Darkness Visible: Photographs of Bruce Springsteen, 1975 – 1978

Photographs by Eric Meola from the Born To Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions

Well what a treat and an honour it is to showcase Eric Meola’s rare photographs of Bruce Springsteen. Eric’s seminal work on Born to Run is well known to Springsteen collectors, whereas his photographs of Bruce from 1977-8 for Darkness on the Edge of Town have remained private. Many of these session photographs have never been exhibited, or offered for sale – until now. Ultimately, Bruce chose a photograph by Eric’s good friend Frank Stefanko to use as the cover photograph for “Darkness”, but Eric’s powerful work speaks for itself and when you see these images for the first time, you will be entranced. Eric’s trademark ability to capture rich detail and texture leap out, as does his incredible natural eye for composition.

This remarkable exhibition brings together a number of previously unreleased images that Eric created for Bruce Springsteen’s 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, alongside photographs from Eric’s 1975 Born To Run shoot and other sessions with Bruce Springsteen. If you can’t make it to the show, don’t worry – we have included images on the website, with full details of edition sizes, prices and physical size options. Just click on the link to the right which says “The Collection”. We have also posted an expanded PDF version of the 12 page printed exhibition catalogue, and the PDF version includes a detailed and personal essay from Eric which you won’t find in the printed version, so please do check that out.

Both Eric and I are incredibly excited about this exhibition. On the eve of shipping the exhibition prints to me, he emailed me to say “All in all, I think this is the best set of prints I’ve ever done, and I’ll be very interested in seeing how some of them do. “ Well, he’s right – they are spectacular, and I think you are going to love them as much as we do.

Each image stands alone and tells its own story. There are many highlights – a few of my personal favourites are:

• Two fabulous 1977/1978 studio portraits, “Take ‘Em As They Come” and “Living On The Edge” deliberately blurred by Eric and shot on film with a beautiful visible grain

• “Rattlesnake Speedway”, similar in nature as well as mood to Eric’s long sold out limited edition piece “Darkness”

• “My Father’s House”, showing Bruce outside an ivy clad church ( if I had to pick one, this would be it )

• “Badlands”, a powerful landscape which echoes the lyrics of the song by that name

• The first colour photograph of Bruce Springsteen that Eric has ever offered to collectors, originally used on a very rare poster published in Billboard magazine to celebrate “Darkness” achieving platinum status

Three new triptych pieces based around images from the Born To Run session, including one which is 86 inches wide. These work brilliantly on walls in homes and offices where furniture placement leaves a long horizontal wall space for hanging.

Here’s how Eric recalls that period: “Sometime in the middle of 1977, I became aware that a new album was being recorded, and I heard a few lyrics from it, including a song called ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town.’ When I first heard the words, I knew that ‘Wendy’ was gone. During that summer and into the fall, Bruce was holed up at the Navarro Hotel on Central Park South. I had been lucky with the cover shot for Born to Run. Lucky in terms of being at the right place at the right time. Yes, I had nailed it, but now there was a new album, and the sense that Bruce had to prove it again was palpable.

When we got together to discuss ideas, I brought along three books. One was Robert Frank’s The Americans. Two others were David Plowden’s Commonplace, and also Desert and Plain, the Mountains and the River. Although I knew that Bruce would be drawn to Frank’s book, Plowden’s work is an acquired taste for most people, yet one which resonated with me at the time, and which, in retrospect, is echoed in much of Bruce’s lyrics. The very title Commonplace speaks to ‘My Hometown.’ The photographs of barns, gas stations, fields, doorways, churches and interiors, in places like Red Cloud, Nebraska, are the kinds of places we pass by every day, yet seldom notice. After the grandiose, operatic Born to Run, I sensed it was time for bringing it all back home.”

We hope you have the opportunity to see this unique collection at our central London gallery. We are taking orders now for Eric’s prints, which are offered in very limited editions. If you would like to place an order, or if you have any questions, please get in touch.

Guy White, Director

Copyright 2010 Snap Galleries

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