David Robert has been photographing in the area for more than 25 years, and his favorite thing to photograph is rock 'n' roll concerts. The opening reception for his 25-year retrospective exhibit The Last of the Rockstars is Saturday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. at Rock City Posters, 1286 S. Virginia St. It will be open for 30 days. There will be about 30 printed photos and a slide show with about 500 more.
What is the exhibit going to be like?
It’s going to be 25 years plus of rock ’n’ roll photography, every band from Alice Cooper to Frank Zappa, to David Gilmore to U2, Led Zeppelin, many, many, many bands. … I can’t remember who said it to me, but they were comparing my photography to music. … But they said that my photography has the crazy creativeness of Pink Floyd and the tight looseness of the Rolling Stones.
Why are you having this exhibit now?
Because I’ve been compiling this for the past few years, and Scotty Roller and Rob Brooks at Rock City Posters asked me if I’d put on a show. I’d been looking for a venue to put on a show for years. I’ve been offered quite a few venues, but this is the best venue, the best setting. A rock ’n’ roll poster shop. … It’s not in a coffee house. It’s not in a small gallery. It’s a rock ’n’ roll venue, so it’s perfect. It’s rock ’n’ roll photography merged with rock ’n’ roll posters.
I’d imagine you’ve got a lot of options to choose from. How did you go about choosing what would go into the exhibit?
It was very pleasurable but painful at the same time. There was a lot of painful omissions, and there was a lot of stuff that I found that I had forgotten I had, too. … It was a two- or three-year process because, even before this exhibit, I had it in mind that I was going to do an exhibit. In my spare time, I would go through thousands and thousands of photos.
Looking back at all those photos, do you have a favorite?
There’s a lot of favorites in there. … Do I have a favorite? Oh my god. I’m really having trouble with this. I have some beautiful shots of the Flaming Lips. There’s one of my heroes in here, David Gilmore from Pink Floyd. My other hero, Daniel Ash from Bauhaus, is in here. It’s all over the place. … It’s hard to pick, but there is one. It’s from a gothic band called the Crüxshadows, and the reason I like that one is it’s a slow shutter photo. It’s very cool. It’s a photo of a girl playing a violin. And I’ve always been known for my slow shutter photos, kind of my signature photography.
You used to photograph here at the Reno News & Review. Where else have you photographed?
Yes, I was photo editor there. I have my own business right now called Biggest Little City Photography where I do a variety of photography, mainly commercial photography. Everything from architecture to portrait work. I do a lot of bands. What else? An occasional wedding. I’m doing magazine work now. … I’ve shot for Pollstar, an international music trade magazine. I’ve been in Guitar Player magazine, Gig magazine, Fernandes Guitar Catalog, Epiphone Guitar Catalog.
And this exhibit is called The Last of the Rockstars, why?
The reason it’s called The Last of the Rockstars is because there really aren't any more rock stars in this commercial day and age of radio. Ozzy Osborne said, ‘Who's going to take over for me when I die?' And it got me thinking. Yes, this is the last of the rock stars.