Buy a Photo of Your Favourite Musician to Help New York’s Most Vulnerable

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Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, NY, 1992© Michael Lavine

Established to raise money for New York-based charity God’s Love We Deliver, a new photography sale features images of music industry icons

This article is published as part of our #CultureIsNotCancelled campaign:

Since the Covid-19 crisis first swept the globe, music has become one of the primary sources of joy and community for millions of people dealing with the strains and stresses of social isolation. Whether watching historic Verzuz battles, participating in the “justice for” streaming campaigns, or simply enjoying the pleasures of your favourite artists, one thing can be counted on in this uncertain world: the song remains the same.

Inspired by the outpouring of support for an earlier photography fundraiser that secured $4,000 in just four days, curator Julie Grahame and photographer Janette Beckman have teamed up to launch the God’s Love We Deliver Fundraiser: Music Edition on Tuesday, May 26.

The fundraiser features nearly 50 photographs of iconic artists including Madonna, Prince, Debbie Harry, David Bowie, and Bob Marley alongside stars like Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and Kendrick Lamar for just $150 each, available on a “first come, first served” basis. 100 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to God’s Love We Deliver to feed 5,000 severe and chronically ill New Yorkers during the ongoing Covid-19 emergency.

Among the gems available for sale are Michael Lavine’s historic portrait of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love made for Sassy magazine in 1992; Armen Djerrahian’s 1997 photograph of Erykah Badu made while she was promoting her first album, Baduizm; and Catherine McGann’s 1995 photograph of Andre Harrell and Sean Combs shot for Michael Musto’s Village Voice column. 

Grahame and Beckman, who have been friends and colleagues since 1994, both have extensive music backgrounds. Over the years they have built close connections to luminaries in music photography including Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Jonathan Mannion, Timothy White, Jill Furmanovsky, Glen E. Friedman, and Danny Clinch, among many others.

“We have this huge community that we’ve built up over the 20-something years,” Beckman says. “We’ve all bonded and we’re tight. They all responded and stepped up to contribute to the cause.”

But the personal connection doesn’t end with the photographs. Beckman also volunteered for God’s Love We Deliver, doing everything from taking photos to working as a line chef in the kitchen. “They also sent me out with a delivery guy a few times to East Harlem. It was my job to go up into the buildings, knock on people’s doors and say, ‘God’s Love We Deliver for you,’” Beckman recalls.

“It was so emotional. You would see someone in a wheelchair who had not access to they outside world, and they would be so happy to see a person and so grateful for the food. You realise maybe that’s the only person they had seen that week. It was very deep and you realise the work they are doing is so essential.”

The God’s Love We Deliver Fundraiser: Music Edition launches on May 26, 2020 at 10am EDT. These images, printed by Luxlab of New York City, are available as 8 x 10 inch prints on Fuji Crystal Archive Type C paper, with a variable white border, unsigned, in editions of 10, for $150 each. Prints are available on a “first come, first served” basis.