Charlie Swanson

Sights of Sounds: Joel Bernstein sees the light

Acclaimed rock ’n’ roll photographer and longtime Rockridge resident Joel Bernstein was still a teen when he asked Neil Young if he could play with Young’s new mother-of-pearl-inlaid Martin D-45 backstage. After a few minutes, when Young was called to go onstage, Bernstein quickly tuned the instrument and handed it back. Three years later, Young remembered the perfect tuning and asked Bernstein to be his guitar tech. Bernstein continued carrying his camera as he toured with Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Prince, documenting both iconic moments and quiet, reflective ones from a vantage most fans never see. Bernstein also captured images from the biggest stadium tour since the Beatles—Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 1974 sweep—which became a blueprint for the 1970s model that fol...