This past week, heavy metal band MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e founder, Nikki Sixx, showed a softer side at the Annenberg Space for Photography.
When we first heard about his extreme passion for photography, we could only guess at the imagery.
Recently seeing a repeat version of Behind The Music, the story of the extreme debauchery and years of wretched excess of the band, had to affect a photographers visions.
This rock star, recovering heroin addict, and New Times Times best selling author, shed a light onto his work that had a simple, though perhaps disturbing aura.
Everything and everyone has it’s own beauty.
Not unlike his photographic heroes, Diane Arbus and Joel Peter-Witkin, Sixx almost combines the sensitivities of those 2 masters in his approach.
While touring with the band, he becomes a street photographer finding the lost and forgotten. He discussed his approach and let us know that he engages his subjects in conversation, and always leaves them with some renumeration for the privilege of making a photo of them.
Now to see Nikki Sixx on the street, tatted up, and slightly big hair, you may consider the situation and wonder if it’s his celebrity gaining him access to those on the street.
You work with what you have. Our feeling is that he is a very engaging person one on one, and perhaps, his outsider look is one of the common factors that bonds him with his subjects.
Off the road, he designs portrait sessions with a range of physically challenged talent, set into almost dreamlike settings and wardrobe, giving them their special place in the world. His photographic world.
With an early spark to photography, he has taken his addiction to self destructive things, and turned the energy into creating a continually emerging body of photographic work, with an eye, so far, unsatiable in being relegated to one tool box.
From 8×10, to Holga, his new love a Leica M9, to yes, wet plates, his sense of visual discovery and the resultant images apparently know no bounds.
Why do we mention wet plate photography? because it is one of the most difficult, labor intensive methods ever. And to make sure you realized that this was an artist, who was not taking any easy roads.
One of the triptychs he presented was made with a Brownie camera, tricked out to use current film by him, and the abstract was stunning.
Honestly, after watching the MTV special, we didn’t know what to expect.
What we got was an honest, thoughtful, artist presenting another way to engage his work.
This time it’s photography, instead of music.
His inclusion in the Annenberg lecture series stems from his view on beauty through photography, and the current Beauty CULTure exhibit. Yep, another sweet free lecture.
We encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, and let us know what you think.
In addition, we have a signed copy that we will be giving away in a short while.