At least once a year I make time to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I love all things music and I have been a music photographer for almost 15 years. Each time I step in the RockHall I find inspiration and something new to discover.
On a recent trip to Cleveland, I stopped by the museum to see the newest exhibit “Hotter than July” with Bruce W. Talamon R&B photographs. As I made my way to the main hall I saw lots of new areas to explore before the Talamon section of photographs.
The Talamon exhibit of photographs highlights the magic of soul, funk and R&B music with unparalleled access to stars of that time including Diana Ross, Bootsy Collins, Earth Wind & Fire, George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic and even the first years of the Jackson 5.
Live music performances and portrait sessions of the 1970’s artists are displayed in giant frames for the public to view his work in all its glory in a separate room off the main exhibit hall.
As I entered the museum there was a viewing area dedicated to the iconic images of a musical era by Baron Wolman. I sat on a bench in the room surrounded by the images and viewed a short film highlighting his work with Byron narrating and telling stories of magic moments in the 1960’s and 70’s in the rock and folk music scene in America and abroad.
As I look at these images it makes me think about how many magical moments in music history that I have captured. I also think about how lucky I am to be able to be a small part of it all.
A new section had been added to the RockHall since my last visit. A section dedicated to protest music and black artists who have raised a voice for important causes. The exhibit is titled, “It’s Been Said All Along- Voices of Rage, Hope and Empowerment.”
Artists ranging from Nina Simone to Rage Against the Machine were highlighted with the protest music they have used to inspire generations to fight for freedom and equality.
I made my way through the main hall that traces the history of rock and roll throughout glass cases of artist’s wardrobes and artifacts mixed with short films of live music and interviews.
You start the walk with a tribute to the roots of rock and roll with artists like Professor Longhair and Rhythm and Blues. The longstanding Elvis exhibit pays tribute to the King of Rock n Roll.
The museum has sections dedicated to each era of music. Music fans of all ages can see memorabilia from their favorite musicians of every genre including Motown, the days of protest music in Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, the CBGB Punk scene in NYC, Seattle Grunge and Metal music of the 80’s.
Large exhibits are on display for the Beatles and The Rolling Stones as well so whichever side of the British invasion you are on, you will find something interesting to view.
Several new musicians of the 2000-2020 era are also featured like Billie Eilish, Seether, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and The Weeknd also have items from tour featured in the museum.
As I made my way toward the exit, I heard live music coming from the Garage room at the Hall. This is a room setup inside the museum where you can jam with friends to classic rock and roll music. As I walked up to see who was playing some Rolling Stones hits, I was surprised to find your people probably 10-12 years old killing it playing live. They had drawn a big crowd and I couldn’t help but wonder whether I would be shooting a few of them on a big stage in a few years.
If you are in Cleveland, I highly recommend a trip to the museum. General Admission adult tickets are $35 and Youth ages 6-12 are $25. Children 5 and under enter for free.