“Like all revolutions, they have to be documented to be believed, to show that there is now a new world, a new way for young people, and this what they look like.” – Gail Buckland, Curator of Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present at the Brooklyn Museum
Shot in the decade spanning 1965–75, The Legends by Barrie Wentzell straddles what is arguably one of the most important decades in the history of both popular music and social change. The Legends brings together 100 of Wentzell’s most notable portraits from his oeuvre, documenting a cultural revolution. Rock and roll acted as a catalyst in mitigating racial discrimination and segregation, heralded the second wave of feminism, denounced the Vietnam war, and celebrated peace and love. Wentzell’s work pays homage to the cultural impact of rock and roll and the birth of a progressive society. The paradoxical correlation between visibility and invisibility is a struggle artists face while searching for ways to express the intangible. Photographed with emotion and integrity – a visual reflection of the sound of the movement – Wentzell imbued his work with meaning and messages that go beyond the limits of time and space. Wentzell was instrumental in giving rock and roll its visual identity. The images question the documentary role of photography and present alternative ways of seeing and understanding the events that helped shape the world in which we live.