Groupies and Other Electric Ladies… Baron Wolman

by Chris Murray on March 4, 2016

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When Baron Wolman’s book Groupies was published this winter The New York Times published a front-page feature story, “Dressing Their Way Backstage” about Baron’s book and the groupie phenomenon that emerged in 1969 and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in the February 15th issue that year.

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Baron was the first chief photographer for Rolling Stone and his photos of Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Frank Zappa, George Harrison, Steve Miller, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Beck, Janis Joplin, and many more are known throughout the world. His photos of groupies however were not as well known. As Jim Farber in the New York Times story wrote of the groupies, “They had an influence on fashion. Their on-the-fly street style–stitched together from 1920s bohemia, bordello chic, Victorian lace and mod leftovers–created the vintage rock look.”

Baron describes that he made the decision to shoot them “in as uncluttered a way as possible. I took them into the studio, I treated them like celebrities, in the style of my two favorite photographers, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.”

Rock'n'roll groupie Lacy at Belvedere Street Studio in San Francisco, CA, January 1968.

Lacy © Baron Wolman

Groupie Linda Sue Parker, also called Miss Sparky, is part of the GTOs and poses at the A&M Studio in Los Angeles, CA, November 1968.

Miss Sparky © Baron Wolman

Baron is among my favorite photographers at Govinda Gallery. His photographs were featured in our Woodstock exhibition in 1994 as well as his first one-person exhibition My Generation at Govinda Gallery in 1996. We exhibited a number of Baron’s photographs of groupies in that show. Baron’s photos were also in the historic exhibition La Revolucion del Rock and Roll at Fototeca de Cuba in 2002 organized by Govinda Gallery as well as in the extraordinary museum tour Sound and Vision: Monumental Rock and Roll Photography also organized by Govinda Gallery. His portrait of Frank Zappa on a tractor in Los Angeles in 1968 is part of the permanent collection at Hamilton Live in Washington, D.C. It is always a pleasure to work with Baron. His photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

Groupie Karen Seltenrich photographed at Belvedere Street Studio in San Francisco, CA, November 1968. This portrait was used as the front cover image of the Rolling Stone magazine's groupie issue No.27, published on February 15th, 1969.Karen © Baron Wolman

“I discovered what I believed to be a subculture of chic and I thought it merited a story.”
-Baron Wolman

Rock groupie Catherine James at the A&M Studio in Los Angeles, CA, November 1968.Catherine © Baron Wolman

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