This year during the legendary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Jakprints had the opportunity to link up with New York entertainment photographer Michael Weintrob to collaborate on an art show featuring 75 images from his surrealist InstrumentHead photo project.
The pop-up gallery at 2121 Charles Street (just off Frenchman Street) was erected in just 4 weeks, converting a 50,000 sq/ft warehouse space into a venue that will accommodate 7000 attendees over a 10 day period (April 25th – May 5th 2013). In addition to the InstrumentHead exhibit, celebratory gala events were hosted on the eve of the two main JazzFest weekends. A portion of the proceeds went to two local charities: the Tipitina’s Foundation and the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation (NOMAF). The collection showcases images of musicians who were personified by their instruments, creating universally recognizable portraits without ever even showing their faces. As implied by the name of the show, each photograph features an artist who’s head has been replaced by the tools of their trade. Music aficianados may recognize the likeness of Bootsy Collins from Funkadelic, Lenny White from Return To Forever, Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, or even New Orleans local favorite Cyril Neville from The Meters, plus many, many more.
His artist bio, captures the project and the man in a few words…
For the best part of 20 years, Brooklyn-based photographer Michael Weintrob has been taking pictures of the biggest musicians in the world for prestigious publications such as Rolling Stone, Spin, Jazz Times and Newsweek. Whether he is standing in front of the stage or working in his New York studio shooting his subjects, his effervescent enthusiasm for both photography and music shines through.
Weintrob has spent the last few of years working on InstrumentHead, an exhibition of ineffably poignant photographs which offer a surreal sense of magic and mystery, yet somehow also manage to provide a fleeting but utterly revealing glimpse into the psyche of each and every subject.
InstrumentHead captures the very essence of an eclectic array of unique characters that ranges from iconic figures such as Bootsy Collins and King Sunny Ade to lesser-known but equally fascinating musicians like Big Chief Boudreaux and Uncle Lionel Batiste, who both look just as cool as their names suggest. “Whether they are famous or almost completely-unknown, whether they play mbira or Moog, saxophone or sitar, the one thing that all of them have in common is that music really is absolutely central to everything they do,” Weintrob explains, “I decided to place their instruments in front of their faces in an attempt to blur the boundaries between each individual personality and the tools of their trade.”
“When I was asked to think of a tagline to explain the idea behind my InstrumentHead exhibition, what I initially came up with was – ‘Where their head’s really at.’ I thought it sounded like it was trying a bit too hard to be hip, but when I began to really think about these intriguing, larger-than-life characters for whom music is seemingly just as important as air, I thought that “Where their head’s really at’ summed up the whole idea perfectly.”
The partnership was an easy fit for us. We have always had a great love and appreciation for the arts, and when Michael and his team approached us, the opportunity was too good to pass up. While we were challenged with how to promote the show as well as how to turn a warehouse into a gallery space within a 4 week window, we gladly jumped on board. Through a lot of hard work from both of our amazing teams, we were pretty excited for opening night, and happy to say that it went off without a hitch! We did have a bit of fun on our social sites, posting some of the images and seeing who knew the artist behind the instrument! Part of our collaboration involved the production of the limited edition prints for InstrumentHead, all being sequentially numbered and signed by Michael. Each image is offered in two sizes, 16″ x 20″ and 36″ x 48″ and available for purchase on michaelweintrob.com. Each print is produced on our custom Somerset Museum Rag Paper using archival inks, with a print permanence rating of 150 years. Read more about the quality of our Giclée printing services at Jakprints.com. They are sure to go quick, so go and get yours before it is too late!! Even Bill Summers from Headhunters, who is featured in the collection was quoted as saying “This collection is going to be historic, I guarantee it”. So please go support Michael, and be sure to leave feedback on his Facebook and Twitter sites telling him which one is your favorite.Be sure to view his full gallery of images and let us know — What’s Your Favorite InstrumentHead? Leave us a note in the comments below!