||For decades, Jørgen Angels old negatives of rock stars have been packed away in the attic. Now his archives have come to life again.
Jørgens art has its strength in the warm relationship he developed with the objects of his photography. His work would take him to obscure striptease shows with Alice Cooper, to the private homes of bands like The Who, Roxy Music, The Pretty Things and Uriah Heep, or out into the countryside with Arthur Brown, to get his much appreciated photographs.
Jørgen reckons to have taken something like 50,000 photographs of rock stars over an eighteen-year span.
When Jørgen started taking photos in the early days of rock the underground aspect of the music and its culture created a real feeling of camaraderie. The musicians - of whom most at least feigned rejection of the star syndrome - were very accessible. In the early days, says Jørgen, I could just walk into the dressing room of Cream and say Hi, can I take a photo? and they would say, sure, and I took a couple of photos with no problems.
Back in the innocent days of 1967, Jørgen recalls his first experience seeing - and photographing - Jimmy Page, at that time leading the lastincarnation of The Yardbirds at a concert in a hall on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Even though I didn't know anybody there on security or anything, I was somehow allowed on the stage to take photographs. I recall that when I was moving in closer to the band to get in that position, the only comment I got was a roadie saying to me, mind the gear because I was just about to step on one of Jimmy Page's guitars which was lying in its case on the floor. That's an illustration of how it was in those days, that you could actually get so close to the bands that you could step on their equipment!. The next time Jørgen Angel met The (New) Yardbirds he was on the stage again, as it shows in some of the photos on his limited edition lithograph THE FIRST PERFORMANCE.
"The situation was that most people respected each other. The stars respected photographers because they knew that they were doing their job and the stars were doing their job, and the stars couldn't survive without the press and the press couldn't survive without the stars. So there was a mutual respect.
The innocence of those early days didn't last and it was the development of rock from an underground subculture into a big-money entertainment business that eventually drove Jørgen away from it. By the early 80s it had become a hassle being a photographer, he says. You had to sign all kinds of contracts more or less saying that you could never publish any photo you took - the managers and to some degree also the bands were hysterical, it was sad to witness.
Jørgen's disillusionment grew to the point where in the early 80s, he abandoned the music business entirely. Now, thanks to the miracle of the world wide web, Jørgen Angels photos from his years in rock n roll are available to view - and buy - on his website. At www.angel.dk you'll find more than one hundred Zeppelin images in addition to a wide range of work including The Yardbirds, T-Rex, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Queen, Hawkwind and many others.
The old rock photographer,
shot by JB Studio, 2001.