Okay, this one's for the books! Henry Diltz is nothing less than my photographic hero; a true gentleman and an absolute legend. No matter if you have never encountered his name, you have undoubtedly seen his pictures. The iconic Morrison Hotel cover for The Doors is just one of Henry's 250 album covers and thousands of publicity shots from the '60s and '70s. His work includes photographs Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Eagles, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney among many other legends, and landmark cultural events such as Woodstock and The Monterey Pop Festival.
It was the fact that he was a member of the tribe that set him apart from other photographers. As a musician and founding member of the Modern Folk Quartet, he was a popular musician during the Laurel Canyon days and the Sunset Strip era. Being immersed in the California rock community in the 1960s and 1970s, Henry became friends with all the emerging recording artists. The importance of his photographs comes from the fact that he first took pictures to create memories with his peers, not as a career. As a result, they reveal a candid portrait of a community that changed the face of music as we know it. It's no wonder I look up to him so much. Being an indie musician myself and a film photographer, he inspires my approach to documenting the current LA indie scene.
Henry Diltz founded the Morrison Hotel Gallery, an art gallery specializing in fine-art rock photography. Los Angeles' Morrison Hotel Gallery can be found in the lobby of the Sunset Marquis hotel. As they're showcasing his career-spanning work in a month-long exhibition called "Be Mused", I had the chance to meet him on the opening night. Being the center of attention seemed to amuse him. He told me it felt weird because he's used to being on the other side. Of course, he's being humble because to me and many others, he's as legendary as the people he captured.
I asked him to pose in front of a picture of the band that changed my life when I was a teenager, Nirvana. Full circle.
Treat yourself, go see the exhibition and bring home a print by the maestro.
Be Mused, A Henry Diltz retrospective at The Morrison Hotel Gallery,
Address: 1200 Alta Loma Rd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Nov 3 - Dec 3 2022.