In the early 1970s, Gassian traded his guitar for a 35 mm camera and began photographing his favourite musical artists. In his early days, he catches the coat-tails of the sixties rock revolution, documenting the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and The Who at the Isle of Wight Festival. Over three decades later, he has developed one of the most significant visual archives documenting the icons of contemporary music.
More than simply portraits of well-known musicians and performers, Gassian’s photographs are part of his greater search for that beautiful moment beyond the immediately recognizable. Presented with the obvious celebrity of his subjects, Gassian persists until he catches that individual mood or private thought behind the very public personality. In the process, Gassian captures a feeling that eclipses the subject itself.
Gassian has shot virtually every major figure in music, from ageing giants (Chuck Berry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, James Brown) to today’s musicians (Jack White, Daft Punk, The Kills, The Queens of the Stone Age). In between, he photographed the rock Pantheon: Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Patti Smith, The Clash, Nick Cave…. Many of Gassian’s images have been used as album covers, and have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers throughout the world. Currently, living and working in Paris, his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Europe and the United States.