American rock icon and Velvet Underground founding member Lou Reed passed away three days ago. Reed died at 71 years old from liver disease, only months after undergoing a liver transplant earlier this year. He is remembered for his contributions to music, but not as much for his work as a photographer.
Reed had a prolific career as a musician, owing much of his popularity to the fact that he co-founded one of the most influential bands in the 1960s. After leaving the Velvet Underground in 1970 however, Reed continued to pursue his rock and roll dreams as a solo artist and has even collaborated with the likes of David Bowie, The Killers and—-believe it or not—-Metallica.
The world mourns the loss of a great musician. As a songwriter and poet, he is fondly remembered for his timeless contributions, but not too many are aware that Reed was a photographer as well. He was known to shoot with a Leica M8, Leica S2, and a Swiss-made Alpa. Below is a photo of film director Kimberly Peirce, taken by Lou Reed for Interview Magazine.
Like a true artist, Reed dabbled in other mediums to further exercise his creativity. He has held a few photo exhibitions and published books featuring his photographic work, namely “Emotion in Action,” “New York,” “Romanticism,” and most recently,“Rimes Rhymes.”
Here are some images from “Rimes Rhymes.”
“These photos represent my adventures with light – starting from 1960 with Andy Warhol through today. I began with photograms. I had used a video camera to obtain extreme contrasts in photos in the likeness of Billy Name. I installed twelve rows of televisions stacked on five levels with tapes specifically for this effect. It seems as if it were whirling glaciers and was looking to all of this before I was playing on stage. I armed myself with a variety of devices for all of my goals in my quest for joy and beauty. Nothing looks like it was captured just just one lens. The reality is different for every viewer. Everything is exciting to see. I’m sure God owned a Leica.” – Lou Reed, New York, April 2012