“1,001 Images”: Yeah Yeah Yeahs Guitarist Nick Zinner Gives a Glimpse of Life on the Road
The 19th annual Noise Pop Festival held in San Francisco and held a very special exhibit of photos from Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, entitled “1,001 Images”. The exhibit was presented on the final Friday of Noise Pop, February 25th through Sunday March 6th at Public Works SF. Zinner’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. He touched down in the Bay Area from his home in New York City for the free exhibit, as well as for a “Culture Club” reading with poet Zachary Lipez from their newest photography book.
This exhibit is the culmination of a decade of photography and four books, whose subjects range from documenting touring life to the beds in which the band slept. Zinner collaborated with writer/musician Lipez and designer Stacey Wakefield on their four books: No Seats on the Party Car, I Hope You Are All Happy Now, Slept in Beds, and their latest, Please Take Me off the Guest List. The exhibit fit neatly in Public Works SF, with many photos simply nailed to the walls. The style of the exhibit felt as if your greatest dream of getting a peak at the photos and personal mementos on the bedroom walls of your favorite rock star had finally come true. The photos of each unmade bed in which the band slept on one tour were packed frame to frame covering one wall from floor to ceiling, giving a strong overall impression and stirring many thoughts on a closer survey of each personal and simple snapshot. The rest of the exhibit displayed the chaos one might expect from the photographic diary of one of the most acclaimed rock bands today. There are certainly glimpses of peace on the road as well, but since there were no captions with any photos (as there are in the books); one got the feeling when taking in the overall exhibit of gaining a valuable window into many complex worlds.
Zinner studied photography at Bard College, and has a keen eye with the perfect balance of objectivity and direction. The exhibit created many “Oh my gosh it’s-!” moments of excitement, when spotting photos of musician and artist friends of Zinner, such as Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, and film director Spike Jonze. It was the kind of exhibit that is hard to describe after viewing, as Zinner has focused his lens on so many locations, people and objects in his whirlwind lifestyle. Known for his slight body, signature all black-outfits and messy black hair, Zinner can be very soft spoken in public—but his photos speak volumes to fans dying for a backstage pass to life on the road.
For those who missed the exhibit, or wished they could read the accompanying caption for each photo, all four of Zinner’s photography books are available through Evil Twin Publications. Three of his books are accompanied by poems/essays by Lipez. Only 1,000 copies of Slept in Beds are in print, each with a different square of bedding sewn into the binding as the final page of the book. I Hope You Are All Happy Now includes a crowd photo of each show on the band’s world tour, with the intention of including all of the band’s eager fans. No Seats on the Party Car sets the focus on Lipez’s poems, and the accompanying photos illustrate Zinner’s talent for a unique perspective on more day-to-day subject matter.
Lastly, Please Take Me Off the Guest List includes new tour photos by Zinner and essays by Lipez which “recount his adventures as a bartender, drug abuser, bookstore clerk, metal fan, miserable adolescent and relentless skirt chaser. His inimitable voice walks the line between self-loathing and hedonistic delight and is biting, moving, and extremely funny” [Evil Twins Publications].