Featured Photographer

Rock and Roll Photography Collection of Will Vogt

I recently made a visit to our local Art Museum of South Texas.  To my delight was the rock and roll photographic collection of Will Vogt.

∫ Will Vogt Exhibit, courtesy Art Museum of South Texas Website.

∫ Will Vogt Exhibit, courtesy Art Museum of South Texas Website.

This exhibit is from the personal collection of local music aficionado Will Vogt. With over 40 photographs by famed Rock and Roll photographers Barry Weitzell, Elliott Landy, Jim Marshall and Astrid Kurshner. It includes images of Bob Dylan, Elton John, Kris Kristofferson, Eric Clapton and the Beatles, among others.

Will Vogt has an interesting statement on how he ventured into photography and how he began collecting.

“Five days after my 16th birthday, I saw The Jimi Hendrix Experience in concert. With two friends, I took the train from Philadelphia suburbs to the Arena Theater, which was located in a very sketchy part of the city. It was my first rock concert.

What I saw that night changed my life. Jimi’s music and stage show was so mind-blowing. I can still remember the night clearly over 46 years later. The loudness and intensity of his music was overwhelming and Jimi’s stage presence was unlike anything ever seen before or after.

Besides an amazing performance from Jimi and his band, I got my first look at the Cultural Revolution that was just beginning: people with long hair, smoke in the air, even a light show from the opening act. I saw many things Mom and Dad hadn’t told me about.

It was a great start for a young music fan and concert goer. Over the net 16 months, I was fortunate to see some of the best acts of that day: Cream, Blind Faith, The Who, The Band and Jimi Hendrix again.

Luckily, I had also taken an interest in photography and was able to photograph some of these legendary shows. Security was light in those days and bringing a camera to a concert and having access was not a problem.

About the same time, I developed a strong interest or perhaps obsession in the music of Bob Dylan, which continues today. I began collecting Dylan records, bootlegs, articles and later photographs. It was the beginning of this collection.

As I keep adding to my photography collection, I always had an eye out for a good rock and roll image that captured the bands and the music that I was lucky to grow up with. These photographs represent that era and I am happy to share them with the Museum and its visitors.”

Question and Answer with Collector, Will Vogt

Tell us about your beginning interest in photography and how this Rock and Roll collection began?

In the early 90’s, I began buying photographs by Robert Frank, Eugene Smith, Bill Brandt and others. My interest in collecting began with my own activity as a long time amateur photographer. Through a dealer in New York, I gained access to some of the better known rock and roll photographers like Jim Marshal, Jerry Schatzberg and Barry Feinstein and started buying their photos.

I originally concentrated on Bob Dylan pictures because he is my first music love, as you can see from the collection. When the prices of Robert Frank and Eugene Smith photos went through the roof after 2003, I stopped buying classic photographers and decided to pursue the music photos with more vigor. That is when the collection really started to grow.

Other than access, what does legendary photographer Jim Marshall bring to his work that makes his photographs so intimate?

Well, certainly Marshall was there at the right time and place. Working originally for Atlantic and Columbia Records gave him the opportunity to capture images that led to 500 album covers. There is much more to his photos than access. He had a real gift for capturing the stars in candid moments. note the photo of Kristofferson in the hotel room. That is candid genius at work.

Tony Frank’s picture of the very young Bob Dylan with the card in his hands that reads “Get Born” from 1965 predates music video, and selfies, but has been so influential.

∫ Tony Frank, (1943-2000)  Get Born, 1965 limited edition of 26 photographs (Photo credit theguardian.com)

∫ Tony Frank, (1943-2000) Get Born, 1965 limited edition of 26 photographs (Photo credit theguardian.com)

First, it is significant because the image comes from the opening of Don’t Look Back, which is the D.A. Pennebaker movie that chronicles Bob’s 1965 English tour and a very important time in Dylan’s career. It is also significant because it was the first music video and also shows the clever side of Bob throwing those flash cards down to Subterranean Homesick Blues, which is the song that started the Folk Rock movement. It is a very important musical moment and is captured in Tony Frank’s photograph.

What is it about these images that resonate with you?

I think the photos are more important today because the access was so limited in those days. There was less of everything: No selfies, no YouTube videos, and fewer records. These photos are a precious record of those important musical times.

* Disclaimer: All photos taken for this feature are reproduced from public websites and represent examples of Will’s collection.  No part of this feature was photographed from the Art Museum collection.

Will Vogt

Will Vogt is from Corpus Christi, Texas and is featuring his photographic works at the Art Museum of South Texas this month.  He will be featuring over 40 photographs and other concert memorabilia, specifically that of Bob Dylan.


Art Museum of South Texas
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