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updated: 6/10/2013 9:43 AM

Photo exhibit captures moments in rock 'n' roll history

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  • Paul Natkin's photos of rock musicians have been featured on many magazine covers, including this one of Bruce Springsteen on Newsweek.

      Paul Natkin's photos of rock musicians have been featured on many magazine covers, including this one of Bruce Springsteen on Newsweek.
    Photo used by permission, copyright Paul Natkin

  • For Paul Natkin, a freelance assignment to photograph Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones led to a three-month gig as the group's tour photographer.

      For Paul Natkin, a freelance assignment to photograph Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones led to a three-month gig as the group's tour photographer.
    Photo used by permission, copyright Paul Natkin

  • Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards perform together onstage in this photo shot by Chicago photographer Paul Natkin.

      Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards perform together onstage in this photo shot by Chicago photographer Paul Natkin.
    Photo used by permission, copyright Paul Natkin

 
By Patrice Roche
Elmhurst Historical Museum

For music photographer Paul Natkin, one of the most memorable moments of his career arrived out of the blue in 1989 when he was tapped to be the tour photographer for the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels tour. What started with a 1988 freelance assignment photographing Keith Richards turned into more than three months on the road shooting the world's most famous band from a front-row seat and witnessing rock 'n' roll in the fast lane.

Not a bad gig for a Chicago kid who learned to take pictures at his father's side while his dad chronicled the Chicago Bulls in the 1970s as team photographer. Natkin applied the skills he learned shooting athletes to his passion for music, and the result is a more than 35-year career doing one of the best jobs in America.

It seems fitting as the Stones roll into town on their historic 50th anniversary tour that Paul Natkin's photographs are the focal point of a new exhibit, "Shutter to Think: The Rock & Roll Lens of Paul Natkin," now open at the Elmhurst Historical Museum. The exhibit shares the stories behind Natkin's iconic photos of musicians and concerts starting in the mid-1970s as he traveled the world capturing signature moments of drama, excitement and excess that propelled rock's tumultuous history.

Natkin has developed a reputation for an astute eye and a knack for capturing "the decisive moment," skills that earned him acclaim and resulted in numerous album and magazine covers, including Newsweek, Spin and Creem. The exhibit features a "who's who" of legendary musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Pearl Jam, The Who and Muddy Waters. The narrative is written by Chicago Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra, and interpretive video elements throughout the exhibit were produced by Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in Chicago.

The "Shutter to Think" exhibit also includes interactive elements such as a mini-stage for impromptu performances and a Rolling Stone magazine photo op, where visitors can pose with a Keith Richards cutout. Students from School of Rock/Elmhurst's house band and summer camps will make appearances in the museum's gallery throughout the summer to showcase their music talents. Follow the museum's Facebook page and website, at elmhursthistory.org, for the latest details.

The exhibit is open through Aug. 25. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. For information, call (630) 833-1457.

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