Low to High Brow

Knight Gallery gives rock photography a new home in Las Vegas

It just so happens that Neal Preston isn’t the only rock ’n’ roll photographer to be bringing something new to Las Vegas. On May 28, star classic-rock photographer and Las Vegas transplant, Robert Knight celebrated the opening of his gallery at the Las Vegas Hilton. The gallery features Knight’s shots of rock royalty (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, et al.) as well as conceptual portraits by his photographer wife, Maryanne Bilham (she recently did a studio shoot for Santana), photo collages by collaborator Jim Evans and a few Elvis photos by Richard Upper for good measure.

More than the usual cocktails and crumpets, the opening featured a concert by a collection of young rock guitarists that Knight is mentoring (Find out more by watching the documentary of Knight’s life and work, Rock Prophesies, when it’s available this autumn).

Even at his own party, Knight didn’t take a break. Wearing his signature black beret, he was constantly moving around the base of the stage, searching for the best shot. And this is what his gallery is really about: The warm yet ephemeral guitar sound transferred to an image that lasts.

It’s this record of a bygone time—he was the last to photograph Stevie Ray Vaughan, for example—that’s made him famous. “Robert is more of a documentarian. It’s the way he prefers to work. So much of his work, because of that, has been pivotal to historical times,” says Bilham, who herself prefers risky studio work, such as “God Bless the GoGo’s,” a portrayal of each band member as the Virgin Mary.

But his wife isn’t his only fan. At the gallery opening, WireImage photographer Denise Truscello said, “Well, there’s nobody like Robert. You can have 10 photographers take a picture of the same person, and you can tell Robert’s photography. You can pick it out right away because there’s something—I don’t know what it is. It’s a moment after the moment. You know what I mean?”

Like the “decisive moment” plus one? (a term coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of photojournalism).

“Plus one. Plus 20. Plus 100. He’s phenomenal.”

Suggested Next Read

Born to Brawl


Born to Brawl

Everybody has an opinion on Dana White. Just bring up his name next time you are out on the town and see what happens. “Guy’s an idiot,” “ignorant loudmouth,” “super nice guy,” “one of the most real people in Vegas,” “totally down to earth” and the age-old classic, “asshole.” Those are just a few samples from people I encountered in the run-up to this interview, but one conclusion is clear: The jury is all over the place, except in the middle.