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        RockVision

        Concert Photography: 1978 - 1991

        I took my first really good photo at a Rock Concert as a teenager in 1977 at the Status Quo concert in the Niedersachsenhalle in Hannover/Germany. I simply couldn't believe it when my then idol "Rick Parfitt" stood right in front of me ... opening the concert with the sounds to "Caroline". At that time I was taking pictures with a simple Agfa camera from my father, but it still resulted in some great shots for documentation. The following year I took some amazing shots of Bon Scott at my first AC/DC concert visit in Hamburg, but my favorite shots were taken on February 24, 1979 at the Eilenriederhalle, at my first Scorpions concert with Michael Schenker in Hannover. After this concert I also met Barbara, Michaels sister, by chance and we became friends. These pictures that I took back then, changed in a certain way my professional career as well as my life in general.

        I was 17 years old at that time, when I came home from school one day, the phone rang, the design company "Hipgnosis" was on the other end of the line and asked me if they could buy my pictures from that concert (from February 1979 in Hannover). Hipgnosis was an English design company based in London that specialized in designing album covers for rock musicians and bands like Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabath and of course UFO. So they heard from Barbara that I had taken a series of beautiful pictures, completely different perspectives of Michael with the Flying V. Wow; I was completely blown away. Kind of shocked that this world famous company would actually call me, a teenager in Germany? On top of that, my mother looked quite funny when she saw her adolescent teenager on the phone in the living room - making conversation very confidently in English. Yeah, I wonder what she was thinking? I, for one, was totally baffled, but of course made a note of the information and submitted my pictures to Hipgnosis by mail in London. I couldn't wait for Michael's first record (MSG) to come out, I was so excited. The thought that my picture could end up on the cover of his first solo record after he left UFO? Wow, that would be super-cool; I was now completely out of my mind. Remember, I was 17 years old!

        Rock Vision MIX, Harald-M. Lehnardt 1978-1983

        In the meantime, however, Michael had cut his hair very short during one of his binges and therefore my pictures of him, with long hair, would no longer have been suitable for an album cover, so nothing happened. Oh what a bummer! I was so very disappointed. 

        In the following years I was often on the road with Barbara, photographing her in her apartment for a solo project, and then later I often toured with Viva, her band. On many gigs all over Germany, but also Holland and Belgium. Two years later, in 1981, Barbara and I had a very bad car accident with my VW Porsche on the way to Hamburg for the Rockpalast recording of MSG at the Markthalle, her brothers first concert in Germany after he split from UFO and formed his own new group, the Michal Schenker Group. Luckily, we all had a guardian angel with us that day, but Barbara had to have an operation on her leg the same night, while I left the hospital with Marc Paganini (who was also in the car with me) and took the train to Hamburg to the Markthalle to tell Michael about our misfortune. Michael didn't like to tell him the bad news before his first gig in Germany, but his concert was a great success. After the gig we went with Rudolf Schenker and his then wife Margret to a party of the record label, there I met Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, rolled cigarettes with Cozy Powel (as we both smoked VanNelle Zware Shag. In the early hours of the morning we passed the hospital in Winsen an der Luhe with Rudolf on the way to Hannover, to visit Barbara later in the night. They made an exception, and the famous brother could inquire after the well-being of his sister. Later Rudolf drove me on to Hanover in his red Mercedes SL Coupe, I spent the rest of the night in Barbara's apartment in Ronnenberg and in the morning I called home to tell my parents about my accident. Thank God it went ok. All went well and we all recovered, Barbara's injury healed accordingly and as a keyboard player for VIVA she continued to cut a fine figure on stage. I really liked her band and continued to tour with VIVA in the following years. Unfortunately, Barbara quit in 1983 and somehow the band went downhill until they broke up and I became a student. 

