On May 2, Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe will open his first photography exhibit, D Randall Blythe: Show Me What You’re Made Of, at Sacred Gallery NYC in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. With dozens of photographs on display, the show features images captured on the road and in Blythe’s hometown of Richmond, Va. It’s just a portion of the massive collection he’s amassed of primarily black-and-white photos of nature, everyday people and rock star friends like Slash, Duff McKagan and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford.
One of Blythe’s original photographs, “The Beauty of My People,” graces the invitation to the opening reception:
Says Blythe of how the photograph came about: “One morning, I woke up on Lamb of God’s tour bus in Dallas. I made some coffee, then as I walked off the bus into the club parking lot, I saw a group of five or six fans waiting behind a chain-link fence in the venue’s parking lot. The fans called out to me, asking if I would sign some autographs. As I made my way over to them, I noticed this man’s face — it was incredible; gorgeously lined and deeply tanned from working in the desert, and I knew I had to photograph him.
“I told the fans to hold on and went back to my bus to get my camera, thinking about how I was going to ask this man if I could take his portrait. I got my Canon, and as I walked back toward the fence the man saw my camera, gave a loud hoot and instantly climbed up onto the top of the fence, yelling, ‘Do you want to take my picture?’ I immediately started shooting from below, and he gave me the most beautiful smile. I am not attracted to conventionally ‘pretty’ people. I am no beauty queen myself, and the lines, scars, and so-called blemishes on people’s faces are not flaws at all to me. They are an integral part of that person’s story. Our cultural is caught up in some horrid obsession with perpetual youth, and I want no part of it. This man clearly did not care to appear as anything other than what he naturally was, and that is beautiful to me. After shooting his photo, I hung out in the parking lot with him and his son and their friends for a half hour or so. They were really cool folks — these are my people, and I am always glad to be among them.”
Another image featured in the show is the one at the top of the page, which was given exclusively to Billboard. It’s title is “Safe Haven.” Blythe notes that the photo connects with his relatively newfound love of surfing. “The ocean is home to me, and has been since I first saw it as a child,” he says. “My mother tells me that the first time I laid eyes on it at age 3 or 4, I ran straight into the waves with no hesitation, still fully clothed. Nothing has changed since then — I love being in the ocean, I grew up near it for most of my youth, and I feel happiest when I am by the sea… and surfing has completely changed my relationship with the ocean.”
Having spent his fair share of time in front of the camera as the subject of 2014 documentary As the Palaces Burn, which chronicled Blythe’s trial for manslaughter stemming from the death of a 19-year-old fan in the Czech Republic (he was acquitted in 2013), being behind the lens offers another creative outlet for the multi-faceted singer.
For a taste of Blythe’s photography, you can also visit his Instagram page.