Uwe Rau: Jimi Hendrix (Berlin, Sept. 4th 1970)


Uwe Rau (1936)

Jimi Hendrix (Berlin, Sept 4th, 1970)


14” x 11”

Gelatin Silver Print 

Purchased with funding from the State of New York.  Percent of Art Program, 2004

Jimi Hendrix stands with his head jutting forward, mouth pressed against the microphone, not seeming to be close enough to sing. Eyes are closed and his body hunched over, using every muscle he has to use all of his breath and energy to connect with his audience.   The ease and confidence that Jimi Hendrix has while performing on stage is something that cannot be taught and has been celebrated for years since.  There is an effortlessness in what he does, and how he shares his stories with an audience.  The guitar in his hand feels like an extension of his appendages as if he was born holding it. 

When Uwe Rau took this photograph nobody knew that fourteen days later Hendrix would die of a drug overdose. It makes it feel like the photograph is catching a glimpse of Hendrix in his truest form on stage, separate from the things that may be haunting him in the real world.  Uwe Rau has had an unique experience in photographing artists from the United States and the UK, while performing in Berlin.  These performances helped to mold the sounds of a generation and Rau made it his job to capture these moments and freeze them in time, inviting us all to the live show. 

-Amanda McDowall