To Live and Die A Legend / Grace Ahlbom


At one point in time, rock and roll was considered a sort of satanic worship, but it's now widely accepted. Over time other musical traditions—like Hip Hop—have navigated the path from taboo to classic as well. To Live and Die A Legend explores this trajectory, drawing inspiration from Rococo and Baroque portraiture in a collection of formal musician portraits by American photographer Grace Ahlbom. Ahlbom's reference to classical portraiture serves to juxtapose the traditional presentation of socially important figures of these past periods—their posing affectations and finery—with the likenesses of contemporary musicians.

“Placing people in contexts that don't seem to fit their aesthetic conveys a kind of irony that I think produces a dynamic relationship between the viewer and the piece... It's intriguing to me that society picks people to idolize, which is why my work focuses on how our culture idolizes arbitrary aspects of masculinity.” —Grace Ahlbom

Cover by Claire Smight

Published by Grace Ahlbom, 2017

Printed in a limited edition of 50 copies

24 pages, color and b&w, 7.75 × 9.5 inches 

ISBN 978-1-63587-765-6