Exposed: Michael Weintrob’s ‘Instrumenthead: Revealed’

August 11, 2022
Exposed: Michael Weintrob’s ‘Instrumenthead: Revealed’

For his 2017 book Instrumenthead, photographer Michael Weintrob took portraits of musicians with their signature instruments covering their faces. Five years later, he has released Instrumenthead: Revealed, a companion book in which their heads are now visible.

Weintrob notes, “I want to do my part to inspire people to learn about new music and the artists who create it. I love to connect and break down walls with my photography. Everyone has the ability to be a kid again. This book is really special because we’re unmasking the original photos. It also reflects a new energy. I am excited to complete this body of work by showing more of the images we created in these photo sessions.” 

Mickey Hart
“Mickey is holding the Beam on his left side, an instrument he created. The drumhead in the shot is one that he actually painted himself. He is also wearing the wrist bands that he always has on when he performs.”
Rhiannon Giddens
“I was the featured artist at the North Sea Jazz Festival and had a studio set up in the gallery. I went backstage at Rhiannon’s show and asked her drummer if he would relay the message that I wanted to work with her. Three hours later, she showed up ready for the shoot.”
Billy Strings
“We had so much fun creating this portrait together. As soon as I met Billy, I knew that he was really special. There was just something about him. I wanted a take a photograph of him where his tattoos were showing. He brought the American flag himself— he thought it was an awesome prop. I later saw the image of a young Jerry Garcia with his banjo in front of the American flag. I think this image is fitting because it seems like Billy is carrying on a lot of what Jerry Garcia stood for.”
Kyle Hollingsworth
“Kyle is in The String Cheese Incident. This is why he is wearing a cow suit with string cheese in the shot. I was amazed that he let me put an actual piece of cheese on his keyboard.”
Zakir Hussain
“We shot this portrait at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, Calif. When the students came in and saw Zakir standing there, they bowed down to him and kissed his feet.”
Tina Weymouth
“Tina and her husband Chris Frantz—drummer for Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club—showed up at my studio in Brooklyn and we had a beautiful shoot. I remember that we listened to some Fred Astaire while I shot their portraits. And, after the shoot, we went out for a great Italian meal. This Hofner bass was in the Play it Loud Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.”
Bootsy Collins
“Bootsy had a band called Bootsy’s Rubber Band so, before the shoot, I bought 2,000 rubber bands. When I showed up, I asked him, ‘Has anyone ever photographed you with rubber bands before?’ He said no. It made so much sense to me.”