By Laura Hunt Little/Photographer

The elements that make rock legends even larger-than-life were running full tilt at Desert Trip. A massive stage with state-of-the-art PA, a 400-foot wide main screen, perfectly programmed lighting, giant tee-pees, smokestacks, lasers with appropriate fog, choreographed pyrotechnics and fireworks were all turned up to 11.

But just a few hundred yards from the grandstands was a quiet serenade in picture frames. The Desert Trip Photography Experience invited viewers to engage with celebrated music legends on a personal level….to journey back in time to an era of uncharted territory in music and in pop culture. The works of about a dozen and a half photographers told intimate stories of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who and Neil Young. The nearly 250 photographs depicted scenes ranging from family portraits with the dog and a chicken; to birthday celebration jam bands; to album cover outtakes; to performance photos; to backstage antics and booze; to posed portraits that were anything but static.

Arguably, each photographer was in the right place at the right time, very much like the artists themselves. The organic nature of the relationships between photographers and subjects underlined the authenticity of the images. Many of the photos had the intimate quality of a snapshot taken by a friend because many of the photographers were just that. The exhibit felt more like skimming through an album of photos than viewing high art.


The Desert Trip Photography Experience took our larger-than-life musical heroes and reminded us that we are all on the same plane of existence. These legends aren’t so different from the rest of us. Through the lens of the photographers we are given permission to see them as funny, loving, talented, hard-working, complicated, determined, flawed and human.

  • Photo By Greg Little

  • Photo by Robert Chance