‘Wall of Blues’ retrospective pays homage to Paul Natkin Music Photography – NBC Chicago

Chicagoan Paul Natkin has photographed many big music stars over the past 45 years, including the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and Tina Turner.

“I was going to concerts, without exaggeration, five nights a week for 52 weeks a year,” Natkin explained.

Natkin has photographed musicians of virtually every musical genre, but he has a special place in his heart for the blues.

“I love music,” he said. “It’s a truly American art form.”

A retrospective of some of his blues photographs can be seen at Café Logan, inside the Logan Center for the Arts on the University of Chicago campus. The exhibit includes photos of John Lee Hooker, Albert King, and Honeyboy Edwards, among others.

Early in his career, Natkin met the manager of Muddy Water, “and he started inviting me to concerts. Every time Muddy played in town, it’s like, ‘Hey, why don’t you come? go out and take pictures. ‘ It’s like asking them to date the Rolling Stones. “

One of Natkin’s favorites is Buddy Guy, whom he has been photographing for about 40 years. But they never talk about it.

“I shot like four album covers for him, and he obviously sees them. I shot the cover of his book, he obviously sees this, and he keeps asking me to make more so he has to. to like.”

Natkin is grateful for all the wonderful friendships he has developed with countless musicians over the years.

He’s also passionate about keeping the blues alive, saying, “The blues world has gotten older and older. They’re now talking about 50-year-old guys as being young guys, and I don’t want that. it goes away. I want to see 20 and 30 year olds playing music. “

Natkin’s photography exhibit is part of Logan Center Bluesfest, which runs October 15-17. In-person concerts cost $ 10, while all other in-person programming and live streaming of the festival are free.

Leigh Fagin, senior director of programming and engagement at the Logan Center for the Arts, says, “We just hope that [Natkin] can help increase the visibility of some of the artists that we may have lost and some of the artists that people should look to in the future because he has an eye on it all. “

A special auction of some of Natkin’s photographs will benefit Guitars Over Guns, a non-profit organization that provides music education and mentorship.

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