In a decade of rock and roll excess I was looking for a sense of intimacy. When creating these portraits I sought to capture an authentic human connection behind the big personas.
The eighties was a busy and productive time when I created photography for hundreds of album covers, including Chaka Khan, Missing Persons, Kansas, Rush, Chick Corea, and Slaughter. I also had the privilege to photograph music legends such as Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Bob Weir, KISS, Yes and Tears for Fears. This book collects the faces that most resonated with me during that period. Some you will recognize, others you will not, but their personalities were all powerful, remain fascinating and add to the history. Of course a picture is worth a thousand words, but I will also be including small anecdotes to help share what I remember about the people and the moments in an effort to help you see what I saw when I looked through the lens.
Revisiting the files and proof sheets was an incredible journey down memory lane. The digital scanning and “re-mastering” of the work was informed by my analogue darkroom experience. The approach and process combines the best of both worlds.
While selecting from hundreds of photo shoots, I thought it was important to let the images, rather than celebrity, describe the decade. Sure, there are many famous faces, but just as important are the interpretations of style and the influence provided by those who didn’t become household names. For me, this tells a more complete story.
I am thrilled to be working with Andy Burgess and Dark Spring Press on The ’80s Portrait Sessions. The collaboration provided the opportunity to produce this book exactly as envisioned with exquisite quality and attention to detail. It’s been rewarding to have an objective and astute sounding board to strike the balance between pop culture and the art world.
To top it off, I’m humbled and honored that Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top wrote the book's foreword. There are a number of musicians I could have asked, but I think Billy is a perfect representation of the importance of style and image emerging from the decade.
All that said, making a book of this scale and exceptional quality is beyond the means of a small publishing house. The investment into the best possible reproduction standards comes with a hefty price tag. Please contribute to our Kickstarter to help us raise the remaining funding. In return we are offering generous one-time perks and pre-order discounts.
The book is a time capsule reflecting the essence of the era. It's not intended to be the definitive history of the eighties, but it’s my history and I believe one worth sharing. Thank you for your support!
~ Glen Wexler, Photographer
"These artists, present company included, seem somewhat serene in these shots as Glen shared his keen sense of artistry capturing us all as we really are."
~ Billy F Gibbons, ZZ Top
"The ’80s Portrait Sessions represent the purest and most distilled embodiment of Wexler’s art. Exquisitely composed and lit, these portraits capture a precious record of glamorous times. Famous artists such as Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead are captured in intimate and sensitive portraits. Legendary rock bands such as KISS, ZZ Top and Missing Persons are photographed in their finery along with influential producers, actors and models, reflecting the now infamous look and style of the 1980s and capturing the essence and glamour of the decade."
~ Andy Burgess, Publisher
About Glen Wexler:
Glen Wexler is a photographic artist best known for pushing the boundaries of the medium, creating digitally enhanced photo-compositions of improbable situations. His signature style has earned an international clientele and the following of photography collectors, including works in the permanent collection at the George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His work has been exhibited worldwide including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
At 22 years old, Wexler photographed his first album cover for Quincy Jones Productions while still a student at Art Center College of Design. Wexler veered away from his original pursuit of fine art photography to embrace opportunities in the music industry where he found a visual playground in which to hone his craft and vision. He quickly gained a reputation for his imaginative and elaborately staged photo illustrations for Michael Jackson, Van Halen, Rush, Black Sabbath, Yes and many others. Wexler is also well known for his studio portraits of musicians and celebrities.
Internationally recognized as one of the original artists to incorporate digital imaging technology into the creative process, Wexler is widely regarded as a leader in the field. His work has been profiled in many publications including Communication Arts, French PHOTO, Creativity, Los Angeles Times, Apple Pro Stories, and Adobe Photoshop Innovator’s Spotlight.
About Dark Spring Press:
Dark Spring Press is an independent publisher located in Tucson, Arizona presenting elegant, meaningful, small run and limited edition photography books founded in 2017 by Andy Burgess.
All images © 2018 Glen Wexler Studio
Risks and challenges
Our only remaining challenge is raising these final funds to go to press. With any printing project there is the potential for unforeseen delays, but overall, there are virtually no risks to our supporters. The special printing techniques and materials have been tested and the results look amazing! We are ready to print as soon as we reach our goal. The printing is being produced regionally and we should be able to ship in about six to eight weeks from funding. Posters are ready to distribute now. The production of the fine art prints will be made to order within a few short weeks. Thanks again for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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