Graham Nash shows a straightforward side in a book of his photographs | A&E

ByDavid M. Conte

Dec 4, 2021

NEW YORK (AP) – He’s a legendary musician and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, but the thing Graham Nash never leaves home without is not his guitar. It’s his camera.

Supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s Nashs started taking photos long before they started making music and laugh at fate every day to show him something interesting to capture.

“This is what I do: I wake up every morning. I continue my day. the world is going to show me something fantastic today. What is that ? Come on, show me, ”he said.

The singer-songwriter is now ready to show us what he’s seen with “A Life in Focus: The Photography of Graham Nash”, a collection from Insight Editions spanning decades that captures many other artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass Elliot, Twiggy and, of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

“I am a man who is curious about the world and I see strange things,” says Nash. “I see differently from most people. I’m not trying to brag about it. I just know I see differently.”

The book mixes intimate portraits and concert photos with surreal images that Nash stumbled upon, ranging from a photo of a sleeping David Crosby to images of Woodstock to the reflection of a mirrored building or the shadow of a bicycle in the street.

“I’ve been doing this for 70 years and you can feel when something’s going to happen. You can put yourself in a place where Elvis comes around the corner on the back of an elephant,” he says. “I’m waiting for the world to show me something fantastic, and I always do.”

The book comes out Tuesday, and Nash plans to talk about it on Dec. 5 in a discussion broadcast live from the 92nd Y in New York City.

Nash says he sent several of his images to the publisher and left the art team to organize the collection without his direction. Whenever he exhibits in a gallery, he also leaves it up to the professionals to understand how the images speak to each other.

“I sent them a bunch of pictures that I thought were worth seeing. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. I’m not going to show you a picture that is no use. I mean , why? Why waste a few minutes of your time? Time is our only currency, really, “he says.

Insight Editions founder and publisher Raoul Goff estimates that he and his team sifted through 700 to 800 images of Nash. He calls the photographs “visual poetry”.

“Some people think that when you look at an artist his music is his music, his photography is his photography, his writing is his handwriting. But I think with Graham he is one of those individuals where everything is interconnected,” says Goff.

“You can make those connections between his lyrics, between his music, between his photography and the genre of what he represents and what he believes and what he observes in the world. Lots of photographs, old and new, are a commentary, a dialogue, on today’s world. “

Goff found ways to connect the disparate images, like when they paired a photo of Shawn Colvin looking over his shoulder from 1990 with a photo of Mitchell in a similar pose in 1971.

“They did wonderful things that I wouldn’t have thought of and I was amazed. I like letting people do their jobs,” Nash says. “My dad taught me that many years ago. My dad said to me, “Never buy a dog and bark at yourself.”

Nash may be a pro at photography, but he’s not very keen on the material. He notes that he was photographed for the cover of his album “Earth & Sky” holding an inexpensive disposable camera. “I don’t care what I use. I don’t care if it’s a Cannon or a Leica. I don’t care,” he said. “Just give me something to shoot with.”

Most of the book’s most striking images are Nash’s self-portraits, he stops time in front of a mirror while holding a camera and taking a moment, something that has been emulated countless times in the Instagram age. .

He remembers that at one of his exhibitions in Berlin, an intense woman approached him and said, “Do you know something? Nash played along and replied, “What?” She replied, “You should have your head examined. These self-portraits are very disturbing. You should speak to a therapist.” Nash laughed at the memory, “What can you do?”

Nash says taking portraits of people is different from photographing an interesting thing he sees on the street. “It’s a give and take situation. I take this picture, but I give them a portrait of themselves that they may not have seen.”

Nash credits his photography-loving father with passing on his passion and writes that one of his first photos was of his contemplative mother in 1953, when he was 11 years old, an image that he says has captured him. made it clear that he could offer something special as a photographer.

“I’m a curious boy,” he says. “I have witnessed this world for almost 80 years and I have no intention of stopping.”

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