The Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo (116 Prince Street, 2nd Floor) is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s milestone album “The River” with a show featuring the work of seven renowned photographers. The 53 images in the exhibition are among those in a 148-page coffee table book that is included in a recently released box set, “The Ties That Bind: The River Collection,” that is comprised of a remastered version of the iconic album, along with many unreleased tracks and a documentary film on DVD.
Jim Marchese, whose work also appears on the Springsteen album “Live/1975-85,” first met the singer in 1981. He received a late night phone call from Springsteen’s tour manager, asking if he could be in Germany the next day — and joined the tour for the next five weeks, where he snapped the famous photos that are part of the exhibit. When he arrived in Europe, the singer realized that Marchese was suffering from jet lag and told him to just watch the concert that night and not shoot it. Their friendship developed over the next few weeks, as one of the photographer’s favorites in the collection is of Springsteen buying him a cheeseburger in a fast food restaurant in Denmark.
Another fond memory is from April 1981, when the band was at the Zurich airport and Marchese had an idea for a fun shot with the singer, band manager Jon Landau, and saxophonist Clarence Clemons. “Before we went through security, I said ‘How about we switch passports, just for fun?’ They looked at me, but then they did it. Well, Clarence and Bruce did it,” he recalled.
Patrick Harbron started his career in rock and roll by shooting Springsteen, as well as Blondie and Eric Clapton. He also does still photography for a number of TV shows, including “House of Cards,” “Vinyl,” and “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.”
Among his favorites in the show are the six photos (four are currently on display in the gallery) that are in the box set titled “One Night in 1978.” (Images are here, here, here, here, here, and here.) They were shot during a concert on November 16, 1978 in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. “Until I went through my archive recently, I didn’t know I had some of these,” Harbron said. “But they just go together as a chronology of one night. This really capsulizes his whole act.” The box set is offered in a limited edition of 50, each comprised of the six 9×12” images in a clamshell box and priced at $1,500.
In 1978, Frank Stefkano photographed the cover of Springsteen’s album “The River,” as well as that of “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Joel Bernstein’s contributions to the collection are mostly of the singer and his E Street Band in New York City and New Jersey during 1979-1980, such as this one.
Lynn Goldsmith’s cover photo on the book “Springsteen: Access All Areas” is among her works featured in the exhibition, as well as her mosaic image of the singer playing the guitar onstage. From a distance, the mosaic appears to be a standard concert shot — but when seen close up, it’s made of small images scanned from contact sheets that are converted to grayscale and arranged into the larger image. It is available for $6,800 in one size: 30×40”.
The work of legendary lensmen Neal Preston and the late David Gahr are also part of the exhibit.
“Bruce Springsteen: The River Collection” opened today, after a private reception last night that was sponsored by Macari Vineyards, a family-owned and operated winery on the North Fork of Long Island. The photos are available for sale at the gallery through February 9, with most available in sizes 11×14”, 16×20”, 20×24”, and 30×40”, with prices ranging from $950 to $6,800.