The historic venue of Proud Camden – the Grade II listed building once a horse hospital in Camden’s Stables Market – is playing host to a photographic portrait exhibition of The Doors to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death on July 3.
The cool, open space with its white-washed walls is a perfect and uncluttered backdrop for the exhibition, which features photos by Bobby Klein, Guy Webster and Frank Lisciandro and charts the all-too-short but stellar career of the band and their charismatic front man.
From early publicity photos (who would forget the giant billboard to publicise the first album) to album sleeves and photos of The Doors in rehearsal, there’s also previously unseen material of the band offstage and of Jim relaxing with friends.
Photos of the band in concert capture the magnetism of Jim’s stage persona and with the photos arranged chronologically it’s interesting to note the gradual relaxation of his apparent preoccupation with the camera while he wove his magic onstage.
The photographic chronicle underlines the metamorphosis in
Jim’s appearance during those four short years from handsome but chubby-cheeked young man to chisel-jawed heart throb, through to the heavily bearded images that we now know presaged the end of his life.
Frank Lisciandro captures the Jim that he knew as a personal
friend. The charismatic performer on-stage and the quiet likeable person away
from it, who was, says Lisciandro ‘more Rimbaud than Mick Jagger’.
Bobby Klein was the band’s first official photographer,
following them throughout their career and creating those first all-important publicity shots, including that billboard in Sunset Strip, Los Angeles.
Guy Webster’s photos of the band are more ethereal and
include the album sleeve for their first album ‘The Doors’. The differing styles of all three photographers creates a coherent chronicle of the band and captures the exhiliaration of that era.
From 1967 to 1971 the Doors were at the forefront of the counterculture, their flame burning bright and intense – and which with Jim’s death was extinguished all too soon.
This exhibition recalls the band who are still selling a million albums a
year and who despite their all-too-brief career earned a place in the canon of rock history.
The Doors of Perception exhibition is free to enter at Proud Galleries in The Horse Hospital, Stables Market, Chalk Farm
Road, London NW1, from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, August 14.