jiniBnner

This is a guest post by Karen Whitehead, a film director.  She’s completed her film on Jini Dellaccio called “Her Aim is True.”

If you were asked to name some of the boldest images of 20th century rock photography, you could be forgiven for not mentioning, Neil Young “flying like a bird” on his Laurel Canyon rooftop, one of the earliest documented performance moments of The Who’s Pete Townsend’s guitar flying through the air, a bunch of punk rockers lounging high in a tree, circa 1964. Remember that date!

HerAim_PhotosOnTable_10504919 copy

When I decided to tell the unknown story of pioneering rock and roll photographer, Jini Dellaccio, I became fascinated by the impact of photography, as an art form. I soon realized that I had stumbled upon something much more than a little known archive of cool band shots taken in the mid 1960s by a middle-aged self-taught photographer.

ETALB_026_Wailers_Tree_01_tv

Whether they were facing the camera through mist and tree branches or striking poses against the foggy banks of Puget Sound, these images are anything but still. In the process of photographing young (soon to be legendary) musicians Jini captured something else – and did so with a sensibility and daring rarely seen in photography before her.

Here’s what rock photographer Alice Wheeler (Nirvana, Neko Case) had to say when we interviewed her for the film:

“You can tell she’s really getting into the heads of the people she’s photographing… “ Climb the tree”, or “Pose this way,” or “Play with your guitars,” or “pose your Beatle boots tall so we can see them”… Women photographers, I think we have a slightly different point of view and we look at things a little bit different and our subjects react to us a little bit different…” 

And Jini’s subjects and compositions are certainly different! (remember we are still in 1964-65!). Jini marched these bands onto university campuses to shoot inside gothic libraries, got them jumping and running across her misty backyard. And this is the 50-year-old woman who confidently persuaded Neil Young in 1967 to find a ladder and climb on his roof.

HerAim_07_01580317 copy

Jini was not merely producing publicity stills for bands that needed album covers. Jini was taking photography in a new direction, with her unique approach there is no doubt she was truly documenting the bands and the music subculture they were creating. You may not know all the bands Jini photographed but how she photographed them has a timeless quality and style rare for that time period. Renowned Grunge-era photographer Charles Peterson really pinpointed this in his interview with me for the film.

“One of my favorite Jini photos is a picture of The Wailers playing during sound check, and it’s in like a high school gym or something like that with some windows behind them and they’re in their cardigans and just their casual clothes, they haven’t changed out to their stage costumes yet. And that could be any slovenly indie rock band today.”

The photo Peterson is referring to was taken in Tacoma, Washington State,1964.

HerAim_AlbumCover1_10251817 copy

Lance Mercer, another well-known rock photographer, (Pearl Jam) recalls discovering the album covers by Jini Dellaccio in his Dad’s record collection that influenced him. The photos were all taken in 1964-65.

“For me listening to that Sonics Boom album, looking at that photo, it was on the same lines as the Clash or Sex Pistols, the photo definitely fits with the music.”

HerAim_JiniHoldingHaselblad_10304821 copy

Jini was clearly unhampered by the usual school of photography conventions, (boring studio-based band line-ups) that were commonplace. She was creative and playful with the camera and her youthful subjects. In fact, Jini was as revolutionary in her approach as the bands she photographed.

And as so many of the film’s interviewees remarked, Jini’s photography makes you feel something. Delving into Dellaccio’s archive you get an incredible sense of Jin’s empathy. The bonds with those early rock and rollers, – are all in that click of her Hasselblad: she painted the musicians’ true pictures.

Her Aim Is True, is a film festival award winning documentary currently raising music licensing costs for release. You can see clips from the film and more info here


This Post Sponsored by:

LensRentals.com Be a kid in a camera store. Rent lenses, cameras, lighting and more from the original and best online photographic and video equipment rental company.  Use PHOTOFOCUS15 in the checkout special instructions to receive 15% off any May rental.

Mosaic A complete solution for photographers using Lightroom who want to manage and share their photos. You can easily view images with their iOS app or web service. Plus your photos are backed up to the cloud with several plans to match your needs. Be sure to also check out the Lightroom Learning Center to learn new ways to work in Lightroom.

ViewBug  Stick With ViewBug & Photofocus throughout 2014 – because we’re announcing the biggest contest in Photofocus history — coming soon!

The HDR Learning Center Check out new ways to use High Dynamic Range photography to make compelling images. Free tutorials and posts to get results. Produced in partnership with HDRsoft.

lynda.com Learn photography anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace—from bite-sized tutorials to comprehensive courses. Try lynda.com free for 10 days by visiting lynda.com/ Photofocus.

The Topaz Labs Image Enhancement bundle. Open up a world of creative possibilities with a seamless, integrated workflow. You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard to look like one. Click here and use the code photofocus to get a 15% discount.

 

 

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. I love that she “still” shoots with the timeless Hasselblad. It’s not all about the gear.

    Reply
  2. […] Finding the First Woman Photographer of Cool: Jini Dellaccio […]

    Reply

Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

Category

Inspiration, News, Portrait

Tags