Veteran concert photographer shows exhibit at Elgin Artspace Gallery

  • Mark Plotnick and Jim Summaria joined forces to produce the book "Classic Rock," a part of Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's permanent library and archives collection.

    Mark Plotnick and Jim Summaria joined forces to produce the book "Classic Rock," a part of Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's permanent library and archives collection. Courtesy of Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

Submitted by Mark Plotnick and Jim Summaria
Updated 5/30/2019 2:08 PM

Back in 1972, The Who proclaimed "long live rock, be it dead or alive." As far as photographer Jim Summaria and writer Mark Plotnick are concerned, rock is very much alive.

For the past 45 years, Jim Summaria has captured classic-rock-era acts at music venues around Chicago. His images have appeared in many settings nationally and internationally, but never together in a formal exhibition until now.


In conjunction with the release of their new book, "Classic Rock -- Photographs from Yesterday and Today," the respected photographer has placed more than 100 of his framed images on display at the Elgin Artspace Gallery, 51 S. Spring St. in Elgin.

Artspace is a national nonprofit that works with partners in the arts, government, real estate, finance and philanthropy to build better communities and create affordable space for artists and creative enterprises.

The exhibit premiered May 18, but a second show and book signing has been added for Saturday, June 1, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Summaria and Plotnick's book recently became part of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's permanent library and archives collection used by music historians, authors, journalists, researchers and students.

Moody Blues co-founder Mike Pinder remarked, "The photos of Jim Summaria eloquently capture moments when my band reached out to our audience with our message and music. And Mark Plotnick gives old and new fans of our music a history of the songs and the events that encapsulates our musical journey throughout the years."

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Summaria explains the book's evolution: "The yesterday section features artists I shot years ago in their prime. This was the book's original concept. The idea for a today section came later when I thought it would be interesting to contrast some of these acts more recently if still performing.

"Most of my subjects are nice people and their desire for a good show has not waned with age."

Plotnick's fun facts, figures, anecdotes and quotes fill in the gaps as to why some musicians earned their Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame status while those overlooked deserve to be appreciated for their singularity and compelling contributions.

Why this book now? Co-author Plotnick clarifies, "From the time of our youth, music has been the bridge that has connected us with people from every walk of life. This project is the product of our lifelong passion for the music and acts that influenced us and a generation. Our goal is to pass it forward."

Amherst Media Associate Publisher Katie Kiss adds, "The material in 'Classic Rock' appeals not only to those who grew up with these acts, but also to their children who've been exposed to the music through their parents.

"It gives music and photography buffs another reason to appreciate and celebrate the acts and music of the classic rock era."

"Classic Rock -- Photographs from Yesterday and Today" is available on Amazon and at select chain and independent bookstores, as well as other music-associated outlets.


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