All photos taken in 1968 by Baron Wolman. From top to bottom: “Two Girls”, “Miss Pamela”, “Miss Pamela”, “Lacy”, “Jenni Dean”, “Margaret”, “Sally Mann”, and “Two Members of the GTO’S”.
This past October a little gallery in London called Mach Schau presented “The Groupies by Baron Wolman”. What I wouldn’t give to have been at that opening! Just another reason I’m eventually moving to London… So Wolman was the very first chief photographer at Rolling Stone, and through his exploits running around photographing the Who and the Stones and Hendrix, etc. he became aware of these women who were a vibrant part of that scene. They “had obviously spent an inordinate amount of time and effort putting themselves together for their backstage appearance,” he says. “They were not just hanging out, they were strutting.” Fashion was a big part of it. These ladies constituted “a subculture of chic” that Baron and editor Jann Wenner thought merited a story. In fact, the material became an entire “special super duper neat issue” of Rolling Stone in February 1969. Featuring interviews and Baron’s photographs, the cover was titled, “The Groupies And Other Girls.”
It’s amazing how sexualized these images feel without showing very much skin (not by today’s standards, anyways). Maybe it’s just that we know (or think we know) the context the photos were taken in. That said, these women seem very in control and aware of their power to me. You definitely get the feeling that they, too, were charismatic artists and performers in their own right. You can read more about each woman and some fun behind-the-scenes commentary on the photos here.
I discovered this via my ongoing search for high-contrast black and white photography prints. I’ve been wanting to frame some stuff for my bedroom, but I am picky picky picky. These prints are actually available for $800 each, unframed from RockPaperPhoto. They’re produced in a very limited quantity (of ten a piece!) and signed by Baron Wolman, himself. So get ‘em while they’re hot, folks. Can you imagine this series framed down your hallway? Now that would be rock and f*ckin’ roll, man.
If I was going to get just one, it would probably be of Pamela Des Barres, whom I’m pretty sure I saw hanging around the pool table in back of the Continental Club a few weeks ago when Robert Plant and Patty Griffin played. And if you want to know how groupies age, I can tell you: incredibly, incredibly well.
*pieces of this story lifted directly from RockPaperPhoto and Wolman’s book Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years