Hartford, Connecticut, February 20, 2017 – This month the Mather Art Gallery features a collection of celebrity photographs by John Atashian, a freelance photographer who often documents events for Trinity College. Atashian has worked for 26 years as a freelance commercial photographer based in Southington, Conn., and has attended and photographed 4,800 performances by more than 1,700 artists. The gallery on the second floor of Mather Hall showcases about 80 photographs – including images of Michael Jackson, Jerry Garcia, Neil Diamond, and Shakira, to name a few – all of which were taken by Atashian at live performances.
Atashian has a wide variety of photographs in his celebrity collection, covering many different time periods and genres. “Now my goal is the ones I haven’t done,” he said. “I’m not just looking to get anybody; I want people who have made their mark.” Atashian is about to release his first book, The Ultimate Photo Book of the World’s Greatest Guitarists, which will feature 540 popular guitarists whom he has photographed. He brought a few of these photographs to Trinity, but also selected shots of several other famous performers to put on display.
Atashian first began photographing entertainers 38 years ago. “I started in 1979, when I was 16 years old, and I have not stopped,” he said. At his first concert, for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Atashian brought a camera and his celebrity photography interest was sparked. Atashian noted that although rules regarding concert photography were more lenient 30 years ago, in the 1980s live events began requiring photo passes, which he was able to obtain through his work with Connecticut newspapers such as The New Britain Herald and The New Haven Register. For the past 30 years, he’s been writing a weekly column for local newspapers called “Concert Connection” that highlights recent concerts and upcoming shows. Atashian spends a lot of time taking photographs at Connecticut concert venues, and he often travels to New York City or Boston to see more popular artists.
This exhibit will be displayed in the Mather Art Gallery through the month of February. To see more of his work, visit http://www.johnatashian.com.
Written by Sophia Gourley ’19
Photos by Andrew J. Concatelli