From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland is available in NYC and LA
Morrison Hotel Gallery is once more celebrating the music of Bruce Springsteen with an exhibition that’s now open in Los Angeles and New York City. Titled “From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland,” the show will feature the extraordinary photography of David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen.
Last year, the gallery presented the work of photographer Frank Stefanko in honor of the release of his book, Bruce Springsteen: Further Up the Road. Held amidst the buzz created by Springsteen’s ongoing successful run on Broadway, the upcoming exhibition will focus on two of The Boss’s most critically-acclaimed albums – Nebraska and Tom Joad.
Both albums were heralded for their stripped-down style, as well as their dark and somber themes. After failing to produce the same haunting effect with his E-Street Band that he had on the demos, Springsteen recorded Nebraska by himself on a four-track cassette recorder. The result was an evocative folk-style album that showed the flip side of the American dream: desperate characters for whom life has gone off the tracks. The Ghost of Tom Joad once more displayed Springsteen’s knack for acoustic storytelling, exploring the stories of immigrants and migrant workers searching for salvation never to be found.
The photo shoots for both of these albums were inspired by the music, and it is these photographs that will be on display in the Springsteen exhibit. Among the iconic photographs in this collection are the bleak, snow-swept landscape shot chosen for the Nebraska cover. The shot was taken by Kennedy, well-known for his breathtaking depictions of New Mexican culture and landscapes, through the windshield of a pickup truck while on a road trip. Andy Kline, one of the art directors at Columbia Records, happened to see a framed print of the shot hanging on the wall of Kennedy’s studio, thought it would be perfect for the album, and showed it to Bruce – who agreed. The pair also felt that Kennedy would be the ideal photographer to convey the album’s raw, stripped-down vibe, so they scheduled a shoot. A series of photos taken at Kennedy’s summer home in upstate New York became the legendary Nebraska sessions – with Bruce and Kennedy wandering the property and backroads to capture images that felt natural and true-to-life.
For the Tom Joad sessions, Pamela opted for shots taken in the Mojave Desert and run-down neighborhoods in L.A. Her imagery went hand-in-hand with the album’s stories of desolation and desperation. 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 and music icons. As Bruce’s sister, she had the opportunity to capture intimate portraits of him that are as quiet and introspective as the songs on these two critically-acclaimed albums.
“In keeping with Morrison Hotel Gallery’s tribute to Bruce Springsteen, we wanted to focus on a more Americana portrait of the Boss,” says Peter Blachley, co-owner of Morrison Hotel Gallery. “No finer examples of this can be presented than the photography of David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen and their work with Bruce on Nebraska and Tom Joad.”
Morrison Hotel Gallery (MHG) was founded in 2001 by former record company executive Peter Blachley, music retail industry professional Richard Horowitz, and legendary music photographer Henry Diltz. In 2012, author, director and photographer Timothy White joined the team, launching an additional West Coast gallery at The Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood. In 2016, the gallery launched 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 finest music photographers and their archives. Their vast catalog of photography encompasses jazz, blues, and rock imagery spanning several generations through to today’s contemporary music artists and now includes iconic photographs in the world of sports as well. MHG has a robust online presence, featuring over 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.