Along with many from his generation, Raj Prem considers the 1960s and 1970s as the most revolutionary and artistically rich periods when it comes to Rock ‘n’ Roll music. With legendary groups such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles turning the music world on its head, it was a time in history that changed the landscape for the future. The increased availability of portable photography meant that the combination of artistic passion with the mirroring of the music resulted in new pictures being taken of these musicians. Today, these remain some of the most iconic photographs ever taken. It is due to passionate individuals like internationally renowned collector, curator, and manager Raj Prem that many of these behind-the-scenes photographs can be viewed by the public. Now, Prem is preparing to publish a book about his documented career in music photography.
After starting in a career of music journalism, it quickly became clear that Raj Prem was more interested in the images of his favorite musicians rather than the stories on which he would report. His insider’s view combined with tireless research revealed that top photographers had a myriad of work as stunning, if not more so, than their most famous pictures. He also realized that non-professionals who frequented the musicians’ inner circles would often have memorable images of equal value. It was in this way that he became one of the pioneers of displaying music photography as fine art.
When asked why he decided to write a book about his career, he explained: “Because so many people have asked me to do it!” With nearly 20 years’ experience working alongside the most valued music photographers in the world, it is certain that there will be a host of incredible stories to be told. The book will be available both online and in stores, and will feature interviews with top artists along with other industry leaders like Philip Townsend and Bruce Fleming. It is the autobiographical material, however, that many will be most interested in: reading the first-person account of what it entails to be the main organizer of historical exhibitions, such as one of the greatest Beatles displays of all time and the definitive Rolling Stones retrospective “The Decca Years.” Prem is in discussions with two publishing houses who wish to distribute the yet untitled book.
Prem first became enthralled with Rock ‘n’ Roll after witnessing one The Who’s incendiary performances in the late 60’s, which he claims changed his life – his ‘ Damascene conversion’ as he describes it. The Who were for a brief period his favorite band, and he was an ‘extra’ in the 1974 film adaptation of The Who’s ‘ Tommy’, directed by Ken Russell. Prem describes Pete Townsend of The Who as,
“the most impressive musician I ever met. The Who were iconoclasts, rock’s greatest terrorists, unlike The Stones who were cultural icons but never truly revolutionary. The Who changed my life with their transcendent performances, though I had difficulty reconciling Townsend’s capacity for shocking violence with his often articulate thoughtful pronouncements, indicative of a questing intellect.”
Raj Prem is one of the world’s most highly-respected curators and collectors of rock music photography. To date, his Raj Prem Fine Art Photography has worked with some of the leading photographers from the 60s and early 70s, including Robert Freeman, Michael Joseph, Iain Macmillan, Michael Cooper, Peter Webb, Jerry Schatzberg, Dominique Tarlê, Terry O’Neill, and Pattie Boyd. He has also curated exhibitions or facilitated the use of photographs featuring rock royalty such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and others either through his relationships with the photographers or with his own world-famous Raj Prem Collection. His exhibitions and private collections feature some of the most iconic images from the 1960s and 70s. He has staged almost 100 exhibitions in just under two decades in countries including the USA, UK, Dubai, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Netherlands. He often collaborates with the Atlas Gallery, Snap Gallery, and Proud Galleries in London and San Francisco’s SFAE Gallery.
Raj Prem Announces Upcoming Show at Proud Galleries in London: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/30/idUKnMKWLGNBLa+1fe+MKW20150430
The Rolling Stones in Pictures: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/2b312c24-6570-11e0-b150-00144feab49a.html