Joni Mitchell Photographs by Joel Bernstein, 1972-76

Finding her voice with the 1971 acclaim of Blue, Joni Mitchell’s streak of success would continue with the back-to-back release of four additional studio albums over the next four years, a period of time captured most poignantly by Joel Bernstein.

As a up and coming young photographer at the age of 15, Bernstein had the opportunity to photograph Mitchell. Bernstein, also blooming as a guitar prodigy, claimed to Mitchell that he could play her guitar tunings. Unbelieving, Mitchell challenged the young man and was blown away when Bernstein played her unusual tunings perfectly, the rest was history as she trusted him to create artistic images of her again, including what was the creation of the black and white series of Mitchell skating across a frozen lake in the silhouette of a blackbird. Bernstein tells the story of Mitchell creating a blackbird costume at a thrift store before the shoot.

Bernstein's photographs are included In the gatefold from Mitchell’s 1976 LP, Hejira, his photographs also includes a refreshingly earnest shot of a guitar wielding Joni said to be her favorite portrait of herself.


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