Santa Barbara Independent

A review of Alan Kozlowski's SOhO Music Club exhibit, from the Santa Barbara Independent.

 

Tributes In Photos and Music

Story by Richie DeMaria, Santa Barbara Independent

  Through his shoots with subjects like friend Ravi Shankar (above), Alan Kozlowski documented both the spirit of musical artists and his own unique take on life.

Through his shoots with subjects like friend Ravi Shankar (above), Alan Kozlowski documented both the spirit of musical artists and his own unique take on life.

Simply put, there would be no music industry without photography. There would be no rock stars. Even the earless can see who’s been who in music history, a journey recently linked inextricably to music visionaries’ visages and pop culture framings — thankfully, musicians tend also to be good-looking. What’s more, though, there are hardly more complementary art entwinements than the seen and the heard, as it would be a dead, dead world without music to underscore the sights we see.

Alan Kozlowski understands this well. An accomplished photographer and documentarian of some of music’s biggest names and a musician himself, the S.B.-area resident will discuss the personal stories behind his work with an artist talk on Friday, July 7, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State Street). Until September, Kozlowski is showcasing 24 large-scale portraits of legends like Ravi Shankar, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, Jeff Bridges, Norah Jones, and many more. The portraits show Kozlowski’s lifelong search for truth and beauty, a search first broadly witnessed in his work as director of photography for 1983’s television biopic For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story, continuing on to journeys worldwide with collaborators and creators.

When asked how he preserves the spirit of the musicians he photographs, Kozlowski, a dear friend to world-renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar, recalls a "very deep experience in the shade in Tibet" with teacher Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. They engaged in a Tibetan practice of "immersion in the moment without trying to alter the moment,” their inner eye focused on “everything that is real without trying to inhibit or change it in any way. It totally changed the way I see.” He remembered working with people like Bridges and Browne, who both "allowed me to come up with something totally unique without trying to alter the experience."