Photographer legend Danny Clinch has snapped everyone from Springsteen to 2Pac. His work is being featured in a mini-photo exhibition based on some of your favorite album covers.
Tucked conveniently in the heart of SoHo is a mini-exhibition experience that is bridging the worlds of hi-def sound and high quality photography. On Saturday, I was able to not only experience this with my eyes, but also with my ears as I sat in conversation with the star of the show, Danny Clinch.
Clinch began his career as an intern for Annie Leibovitz, and from there worked to become one of the most recognizable names in the world of entertainment photography. Clinch tells me that when he first entered the game, people considered his work “a fad.” Stuck in the mud as a young photographer, he was forced to be scrappy and aggressive about finding his lane. During our chat, I learned that some of his biggest breaks were the result of the diversity of his portfolio. In 1992, Danny began shooting the legendary 3rd Base for SPIN magazine. He was able to shop his portfolio around and eventually it met the eyes of Steve Carr at Def Jam.
This turn of events opened the door to many opportunities for Clinch, adding hip-hop legends like Heavy D, LL Cool J and Pete Rock to his client list. To this day, Clinch credits much of his success as a mainstream photographer to the early access that he had to hip-hop. Many of the Alternative Rock bands of the time were openly (and discreetly) into the rap scene, and that was what appealed to them about Clinch’s work. Clinch would soon add names like Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers to his roster.
Since his humble beginning, Clinch has shot more live shows, magazine spreads, and album covers than he can remember. So what do you do when you’re a world renowned photographer with too many photos to count and a bunch of crates laying around? The answer: create a really unique opportunity for music fans at the Sonos Store in SoHo. Of the thousands of outtakes that comprise the Clinch collection, he was tasked with selecting 9 sets of photos that live on the main wall of the store, a tasks he says, was not an easy one. The thing that Clinch has always considered paramount to his career came back to mind when curating the wall in SoHo. “I always want to be representative across gender and genre,” he tells me.
Aside from the wall, a massive selection of Danny Clinch’s finest music photography is randomly sorted and neatly tucked away in boxes, creating a new definition for the term “crate digging.” On opening day, music fans across the spectrum were lined up out front. At 10:00 a.m. the doors were opened, releasing a tidal wave of dedicated and focused fans into the store, all with one goal in mind: finding that photo.
That photo looked like something different for everyone in attendance. One attendee, a lifelong Phish fan, mentioned that she still follows the band very closely on Facebook. She decided to come because of the possibility of discovering never before seen images of her favorite group. Other guests of the space—Willie Nelson fans, the Beastie Boys obsessed, a Nas fanatic and a lone Kanye West devotee, looking for College Dropout throwaways.
What’s happening at the Sonos Store is the perfect illustration of the transcendent nature of music. The artfully curated wall of album covers is a testament to one man’s creative career, which has served as just a cog in the wheel of a sort of national cultural sharing. A tradition of transfer and sharing older than the storefront and older than the Sonos brand itself. What’s bringing people to the Sonos Store through the month of August is the pursuit of nostalgia, memories than can be re-lived both through the visual and the auditory. Directly at the intersection of music and photography, culture lovers have found Clinch Crates Vol. 2, and maybe you should too.
You can still check out Danny Clinch’s work as the exhibit will be at Sonos SoHo store until Sept. 11, 2017.
Wallace Mack is a writer who is interested in exploring culture and the ways in which black millennials create, and choose to engage with it. Follow him on Twitter (@themackint0sh) and his published work is available at playinitcool.com.