BB Video: Photographer Glen E. Friedman in Conversation (and Collaboration) with Shepard Fairey

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Earlier this week, we aired a Boing Boing video episode in which we visited Shepard Fairey's gallery in LA, and spoke with him about the most well-known of his works, the Obama poster. That episode was shot as another artist's work was being hung on the walls: legendary punk / hiphop / skate culture photographer Glen E. Friedman. Together, Shepard and Glen were also working on a collaboration together that brings Shep's visual style together with some of Glen's most iconic images.

Today, we present the second episode from that evening of conversations. This one's all about Shepard and Glen's new collaborations together.

One of those creative collaborations involves the great DC hardcore band Bad Brains. The image below, of lead singer H.R. mid-scream at The Whisky in LA in March 1982, was shot by Glen (and appears in this book). The first punk show I ever saw was the Bad Brains live (as I mentioned in yesterday's guest DJ spot on KCRW!), and this image captures exactly what those moments of stillness in the midst of phenomenal speed and force felt like, up close. Watching H.R. perform in those early days was like watching a plane take off -- headed right towards you.

Glen's books are available here, and they're amazing.  Below, here is a short film based on his book "Recognize." The video includes every image in the book, which is available in limited edition through his website.

Special thanks to Boing Boing pal Sean Bonner, who pulled this awesome series of conversations together. I really enjoyed hearing two of our creative heroes talk about their work, and I hope you dig the video as much as we did the experience. Also, special thanks to Glen, who put up with a lot on our behalf: he'd just got off a long plane flight from NY to LA, and survived hellish Friday LA rush hour traffic, to get to the taping.

And a very special thanks to Ian MacKaye, Fugazi, and the Dischord records family for generously allowing us to use a couple of Fugazi clips (from the album Instrument) to accompany Glen's work in this piece. You guys f'n rule. Boing Boing is grateful!

Previously on Boing Boing:
* Glen E. Friedman's photo show at Shepard Fairey's gallery
* BB Video: Shepard Fairey and the Obama Poster, on Inauguration Day


  1. As a graphic artist who grew up in Dogtown, I’m so damn jealous of these two artist!

    Thankfully, I’ve gotten to play music with HR (of Bad Brains).

  2. I actually was at the show in Lawrence, KS where HR bashed the kid in the head, who was someone I knew and happened to be standing a few feet from me. The place emptied quickly and in the alley behind the bar the guitarist told a few of us that we had seen the last Brains show. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I was torn between being sad that may have been the last show and concern over the guy I knew that got hit. HR brought the base of the mikestand down on the kid’s head like a battleaxe. (Sidenote: His name was Mike and we harrassed him with the nickname ‘I against Mike’ for quite some time after that, he was ok but had a hell of a scar and a story.)

  3. @#3 kaosdevice, omg i can’t believe you were there — what an amazing story. I’m so glad the guy ended up okay. How frightening!

    I witnessed lot of close calls like that myself over the years, and sustained scars at shows personally. Nothing as bad as that, though. That poor guy!

    The one I remember the most involved skating through a bed of broken beer bottles right in front of a stage — on my hands. I can’t believe I still have ’em working well enough to type this, after that, ridiculous. could have been a lot worse.

    I think I was wrapped in an invisible force field of protection during those years. I don’t want to find out if it still works.

    And yeah, I think the Brains, particularly in those early days, are one of the best live bands ever.

  4. It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.
    –Jean-luc Godard

  5. New respect for Xeni for knowing about the ROIR cassette only classic. Was present for their riot in Hollywood (mid ’82, I believe) and saw them in DC at the Roxy (a reggae/go go club that had a few punk gigs). Missed Dr. Know when Mos Def decided at the last minute not to bring the actual Black Jack Johnson Project to San Diego (pisses me off almost as much as the crappy poetry he presented on HBO). Definitely the most powerful band in the history of the world.

  6. @ Zeni #2: Yes it’s true. I actually thought I was going on tour with HR about 7 years ago (my friends were his backing band for his previous tour), but things changed, and Bad Brains ended up going back on tour instead. HR came over to the house for a few jams a couple of years ago:
    (not a good pic of us, but it’s evidence I highly value).
    BTW, I’m pretty damn happy to get a “GTFO” from you!

  7. “Th frst pnk shw vr sw ws th Bd Brns lv (s mntnd n ystrdy’s gst DJ spt n KCRW!)”

    s thr vr Xn pst whr sh dsn’t brng hrslf nt t smhw? Xn, t’s nt bt y!!!

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