London – "This is the end," said a visionary prophet 40 years ago. It was really the end of his earthly life, when he died aged only 27 in a Paris hotel on 3 July 1971. But it was the beginning of a new spiritual and infinite era, known as the myth of Jim Morrison.
On the 40th anniversary of The Doors leader's mysterious death, the Proud Camden gallery is staging a photographic portrait entitled "The Doors of Perception". Situated inside the famous Stables Market, the exhibition offers a tracking shot of pictures by Bobby Klein, Guy Webster and Frank Lisciandro during the Doors' legendary career.
An icon of the 60s counterculture, Jim Morrison is the protagonist of the gallery, with his enigmatic gaze and his physical charm that come out from every image. But here we have the opportunity to see other rare insights into the life of "The Lizard King", as well as in the work of all members of the Doors.
In a square room, three white walls show 31 pictures of the Doors and Morrison (25 black and white, 6 colour), whereas on the fourth wall there are photos of other rock stars like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and The Clash, to create the right atmosphere of those years.
It is possible to divide the exhibition in two main areas: on one hand, pictures by Guy Webster and Bobby Klein portray the four members of the group posing for album covers, which are aesthetically pleasing but predictable. These are classical photos of American music bands of those years, hippies dressed in the Californian landscape. Anyway the coloured ones reveal an exceptional sight about people and places of that age that we usually can see only in black and white.
On the other hand, pictures by Frank Lisciandro, who was a close friend of Morrison, are more fascinating because they constitute real stolen instants from the Doors' job, both on and off stage. For example, Lisciandro captures Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger while they are recording songs or talking to each other in the studio. Another is a close-up of John Densmore, sweaty while he plays drums. There are also moments of intimacy, like one tender picture of Jim embracing his girlfriend Pamela Courson in a garden.
The sensation is of little drops falling to create a lake of nostalgic admiration for that kind of music and those kind of people, who were able to change the future of generations with their extremely powerful songs. Maybe it is not enough to document the birth, evolution and final years of the Doors in thirty photos, but here the real aim is to give the audience the opportunity to see pictures never published before, with a more curious eye, about one of the most important bands of the era.
There are also some gadgets for fans and the gallery has three doors (obviously) open, which makes the room ventilated. And if you are lucky, you will hear Jim whispering in the wind: "The gate is straight, deep and wide, break on through to the other side."