Outtakes from famous Lester Butler photo session

Photographer Rens Horn sheds light on how he captured an iconic image of Lester Butler.

Based in The Netherlands, Horn shot Butler during his 1997 tour through Europe. The photographer has posted some outtakes, and explained to us how the elements came together, from concept to session:

The pictures were taken in Rotterdam on Sept. 10, 1997, just across the artist entrance of Nighttown where 13 would perform that night.

The first time I saw Lester play I had this picture in my mind: While playing you couldn’t see his face, and while singing you couldn’t see his tattooed arms the way you would when playing, and I wanted to see both at the same time. … (D)ays before this portrait was made I took some pictures at a concert in Tegelen, on stage with Lori’s backstage pass. After the concert I asked Lester if I could take his portrait when he was playing in Rotterdam and he agreed.

I brought my own harp (the one in the picture is mine) and prints of the pictures I took before, just average concert pictures but “messed up” in the darkroom (I call it “rensomatic”). He loved the way they looked as did Alex Schultz who happens to love photography as well and was actually related with some of my photographer heroes through his dad. So he was willing to pose and we shared a couple of minutes in front of the garage door.

After a few frames it occurred to me that the holes in the door resembled that of the holes in the harp so we shot two or three more and that was it. He liked the picture a lot and on one occasion, years later, he gave me his T-shirt and said “thanks for the pictures and your friendship.”

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