        Rock Vision, Harald-M. Lehnardt 1990


        This creative incident with Hipgnosis from 1979 steered me on the creative track. My original wish to become an architect now gave way to studies in "Visual Communication" with a focus on "Photography and Film Design". I was still on the road at concerts, with meanwhile better camera equipment, and I used my results for many projects at the Fachhochschule Bielefeld, where I studied. I loved taking pictures at concerts; you would also run into the same crowd from all the int. music magazines; back then it was a small pool of creative photographers. Walter Chin, Ross Halfin, Fin Costello, Neil Zlozower, and of course my idol Bob Ellis. I recall an incident at the 2-day RockPop Festival in Dortmund with Judas Priest, Scorpions, Def Leppard, Quite Riot, Ozzy and of course MSG. I think I was taking shots of Rudy Sarzo from Quite Riot when a photographer next to me in the pit said hi. I replied and ask who he was shooting for - he replied "For myself". Stunned to find out that in fact I was talking to Bob Ellis, the Bob Ellis, the Rock Star photographer from back in the day. I told him that last month I had a poster of Running Wild in the center of Metal Hammer and his amazing shot of Saxon was on the other side .. he smiled and corrected me. "No, there was a poster of Saxon in Metal Hammer and a beautiful shot of Running Wild on the backside". We both laughed; he was a kind guy, very nice.

        Whenever I could make time I would document concerts, I was fascinated by the atmosphere and of course the desire to capture something special. RockPop at Westfalenhalle in 1983, or years later with Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) at the party at the Monsters of Rock in Mannheim, then the next day in Nuremberg. I got to know Sharon Osbourne even before she had all that plastic surgeries, it was just cool: Always backstage, always in the pit in front of the stage; it was a phenomenal time back then. Years later, my passion for typography developed, my fascination for "text + image" resulted from that time and still exists today. After graduating in Germany, I went on to study Media Studies in New York (thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship). I worked as Sr. Art Director for the largest department store chain in the US, then as Design Director for the most famous American artist in Japan in Hawaii, and later for 5 years as Sr. Art Director for a boutique design company in Honolulu, winning many awards and living my little dream: client meetings in the morning, followed by first concepts and ideas, then possibly press check at the print shop around noon and already in the late afternoon on the surfboard somewhere in the ocean until sunset. A great and so perfect time for which I have to be very grateful. A few years later I started my own business in branding and marketing: first still in Hawaii and then also in Germany, after moving from Hawaii to Germany. In total, I lived in the United States for 26 years: from 1991 to 2017. I can't complain: I lived and worked in Manhattan for 14 years, followed by 12 years in the Hawaiian Islands, lived on Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, walked 800 km the Way of St. James across northern Spain, and just celebrated my 60th birthday last July at Everest Base Camp at 18,000 feet. All good. What comes next is still a bonus.

        Now I wear 2 hats: one represents me as a creative director and designer for www.dolcevitacreative.com, an office for design and communication, the other hat represents me as an artist of my "text-image" compositions through www.kuliana-edition.com.

        A few years after moving from Hawaii to Germany, months after launching the new website, I was cleaning out the attic and came across some photographs from back then. From my student days when I was so often on the road at concerts, sometimes I was lucky and could sell my pictures to metal hammers, and one time I was also in Bravo ... ha ha. Unfortunately, I didn't have the organisational talent back then that I have today, and also because of the many moves in my life, only a few negatives from that time have survived. I could still remember that one of the Schenker pictures from '79 was particularly good - but when I found the old photo album in the attic, I was a bit disappointed - the pictures were good ... but where was the star? However, that changed today when I saw some of those exciting shots in a course work from my student days in a book project "Youth Culture + RockMusic". Also the perfect Schenker picture in the black/white leather outfit that Barbara designed for him back then. Too bad. It exists unfortunately only as a bad photocopy, nevertheless a great picture, especially because one year later I photographed the Scorpions in Hildesheim (Animal Magnetism Tour) and Michael's brother Rudolf in the same position - but with blue spotlight. Also there, unfortunately, I lack the negatives or a photo to scan. Well, nevertheless it gives me a lot of pleasure to think about this time again, to work up pictures, to edit them here and there to be able to offer them here again under the heading "Rock Vision".
        Harald-M. Lehnardt