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Stones and more focus of rock and roll photo exhibit

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(Paul Natkin)

This summer, rare and previously unseen photos of the Rolling Stones go on exhibit in London, and last weekend a Stones retrospective opened at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland.

But don't rack up so many highway or air miles: Chicago photographer Paul Natkin is showing off his photos of the Stones and more in a career retrospective in the suburbs.

PX00072_9.JPG"Shutter to Think: The Rock and Roll Lens of Paul Natkin" -- opening Friday at the Elmhurst Historical Museum -- showcases images from Natkin's four-decade career as a pop music photographer.

"The music thing really started in 1984 when I was invited to shoot Prince's birthday party," Natkin recalls. "It was right when 'Purple Rain' came out, and I expected to be one of 200 photographers at the show. I don't know why, but I was the only photographer allowed in the building. He came out and played for about an hour -- then he went into seclusion for six months, so I was the only photographer in the world with pictures of that. I earned enough money in that hour to make a down payment on a house."

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(Paul Natkin)

Since then, Natkin's photos of major music celebrities have appeared from Creem to Rolling Stone, and hundreds have graced the pages of the Sun-Times. (The text for the photo exhibit is written by Sun-Times columnist Dave Hoekstra.)

Natkin has a lengthy relationship with the Rolling Stones, as well. In 1988, Natkin was hired as the official photographer for guitarist Keith Richards' solo tour, which led to months on the road with the Stones' "Steel Wheels" tour the following year. He's toured with Richards and the Stones three other times.

"People always think there's major debauchery, but nothing really happens behind the scenes on those tours," Natkin says. "It's a traveling business. If something goes wrong, it costs them a million dollars a night. They party like anybody else, sure, but nothing really wild. ... The crazy thing is who just shows up backstage. I walked in one night and JFK Jr. was sitting there. One night in L.A., Jack Nicholson put his arm around me and said, 'You're the guy with the camera. I'm gonna follow you around all night.' I played pool once: me and Keith against Eric Clapton and Bowie."

The Stones begin a three-night engagement in Chicago tonight at the United Center.

"Shutter to Think" runs through Aug. 25 at the museum, 120 E. Park Ave. in Elmhurst. Admission is free. For information, call (630) 833-1457 or visit the museum site.

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on May 28, 2013 11:19 AM.

Review: John Fogerty, 'Wrote a Song for Everyone' was the previous entry in this blog.

Rolling Stones make a convincing case against retirement is the next entry in this blog.

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