Rockarchive

Sourcing original rock’n’roll photography online

Image: Allan Ballard

Rockarchive.com does what it says on the tin, plus a little extra. The website, founded by music photographer Jill Furmanovsky, sells limited-edition prints of seminal rock bands doing their thing, as well as those of legendary performers from the worlds of pop, jazz and soul. The collection ranges from dramatic captures of Kate Bush and Tina Turner (from £450 and £390, latter in third picture, both by Furmanovsky) to passionate depictions of Ella Fitzgerald (from £561, by Francine Winham), Louis Armstrong (from £630, by Tom Hanley, second picture) and Amy Winehouse (from £630, by Furmanovsky). Hip-hop aficionados will find a historic image of Afrika Bambaataa on stage (from £354, by David Corio) and post-punk enthusiasts can pick up a portrait of Patti Smith in her element (from £354, by Lex van Rossen).

Image: Tom Hanley

Furmanovsky launched Rockarchive in 1998 as an experiment into how analogue photographs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s would fare in the dot-com boom. “I selected prime examples – ideally unseen work – that fans and collectors would want to buy as investments to hang in their homes,” she says, and started by releasing shots by her established colleagues Mick Rock, Bob Gruen and Gered Mankowitz, as well as a few of her own. The site has since expanded to include a marketplace that allows other photographers to exhibit their own editions, and is beginning to feature video interviews about the scene.

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Alongside meeting requests for pictures of icons such as Blondie (from £354, first picture, by Allan Ballard), David Bowie (from £900, by Fernando Aceves), Bob Dylan (from £900, by Don Hunstein), Elvis Presley (from £2,400, by Alfred Wertheimer) and Grace Jones (from £1,080, by Corio), Rockarchive aims to preserve the history of rock’n’roll and acknowledge its cultural impact. “As there’s no publicly funded rock'n'roll museum in the UK, we feel a certain responsibility,” Furmanovsky explains.

Image: Jill Furmanovsky

Having returned from this year’s Glastonbury festival, she speaks passionately about capturing the magic of the moment – even after 43 years in the business: “There is still nothing more thrilling for me than shooting musicians.” Prints of today’s stars such as Florence Welch, Lily Allen and Lady Gaga (from £50, editions of 300) come formatted like 12in records, printed as squares on archival Fuji paper and packaged in album sleeves. The site’s high-quality prints are embossed with an exclusive editions “RA” signature and are often signed by the photographer.

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“Great photography is up there with great painting,” the site’s founder enthuses. “You can dive right into it and tune in to the spirit of a person and a place.”

To invest in limited-edition photography from the worlds of fashion and mixology, check out this book charting Karl Lagerfeld’s 50 years at Fendi, and this mouthwatering magazine of cocktail recipes by maestro Tony Conigliaro.

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