Photographer Captures Iconic Rock Images in Their Original Surroundings Today
Frequent Instagram users might already be familiar with Steve Birnbaum. He's the photographer behind the remarkable account @thebandwashere on the photo-sharing social network.
There, he presents a litany of legendary images of musicians and bands in each photo's original surroundings, as they exist today, by holding up and aligning the pic with the background, then taking a perfect snapshot of the near-seamless, new-meets-old combination.
See a selection of Birnbaum's rock and metal-focused photo creations down toward the bottom of this post.
If you're not privy to Birnbaum's work, get ready to take a trip through music history via the original portraits that document it, their age underscored by the frame of today's modern landscape. What better way to illustrate the passage of time to rock fans than, say, juxtaposing memorable snaps of Nirvana, Guns N' Roses or My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way with the timeworn sites from which they first emerged?
Birnbaum tells Loudwire he started the project in 2010, first "working from family photos with the same concept of matching them up with the locations they were taken. I was inspired by a photographer who was photo-blending war photography with the locations from today, but he wasn't holding the original images up. I've always been interested in where films were shot or where historic moments happened."
Guns N' Roses
The photographer continues, "On a business trip to Los Angeles, I started visiting some of the locations of my favorite films and television shows and began holding up the original images, as you see." But shots of movies scenes ultimately weren't in the cards for him. "Another account did something similar," he explains, "so I transitioned to music, as I didn't see that out there. I'm happy I did, though. I've been a music lover — especially of music photography — for years, and a lot of the photographers I showcase have inspired me."
As for Birnbaum's favorite music, he says his taste is "kind of all over the place. It's similar to my feed, where you might see a Nirvana picture followed by a Tupac picture followed by a Miles Davis picture. I'm open to it all, even music I don't tend to listen to often or music I want to learn more about."
Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance
He adds, "When I switched solely to music, I first gravitated to the classic images many know of my favorite artists, but over time I'm trying to seek out photographs people might have forgotten about or hadn't seen before of their favorite musicians. I'm also looking for stories behind the images to help paint the picture of why they happened in the first place."
That means his followers have plenty more music throwback photography to anticipate. Be sure to check out Birnbaum's Instagram at @thebandwashere and, below, see more examples of what's there.