Henry Diltz, arguably the foremost photographer of the Los Angeles music scene in the late 1960s and early ’70s, will launch a nationwide exhibit of his work this weekend in San Diego.
His work, which includes pictures of the Doors; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Mama Cass; Eric Clapton; and Jimi Hendrix, became stills of an American cultural revolution and resulted in recognized album covers and magazine layouts.
A majority of his work will be displayed in a free exhibit Sept. 21 through 24 at the Del Mar Plaza and Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Debra Owen Gallery in San Diego.
Diltz, 62, bought his first camera while on tour with his folk band Modern Folk Quartet in the 1960s. When the band returned to Los Angeles he converted the images of the trip into a slide show.
From there Diltz began documenting the lives of friends, including Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash. Soon magazines and record companies were buying his work.
“It was kind of a happy accident and a thing in my favor,” he said. “I was really a musician that took photographs so I was accepted back stage and on the road. I wasn’t a pushy photographer that came from a different world and a different lifestyle. I kind of fit right in without being noticed so much. Which is perfect for documenting.
“My style is really to document things as they happen as opposed to setting things up in a studio.”
It resulted in place-in-time images of revolt by a generation of musicians struggling to be heard.
Diltz photographed the album covers for the Doors’ “Morrison Hotel” album and the first release by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
He will launch the exhibit opening with a free slide show Thursday and copies of all exhibited photographs will be available for purchase.
Diltz will autograph 11-by-14-inch reproductions; sign, title, and number all 16-by-20-inch photographs; and do the same for the 20-by-30-inch copies.