Sonic boom

Jennifer Taylor’s Rock Retrospective sounds off at Christopher’s Restaurant

‘Bernie Worrell Orchestra’; photo: Jennifer Taylor

By Morgan Laurens

“When I say I’m a music photographer, people look at me kind of strangely,” says Jennifer Taylor. The raven-haired Taylor sips water instead of coffee during our interview, saying that a 2:30 p.m. dose of caffeine will keep her up too late—a very un-rock and roll thing for someone so deeply entrenched in Dayton’s music scene to admit.

“I look at [music photography] like an ultrasound,” continues Taylor. “You can visually define a non-visual thing like music with facial expression, the four walls around you, or the instruments.”

Taylor—whose Rock Retrospective is up through the rest of June at Christopher’s Restaurant—has spent the last five years capturing the crème de la crème of rock royalty in the Gem City: Shrug, Brainiac, Guided by Voices, and Kelley Deal’s band R. Ring, have all crossed paths with her lens at one point or another.

The photographs—usually shot in theatrical black and white—are imbued with a sense of comradery and shared fellowship amongst one or several bands, and the audience. They often capture a musician at the height of their game, whether that means they’re lost in the moment or posed in rebel defiance.

Join Dayton City Paper for a look back at some of Taylor’s most defining moments.

April 2012: ‘Curves, Contrast, and Contours’ appears at Sideshow 7

Jennifer Taylor: My participation in Sideshow 7 is what introduced me to Dayton’s music scene. [“Curves, Contrast, and Contours”] was very well received, and it cemented my reputation pretty early on as a photographer. It was a mixture of self-portraits and flowers, and I just compared the curves in the facial structures to the curves in the petals. [Sideshow] was a mind-opening experience. That’s where I met Todd the Fox—he was a volunteer coordinator that year and also the first music that I saw. His set kind of blew me away. He used some instruments that I’d never see used before in a serious performance setting, and his style was really unique. So that was what inspired me to pick up the camera and take pictures of musicians. The whole experience just left me reeling for like, two weeks afterwards.

November 2013: Jennifer captures ‘Shrug’s Last Stand’ at Canal Street Tavern’s last show

JT: Shrug is a longtime Dayton band, they’ve been around for about 25 years. They’ve got their arms all around each other—I think they’re singing backup on the opening band’s song in this photo—but you can feel the heaviness of the moment. They’re probably replaying dozens of different memories from different shows they’re played [at Canal Street], and what might’ve happened after the show, or getting ready for the show.

April 2014: ‘Tim Pritchard at Such a Night’ recreates ‘The Last Waltz’

JT: I had already started photographing Such a Night, which was a recreation of The Last Waltz by Martin Scorsese featuring The Band and a bunch of really prominent singer-songwriters from the early ’70s like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Van Morrison, people like that. In 2014, a deal was made with WYSO and Dayton Art Institute to make this show an annual fundraiser for WYSO. Tim Pritchard from Boxcar Suite…the way he put himself together for that show, it looked like he just walked out of 1976.

November 2014: Musical pioneer ‘Bernie Worrell’ passes through Dayton

JT: Bernie is a funk guy that played with Talking Heads, Parliament, Funkadelic, and a whole bunch of others. Magic Jackson opened for him. That was a really amazing show, and it became a historic show because he’s passed away since then. It was nice to capture a musical pioneer in his element and in his essence while I could.

December 2014: ‘Brainiac’ reunites at Blind Bob’s

JT: This is a rare image because [Brainiac] don’t play out much anymore. Their original lineup has changed, some people have unfortunately passed away. I think they just want to keep that in the past as its own special moment in time. For this show, they kind of did a reunite show. It was part of a fundraiser for another musician who had passed away.

January 2017: Ashley Pooler lights Dayton City Paper on fire in ‘Abertooth Lincoln’

JT: This was from Abertooth Lincoln’s CD release party. They have this song that is called “20 Minutes of Action” and it’s a protest song about the rapist Brock Turner…more about what his father said in response to Brock’s sentencing. Six months is a hard sentence for 20 minutes of action is basically what he said. As callous as that was, [Abertooth Lincoln] didn’t let that go, and they wrote a whole song about it. During the show, I was off to the right. I think Ashley started talking about the song, and someone handed her a copy of Dayton City Paper [featuring Brock Turner on the cover]. Someone else randomly lit it on fire, and Ashley held it up for everyone to see.

Rock Retrospective is on display through June 30 at Christopher’s Restaurant, 2318 E Dorothy Ln. in Kettering. The closing reception takes place Thursday, June 29 from 3–5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please visit Instagram/Jennifer_Foto.

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Morgan Laurens
Reach DCP freelance writer Morgan Laurens at MorganLaurens@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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