Karen Mason-Blair: Behind the lens of this legendary Chris Cornell photo.
In a recent episode of Artist Waves Live, I was honored to have acclaimed Seattle photographer Karen Mason-Blair as my guest, coinciding with the 30th anniversary date of Pearl Jam’s first show (10/22/90). During our interview, we also discussed some of Mason-Blair’s most iconic photos – including Chris Cornell rocking a Pearl Jam shirt. This particular shot, always resonated deeply with me in terms of capturing the Rock God essence of Cornell. His graciousness on full display, while at the same time staying true to his own artistic persona. Cornell, was simply insisting upon showcasing his Temple of the Dog comrades, Mason-Blair explains.
Photographer, Karen Mason-Blair:
All these bands would come into my Pioneer Square studio. I’d always say, “You can’t wear local unsigned band’s shirts. Rolling Stone will say, ‘Who’s this band?'” You have one agenda – we’re promoting Soundgarden. So, I said “Chris, you have to take that shirt off.'” He goes, “Karen, no way. They’re my best friends, I’m gonna help them out.” I said, “OK Chris… you can wear it for a couple shots.”
I let him wear it, and now look at how iconic it is.