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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Moments from Treasure Island Music Festival on Display at Noise Pop Photo Exhibit

Posted By on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 3:00 PM

  • Paige Parsons
  • The Walkmen

As photogenic settings go, you could do a lot worse than the Treasure Island Music Festival on a brisk fall day (or even a cold and rainy one), with the Golden Gate stage right, Berkeley Hills stage left, a cityscape, a bay - and indie music stars prancing and rocking about in a hipster's Disneyland.

Photographers Jeanne Ellenby, Peter Ellenby, Charlie Homo, Paige Parsons, Tom Tonkinson, Josh Sanseri, and Josh Withers are among those who've captured moments of live-music euphoria through their privileged purviews as music photographers during the festival, co-produced by Noise Pop. The work of each photographer caught the eye of Noise Pop curators Rachel Frothingham and Sommer Peterson, who've lined up a collection of their shots on display at Mini Bar on Divisadero. A few of them were on hand earlier this week.

Monotonix drummer Haggai Fershtman - PAIGE PARSONS
  • Paige Parsons
  • Monotonix drummer Haggai Fershtman
Parsons, whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone and Timeout New York, makes compelling use of a fish-eye lens to capture Monotonix drummer Haggai Fershtman, a drummer swallowed whole by the festival crowd around him.
The show must go on. - PAIGE PARSONS
  • Paige Parsons
  • The show must go on.
We're reminded of that age-old, show-must-go-on rock ethos in a close-up of a Morning Benders guitarist whose bloodied strumming finger during the band's set painted his guitar red, like a kinetic Jackson Pollock piece. The frame we saw here was one of 60 Pearson snapped, which strung together could tell a tale of blood, blood, sweat, tears, and more blood.
The work of Josh Sanseri at Mini Bar
  • The work of Josh Sanseri at Mini Bar
Portlander Josh Sanseri specializes in band portaiture, and he wisely used the S.F. cityscape and Bay Bridge to deliver a few larger-than-life rock acts a suitably epic backdrop. Vampire Weekend, The National and The Flaming Lips were among the visually profiled, The National's tame daytime shot serving as a counterpoint to the orange nocturnal skies behind Wayne Coyne and his equally eccentric Flaming Lips bandmates.

Tom Tomkinson's photo of James Murphy, leader of 2010 festival headliner LCD Soundsystem, is a dead ringer for the band's This Is Happening album cover, a black and white close-up of the electro crooner mid-wail. Given the recent news of the imminent LCD extinction, a colorless format seems apropos, as if our photographer knew Murphy's future would include thinking about his band in the past tenes. Tomkinson's sepiatoned photo of a pair of Raconteurs guitarists is an exercise in framing and synchronicity; the musicians' power stances are in structured formation, mid-riff, their axes pointed toward the Treasure Island heavens at the same angle.

Bob Mould's gear trunk - JEANNÉ ELLENBY
  • Jeanné Ellenby
  • Bob Mould's gear trunk
Jeanne Ellenby seems interested in the more tangible, art-from-scrap-minded photography. Amongst her subjects are Rob Buchholz's mirror-dressed flower sculpture and Bob Mould's weathered and battered gear trunk.
  • Jeanné Ellenby
She also shot a close-up of a laminated piece of paper, lettered with the phrase "I like to do ridiculous things." It was part of an Art 4-D project created by hundreds of festivalgoers running colored string between such statements. As strings overlap and zig-zag, the game reminds us of our common humanity, as well as our passion for ridiculous things such as music festivals on islands.

Photographer Charlie Homo is a Bay Are resident via New York, London, Paris, and Madrid, and his worldly sensibility plays into his work. To him, rock 'n' roll is about two things and two things only: sex and religion. Regarding the former, a shot of !!! frontman Nic Offer paints an intimate picture, from crotch to self-cradled head, the singer caught shamelessly in a moment of self-groping, his eyes closed but his passion exposed.

Music, of course, has long been an avenue for finding deeper meaning in life, and it can certainly be a religious experience when shared en masse. Homo's shot of a volunteer pledging allegiance to the stage, his hand draped across his chest and his eyes absorbed in some spatial nirvana, reminds us that it's okay to worship, if you really believe.

"Treasure Island Music Festival Photography 2007-2010" continues through Tuesday at Mini Bar.

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Chris Trenchard


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