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Classic Photos Come to Life at Springsteen Exhibition in Boston


“Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American Music Icon” is part of the Wang Theater’s Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame.

“Bruce and the Big Man,” by Ron Pownall. American Folk Roots Hall of Fame

Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American music icon», at the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame in Boston, Boch Wang Theater

First, let’s state the obvious: yes, many fans will have already seen most of the photos. But that’s the interesting thing about “Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American Music Icon” at the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame in Boston: It makes you realize that you’re just think Have you seen them.

Somehow, see these classic shots – taken by photographers Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier, Pamela Springsteen, Frank Stefanko and Ron Pownall – in full size, framed and on display in two rooms well decorated backstage at the glorious Wang Theater. , brings them to life like never before.

Add to that video interviews with the photographers at each stop and a classic Springsteen concert playing on a big screen in the background… Well, it’s safe to say it beats scrolling through a Google image search n any day of the week.

There’s a thrill of recognition when you first glimpse some of these well-known images, like Frank Stefanko’s photo of Bruce and his ’60 Corvette that ended up on the cover of Springsteen’s 2016 memoir, or the photo by Eric Meola taken in 1977 of Bruce leaning on one in the desert somewhere between Salt Lake City and Reno. (It’s not exactly the one from 2010’s “The Promise” collection, but it’s close.)

And it’s fitting that Boston-area photographer Barry Schneier’s brooding negatives of Bruce at the piano at the Harvard Square Theater were blown up to take up an entire wall—they were taken the night Springsteen’s future manager Jon Landau , then a writer for the Real Paper in Boston. , famously declared him to be “the future of rock’n’roll.”

But there were also photos I hadn’t seen, and those were also a pleasure: Ron Pownall’s visceral “Bruce & the Big Man,” taken of Springsteen and his longtime saxophonist Clarence Clemons at the Worcester Centrum in 1984 was one of them. ; and a photo of Bruce in 2009 toasting Clarence and his tour mates at the end of the “Working on a Dream” tour is both striking, for the joy on their faces, and moving, knowing now that this would be Clarence’s last before his return. died of a stroke in June 2011.

And maybe it was just me, but there’s a certain intimacy to Pamela Springsteen’s photos – much during Bruce’s cowboy hat and facial hair phase of the 1990s – that I didn’t have. never noticed before studying them in full size here. It is perhaps with his sister, long an admired professional photographer, that Springsteen is most able to truly let down his guard as a subject.

The best part about “Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American Music Icon” is that it’s part of something much bigger: the American Folk Roots Hall of Fame (FARHOF), launched in 2019 at Boston’s Boch Center, home of the Wang and several other venerable theaters.

Curated by Deana McCloud and Bob Santelli of the Museum Collective, its other current exhibitions include “Folk legends, Americana, Roots” “Cultural heroes” “Boston: a musical city” “The Wang Theater: a century of great music,” and the David Bieber Archives. (There is also a hologram of Boch Enterprises CEO Ernie Boch Jr. talking about his famous guitar collection, believe it or not.)

You can see some of the photos I mentioned below, but these snapshots don’t come close to doing them justice — if you’re a Springsteen fan and follower of his career, a trip to the Wang to see for yourself s ‘imposed.

This photo of Frank Stefanko was on the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s 2016 biography. – American Folk Roots Hall of Fame
A photo from 1977 by Eric Meola. – American Folk Roots Hall of Fame
An entire wall of Pamela Springsteen negatives. –Peter Chianca/
Enlargements of Barry Schneier’s negatives adorn a wall at the new Springsteen photo exhibit in Boston. –Peter Chianca/
Photographers (like Danny Clinch, above) recorded video interviews explaining their work. –Peter Chianca/
A photo of Pamela Springsteen hangs next to the introductory plaque to “Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American Music Icon” at the Wang Theater. –Peter Chianca/

Public tours of the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame lasting 80-100 minutes are offered on select days and times. Reservations are required. The price is $25 for adults and $17 for children; private tours are also available. More information at

A version of this article was previously published on Blogness on the Edge of Town.


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