Photography of the Late Roger Kallins
August 23 - October 4, 2019
On view at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural & Educational Center
EXHIBITION OPENING AND JAZZ CONCERT: Friday, August 23 at 6:30 PM
Exhibition opens in conjunction with a performance by Downtime.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
50 years of photography are shown in the images displayed on the walls of the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural & Educational Center in Daytona Beach, from Ray Charles in Miami in 1958 to Sandip Burman at Daytona State College in 2007. The exhibit is called Jazz Passion, Photography of the Late Roger Kallins.
“Musick is the thing of the world that I love most,” wrote Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1666 and Pepys was a man who loved many things. Music in the seventeenth century was far removed from contemporary music, but the quote serves to demonstrate the basic connection between humanity and music.
In writing of great music in 1903, the American scholar and author Paul Elmer More expressed this relationship in a different, deeper way: “He who has been initiated into the truth knows that to every ripple of melody, to every billow of harmony, there answers within him, out of the Sea of Death and Birth, some eddying immeasurable of ancient pleasure and pain.”
Pleasure and pain were in the soil where jazz originated, its roots in the music of ordinary American people. It derives in part from the black songs sung in the fields of slavery, Louisiana Creole dance tunes, spirituals of both black and white folk, minstrel music, and folk blues. This heritage explains why its appeal is so primitive and so immediate, both to the people who make the music and to those who listen to it.
The images in this exhibit show the emotion that jazz musicians bring to their work. They spring from the conjunction of Roger Kallins’ own passions, for jazz and for photography. Kallins’ brilliant use of stage and ambient lighting infuse excitement and drama to his images. The intense expressions on the faces of the musicians force the viewer to take second looks; the hands on the instruments evoke the music itself.
The photographs displayed here were printed by Kallins himself. Most of the work was scanned from old 35-mm black and white negatives. The films were shot with Leica 3f and Praktina cameras and a variety of lenses. The images were printed on Epson Radiant White archival watercolor paper using archival pigment inks.
For the knowledgeable write-ups on the musicians, we are indebted to long-time jazz afficiando Gary Sutton.
For the use of these photographs, we wish to thank Patricia Darlington.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Roger Kallins was an extraordinary man of many talents.
Born in London in 1938, he was considered a child prodigy on the piano; in 1950 he was offered a scholarship to the Royal Schools of Music. In 1951 his family moved to Miami, Florida, where he graduated from Miami High School. While there, he taught himself photography and began accepting assignments as a professional, photographing the Clyde Beatty/Cole Bros. Circus on the road. Word of his talent spread, and he was soon assigned by a national jazz publication (either Downbeat or Metronome magazine) to photograph Ray Charles during a Miami concert. Another assignment soon followed for Ella Fitzgerald’s concert there.
As a U.S. Army photographer in Germany from 1961 to 1963, he photographed John Coltrane’s Classic Jazz Quartet in Frankfurt. After his discharge from the service, he went to Barcelona, Spain, to do a photo essay of the bullfights; he liked the city so much that he stayed for a year, doing street photography as well.
Upon returning to the States, Kallins photographed the Dave Brubeck Quartet in concert in Miami, then moved to NYC for a year, working for Playboy magazine. In the late ‘60s, he moved to the Los Angeles area, where he photographed many of the musicians on display here today.
In the ‘70s he worked for ten years for a firm installing and repairing precision time stamps throughout the U.S. Kallins had a lifelong affinity for motor sports and, like many people in the Los Angeles Valley, he travelled by sportster motorcycle. He took up road racing and learned how to “soup up” his bike from a local expert, C. R. Axtell. In 1986 he opened his own business, XRV Performance Product. Widely known throughout the Valley as a bike-carburetor guru, his clients included Jay Leno, who used to stop by his shop with pizzas and cokes. Hollywood hired him to build special carburetors for the bikes ridden by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Terminator 2.
Even after he changed professions he continued to photograph whenever he could. His parents retired to Ormond Beach and in 2004, after his father died, he moved there to care for his mother. He became a member of the Casements Camera Club, was the “dyno expert” at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson business, and repaired cameras at Clem’s Classic Cameras.
He loved photographing at jazz festivals, the Daytona Beach Speedway, Smokey Yunick’s garage, Bike Week, and area waterways. Roger Kallins was documenting the restoration of Neil Armstrong’s 1967 Corvette Sting Ray by a Merritt Island collector when he died suddenly of cancer in 2013 at age 74, a true Renaissance Man.
Photographs courtesy of Patricia Darlington
Musician biographies by Gary A. Sutton, EdD
Web Design by Juliana Romnes
Poster Design by Pauline Copello
Curated by Anthony Ehrlich
Per Hans Romnes
Tom and Jeannie Silvey
Ans van Beck Torkington