Kirk West’s Photographic Journey with The Brothers

It’s not beyond possible belief that another book of this scope and depth could be assembled.
Assembled being the key word in that thought.
It is possible that by piecing together pictures from the collections of the individual band members, crew members, venue employees, fans and industry people someone could possible put together a book of this density.

However there is no single source that could provide a solitary viewing point, from which to see The Allman Brothers go down that road toward forever, as complete as the one presented here. To share the unique vision and point of view of one man through the turbulence of 4 decades of pure and true rock-n-roll lifestyles is the gift this book delivers.

Kirsten West opened Gallery West in January as a venue to feature the photography of her husband, Kirk, who has more than 40 years of pictures from a wide range of music genres, from rock to country and blues.

“I retired, and Kirsten basically got tired of me sitting around the house,” Kirk said with a chuckle. “I can instigate (stuff), but she makes it happen.”

Artists of all kinds often reach a tipping point where their life no longer reflects their work as much as their work becomes a reflection of their life; it becomes a history of the journeys taken and the destinations reached.  The path is not as significant as the journey itself and what was recorded along the way is what remains most important.  One morning Kirk West awoke to the realization that he had a lifetime of special moments stored in boxes that had yet to see the light of day.

Being a fan first and foremost, of music and photography, Kirk knew this had to change. When life presented the opportunity to catalogue and organize his archives, he jumped on it. Fate, they say, is not a trivial thing.

Former Allman Brothers Band “Tour Mystic” and world renowned photographer Kirk West sits down to talk about some of his favorite music. He’s seen it all, and has taken photographs of most of it. West’s career began in Chicago in the early ’60s, where he photographed Frank Zappa, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, to name a few. Later on, he found himself on the Outlaw Country Circuit, and some of his photos of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones (Shirtless) captured some of the most iconic moments in country music history. Then there were the Tom Waits’ years, Bob Marley, the list goes on and on. Into the Mystic will take on a different form each episode. We might here all blues, we might hear all country, we might hear obscure jazz. The common thread will be phenomenol stories from the life of one of our favorite photographers. Gallery West is located at 447 Third Street in downtown Macon.

Join tour mystic Kirk West every Wednesday at 7 p.m. as he delves into the deeper side of the music.