Toronto. Long time PHSC member and professional photographer Harold Staats dropped me an email on Monday to say his photographs of well known Rock Stars will be on exhibition at Brigitta’s in Toronto at 1899 Queen St. East, M4L 1H3 (in the Beach) from September 27th through October 30th, 2018
The opening reception will be held Thursday, September 27th from 7 to 10 pm.
For his biography, Harold wrote, “I first got interested in photographing musicians from a Czechoslovakian friend, Henry, that I used to work with, who was a very talented jazz photographer. I helped him out occasionally with setting up his equipment. I went to his home once and he showed me his hallway filled with beautiful black and white photographs that he had taken of famous jazz performers, Louis Armstong and Ella Fitzgerald among others. Although I’ve been interested in photography and taking photographs from a young age his work inspired me. So for more than 40 years I’ve been photographing rock, blues and jazz musicians.
“My first concert photography was in 1976 at the Paul McCartney and Wings concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. I’ve photographed other artists Prince, Springsteen, Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and many more. I’ve also done photographs for three album covers. I’ve been involved with Beach International Jazz Festival Photo Contest for approximately 10 years and won peoples choice 2 years in a row and first place in 2016.
“There’s been some memorable moments at these concerts. Near the end of the Paul McCartney and Wings concert a photographer next to me asked if I could spare a roll of film. Unknowingly I gave him my last roll and was later horrified to see Ringo Starr at the side of the stage peeking through the curtain. I was so worried, what if John Lennon and George Harrison were also backstage? Maybe it was going to be the long awaited Beatles reunion and me with no more film but it didn’t happen.
“Another concert I really remember is Phil Collins. I was right up against the stage and he was doing this song called Mama. I had misplaced one of my lenses and was down on my hands and knees looking for it. There was a barricade not far behind me and suddenly hundreds of people broke through the barricade and were stampeding toward me. I managed to find my lens and stand up in time to avoid being trampled.
“During a Annie Lennox concert, I was again very close to the stage, she looked directly at me and winked. My camera started to shake but I managed to take one of my favourite photos.
‘I have exhibited my work in numerous galleries over the years, not just musicians but other artistic subjects. My work has been published in various publications including 1988 Toronto’s Toronto, (a photographic collection that was selected by the City of Toronto as an official presentation gift to visiting dignitaries). My photos are in the collections of the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Toronto Archives, and the Museum of Rock Art in Los Angeles, California.”