Bruce Springsteen’s music offers images of working class America, the everyman’s life and its daily struggles. While specific in expression and subject matter, these themes are universally relatable. So it’s fitting then that From Darkness to a Dream, Blender Gallery’s photographic exhibition of The Boss’s career (coinciding with Springsteen’s Australian tour), offers both intimate glimpses and expansive overviews into Springsteen’s time in and out of the spotlight.
Featuring photos by renowned music photographers Frank Stefanko, Danny Clinch and Lynn Goldsmith, the photographs – like Springsteen – are not concerned with the gloss of persona and publicity, but rather the true artefacts of time and place. “Frank always shot your internal life. He let your external imperfections show. His photos had a purity and poetry; there was some humour in their laconicness," said Springsteen of Stefanko’s photography.[fold]
The exhibition traverses Springsteen’s early career on the cusp of success and more recent concert images, serving as a reminder of a musical career spanning decades. Of course, many of these photos are peppered with members of the E Street Band.
It’s perhaps also unsurprising that the photographs feature cars, diners, humble interiors and his native New Jersey heartland, all alluding to the stories and images rooted in Springsteen’s music. It’s a collection that captures singular moments of life – and a life in music. But it is Springsteen’s specific life and musicality that has, in turn, captured an American spirit and sensibility that avoids overt optimism and glamour, yet could never be described as lacklustre or restrained.
Like Springsteen’s music, the photos in From Darkness to a Dream seem to be narrated by voices of assured honesty, grit and an unrelenting sense of urgency.
From Darkness to a Dream will show at Blender Gallery, 16 Elizabeth Street, Paddington, from March 14 until April 20.
Tues to Fri 11am–6pm