 by Jeffrey Price


I had just turned 16 and was pretty excited when my friend Larry said his dad would take us into New York to see Jimi Hendrix. I’d been out in San Francisco visiting Haight Ashbury the summer before, so I had heard about (though not been to) the Monterey Pop Festival, and I knew about Jimi Hendrix and loved his first album “Are You Experienced,” especially when played loud through headphones.

Larry and I were both photographers, and I brought my Nikkormat camera to the concert. Our seats were towards the back of the hall, and so most of my negatives from that night had a tiny Hendrix on a distant stage. Finally, I felt bold enough to run up the aisle to take a few pictures at closer range.

This image was one of the best of them, but it got better as we experimented in the darkroom Larry set up in his hall bathroom where we could print our pictures. He showed me how to make a ‘solarized’ print by flashing white light as the print was developing, a technique popularized by the artist Man Ray. I didn’t like the way this made Jimi’s face look, so I created a shadow that blocked the face from getting the outlines of solarization. This produced a unique print, since the final printed image was very different from the negative.

I submitted this print to the Scholastic Art Awards in Hartford, and it not only was awarded a ‘gold key award,’ but it was also sent to the National Scholastic Awards and was awarded honors for ‘Experimental and Creative Design.’

My friend Steve and I saw Jimi again about a year later at Woosley Hall in New Haven, which was an amazing small place to see such great talent (Janis Joplin played there the same month as Jimi, as I recall). Steve managed to get backstage (it was downstairs, actually) and met Jimi. I tried, but got turned away when they saw my phony press ID. Steve gave Jimi a copy of my photograph and took credit for taking the shot. What the heck, at least he got the photo to Jimi. As Steve told me: Jimi thanked him for the picture, put the photo in guitar case and said ‘cool, man, I’ll put it up when I got home.’

In 1996 I sent a copy of this photograph along with its history to The Experience Music Project, the Jimi Hendrix museum organized by Paul Allen, formerly Bill Gate’s partner at Microsoft (and owner of, I believe, among many treasures, the guitar Jimi lit on fire at Monterey.) The museum sent me a complimentary letter, and this photograph is now in that permanent museum collection in Belleview, Washington.

In 2009, on the weekend of the 40th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock, I photographed my original image, retouched a few creases and dings, and created this print in a slightly larger size from the original. This is the second print from that new edition, and it will never be produced mechanically, but only printed by myself as a tribute to Jimi’s amazing music and times gone by.

 

 For pricing and availability, please call Jeffrey at Artists' Market at 800-279-6257

Thanks, Jimi. Keep cool.