Backbeat: Rock Photographers Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen, More Showcase Tina Turner, Tupac Photos in L.A.
Backbeat: Rock Photographers Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen, More Showcase Tina Turner, Tupac Photos in L.A.

diltz Photographer Henry Diltz stands in front of a banner featuring his photograph of Tina Turner. (Photo: Phil Gallo)

Tina Turner was playing four nights at the Universal Amphitheater and Capitol Records hired Henry Diltz to photograph her October 1985 run for the label's promotional efforts. He handed over all of the pictures except one.

"I kept the one that was too funky, too sweaty, up in her face," recalls Diltz, whose images of Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor and the Doors are among rock's most iconic.

That shot of Turner is the focal point of "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-present" that opens June 23 at the Annenberg Space for Photography in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles. A group show featuring the work of more than 100 photographers, it was originally mounted by the Brooklyn Museum.

ramones The Ramones. (Photo: Courtesy of Ian Dickson/www.late20thcenturyboy.com)

It is the first show dedicated to music photography at the 3-year-old Annenberg space and the first that the museum did not create in-house. The Annenberg team has enhanced the Brooklyn edition of the show with an original documentary on rock 'n' roll photography directed by Steve Kochones and featuring legendary photographers such as Bob Gruen, Diltz, Lynn Goldsmith and Norman Seeff plus their subjects -- Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Noel Gallagher and Debbie Harry. There is also a slide show of 80 images shot by Diltz as well.

Guest curator Gail Buckland said she treated the exhibit like any other as she assembled a collection of 166 images. "I do my research, I meet the photographers, look through their archives and pick pictures that move me the most," she said during a pre-opening presentation. Rather than looking for celebrity or photographs of only well-known subjects, Buckland says she reached for pictures that spoke to "the cultural history of both photography and history."

tupac
Tupac. (Photo: Courtesy of Danny Clinch)

"I hesitated," Diltz says was his initial response when Buckland asked for the Turner shot. "Tina's gonna kill me. Then I thought she's pretty heroic looking. That's what sold me."

Besides Diltz, a who's who of rock photographers was on hand for the unveiling, among them Guy Webster, Gruen, Goldsmith, Seeff, Edward Colver and Jill Furmanovsky. On June 21, Heart will perform at an invitation-only opening party in the courtyard outside the space, which is housed in the building that house CAA and the restaurant Craft.

facade Copies of famous rock photographs line the front of the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. (Photo: Phil Gallo)

The show is organized according to styles and historical importance -- one section is of Elvis Presley at 21 while another is a collection of early shots of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, the Yardbirds, Kiss and Ramones. Portraits include Notorious B.I.G. and Marilyn Manson.

The exhibit runs through Oct. 7 and different photographers will give lectures each Thursday while the show is up.