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Mike Frankel's photos captured rock 'n' roll's psychedelic era

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Mike Frankel photographed music acts from the 60s and 70s like Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane and Mothers of Invention. He says back then bands "greeted you like a friend."

Frankel memorialized artists from Jefferson Airplane to Eric Clapton and bore witness to some of the biggest moments in rock 'n' roll history at venues like The Fillmore and Woodstock.

His work is characterized by its unique style of composing and exposing multiple images to one frame of film.

"I was just trying to really show the dynamism and the motion and how I reacted to the music," said Frankel. "It was so intense that representational imagery couldn't cut it in my mind."

Frankel watched the music photography scene over the years. The bands welcomed him into the fold back then, but now he says he would not pick up a camera to take photos of any band today.

"Back then it was all friendship," Frankel said. "Today, I have heard horror stories that some of the artists claim they own the copyright to any pictures that you take."

When asked for his press credentials in the early 70s, the photographer turned away from the rock scene.

Since then, Frankel has done pioneering work in the practical and commercial application of lasers and holography. In 2013, he co-created an interactive sculpture, inspired by Mars and the Hubbell Space telescope, and installed at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Connor Stewart is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date.