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© Art Kane, 1968
Kane summed up his approach to photography with this statement:
“Performance shots are a waste of time, they look like everyone else’s. If you want to shoot a performer, then grab them, own them, you have to own people, then twist them into what you want to say about them.”
Like all his subjects, he immersed himself in their music to develop his concept. In the case of Jefferson Airplane, he saw flight as a defining principle of their approach. He designed the plexiglass cubes to stack the band in to create the illusion of flying, and also to reference the visual metaphor of acid rock with these large sugar cubes of acid. The plexi cubes cost $3,000 to make, a fortune for an editorial shoot in 1968, but Kane was able to command it. The photograph was taken in Queens, NYC, just south of the 59th Street bridge and across the East River from the United Nations, at a gypsum factory that lends a bizarre and almost lunar landscape.
JULIA OXMAN'S STAFF PICKS:
"Aesthetically, this photograph is pure genius. When looking at images of musicians, it is easy to get caught up only in the subject, but Art Kane's work brings the identity and thought process of the photographer to the forefront. His uniquely artistic approach adds a whole new layer of meaning, and the result is magic each time."