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NiteTalk: Rock Photog Danny Clinch on Capturing Bruce Springsteen

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    Danny Clinch

    Of all the modern American troubadours, perhaps none is more iconic than Bruce Springsteen. Fellow Jersey boys and photographers Frank Stefanko and Danny Clinch are two big reasons why: They've both been shooting The Boss for years. Their dual show, "From Darkness to a Dream," opens tonight at The Morrison Hotel Gallery. Niteside met with Clinch to look behind the lense.

    Wanna tell us a bit about "From Darkness to a Dream"?
    These are photographs of Springsteen that span over 10 years. I started photographing Bruce in 1999, from when the E Street Band got back together, through The Rising, Magic, Seeger Sessions and Working on a Dream. A few have never been printed or seen before.

    This is a dual show though, isn't it? Yes, Frank Stefanko did a lot of classic early Springsteen, from the Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River eras. It's quite clear that Bruce is comfortable with Frank. The photographs are fantastic. I feel our photographs hang well together; they are a blend of document and portraiture.

    How did you and Springsteen first connect? I was an assistant for Annie Leibovitz and I met him when she did the Tunnel of Love album. Although it was much later when I sent him my book of photographs called Discovery Inn, and that I was then invited to the rehearsals to shoot.

    Your images have been used on album covers for The Rising, The Seeger Sessions and Working on a Dream. Wasn't there some kind of Grammy nomination in there too? Yes, I did a short film -- shot it in 16mm -- that was packaged with the Devils and Dust CD, and it was one of the most enjoyable moments ever for me. That film was nominated for a Grammy. Of course I lost to Dylan and his Scorcese documentary. I wonder if Bob and Marty remember it as vividly as I do?

    Of all the images you've shot of Springsteen, which one stands out the most? You mean which one of my kids do I like most? Well, I love the portrait from the Devils and Dust film that I did -- Bruce, his guitar and harmonica. Simple, honest and direct.

    What's he like to shoot anyway? Bruce is great to photograph. He gives back in his own way. Some people make you do all the work; he participates. We keep it loose, toss around ideas and inspirations beforehand, and I brush up on a few good jokes.

    Any other Danny Clinch news we need to know about? A very cool documentary I'm working on of My Morning Jacket playing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Preservation Hall [in New Orleans]. There's also one on Ryan Adams, and one on Blind Melon. I'll also be having a big show at the South Beach W Hotel during Art Basel. And I recently shot Roger Waters for Rolling Stone and I'll be photographing Phish on Halloween. What costume should I wear?