Michael Weintrob – Instrumenthead

Michael Weintrob


INSTRUMENTHEAD is a photographic series created to tell the story of the musicians in a surrealistic style without showing their faces. This is a project five years in the making with over 150 musicians to date. Some of the artists that have participated in this project to date are: Bootsy Collins (James Brown, P-Funk), Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), King Sunny Ade, Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club), Zakir Hussain (Shakti, Masters of Percussion), Lenny White (Miles Davis, Return to Forever), Bill Summers (Herbie Hancock and The Head Hunters), Derek Trucks (Allman Brothers Band), Peter Asher and many more.
“Over the last 15 years I have met a lot of working musicians and I want to turn people on to the artists I have come to know and respect,” says Weintrob about the project. “I am humbled that all of these talented musicians have come forward to par- ticipate in the project; the response has been incredible.”
Weintrob has taken this project on the road, having shot por- traits at legendary venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater, Preservation Hall and Tipitinas in New Orleans and Mama Rosas Blues Club in Chicago.
The project will culminate as a coffee table book and travelling exhibition that will be a who’s who of modern musicians.
For more information and updates about this project visit the website: www.instrumenthead.com




Michael Weintrob’s clients benefit from his ability to consistently produce intimate photographs under a variety of conditions. Whether it is a candid portrait, a live performance, or a cultural event, Michael aims to capture both spontaneity and clarity in his subjects.
“I like to bring out the personality of the people in my photographs,” Michael explains. “For example when I shoot musicians in the studio I try to create a relaxed vibe and let people be who they are. I move really quickly and try to improvise with my camera.”
The skill and ease of Michael’s technique has resulted in a growing reputation both in and outside the music industry. Born in Birmingham, Alabama and currently residing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Michael’s images have appeared in publications such as Rolling Stone, Newsweek People, Spin, Mojo, Billboard, Relix, Jazz Times and Downbeat.  Michael has photographed album images for renowned artists he has photographed include Bootsy Collins, Burning Spear, Taj Mahal, Gov’t Mule, Charlie Hunter and many others.

Michael’s work—which is well-known in musical circles—is now expanding into new avenues. Along with working for corporate clients (Sony, Blue Note, EMI, Carefusion, Loews Hotels), Michael has donated his time and effort to raising money for the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation and his photography was auctioned off by Sothebys to help provide musical instruments to children affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Michael continues to work as the principal photographer for several music festivals (he is Staff Photographer for the 2011 Barcelona International Jazz Festival) and as a house photographer (Feinsteins at the Loews Regency Hotel). He is also developing a major publishing project that will highlight his unique “anthropomorphic photography” featuring musicians posing with their instruments.

Exhibiting the ease and skill of improvisational jazz player, Michael’s photography continues to explore the depths of the human soul in all its complexity.


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Michael Weintrob



22 Responses to “Michael Weintrob – Instrumenthead”

  • Oh, I love this essay and the idea to photograph musicians like you did.

  • Great essay. Very creative idea.

  • Nicely done and good concept. Simple and effective. Nice not to think and just enjoy the visuals.
    I like the moog modular one….my favorite.
    I loved the video…puts you right behind the scenes of the shoot and awesome to see them move!
    In the stills they look like statues but then you realize they are full of life.

  • Exhibiting the ease and skill of improvisational jazz player, Michael’s photography continues to explore the depths of the human soul in all its complexity.


  • What fun!!! And a nice change of the recent pace for BURN. Many thanks to Michael W., and to DAH for posting this.

  • Oh what a lovely bit of fun and sillyness.

  • This is great, I think, although I agree with the um above; it definitely does not come under Bishop Sheen’s definition of blarney.

  • what a treat!!!!!
    I LOVE this!!

  • I looked at the first 3 images, skipped to the last, and then I was done. It’s just not my cup of tea. I’d really much rather see human faces I can relate to than people who I’d normally never relate to dressed up in musical instruments.

    Anyway, what with Jim checking out on his usual duty, somebody had to not like this so much.

    I will say it’s well done, and I appreciate the time and access required to get these extraordinary people all participating.

  • Quite fun, and such a simple idea. Reminds me a bit of the sculptor Nick Cave from Chicago.

    And I agree with mw, Michael’s bio should probably just stick to the facts….

  • in all fairness, bio are like resumes, there to promote. It is OK to sell yourself a bit, but I agree that was a bit over the top.

  • Once again, I didn’t read the artist’s statement, bio, or captions before reacting to the photographs in the essay… and then, after others called attention to them, I went back and read them… ouch, groan, and flush with embarrassment for the perpetrator.

    Since almost every photographer whose work appears here seems to have real trouble with bios, artist statements, and captions, maybe BURN should sponsor a writing workshop for photographers.

  • Very fun series of pictures and it is remarkable that all these artists would cooperate – artists often being a testy and vain bunch, who tend to like to get their faces shown. You must have great rapport with them.

    And I hate to pile on, but I must agree with the “um” and the elaborations heaped upon it.

  • Fun, as others have said, though any lacking both recognition (for me) and something unusual fall a bit flat; I feel 13 is a bit of a low point. And yes, another vote to axe the last line of the bio. But thanks for the entertaining work.


    1. Keep it short.

    2. Keep it simple.

    3. If your artist’s statement sounds like you are patting yourself on the back, you are. Stop and rewrite it.

    4. If your biography sounds like your mother could have written it, stop and rewrite your biography. No one is interested in your mom’s opinion of your life, except when she brings up the really embarrassing crap you don’t want anyone to know. That’s always a hoot.

    5. Avoid the passive voice. Politicians invented the passive voice to avoid taking responsibility for their actions; if you use the passive voice, you are on the side of Wall Street and The Man. Deal with it.

    6. Lay off the adjectives and the adverbs, which is always something I have a problem with, to be honest. Write with nouns and verbs.

    7. Have something to say. That always helps.

  • Thanks for the great feedback. The project has been so much fun to work on. I have been working really hard for a long time on this and am honored to have the work featured on Burn. If you are interested in learning more about instrumenthead check the web site!

  • And utterly inconsequential.

  • Recently I had a friend of mine who is a writer help me with a new bio. After reading all the comments and re reading the bio it seems to me to be a little over the top and intend on making it simpler. I want the images I take to speak for themselves. I hope that this response adds to the conversation.

  • I like the creativity in the idea and the execution. Of course the relationship with the musicians was good and played a great role. And the tie of Joe McGinty wow, I would like to have one like that…
    robert, not able to play music…

  • Looked like a lot of fun for everyone involved,including the audience.
    Very well executed …congratulations!

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