Fashioning Docs

By Her Aim Is True director, Karen Whitehead

Early on in production, I found myself immersed in the bold strokes of 1960s fashion and design chic – and the cultural underpinnings of my documentary about pioneering rock n roll photographer, Jini Dellaccio. My fascination grew with every photo the production pulled from Jini’s 50 year-old archive. Discovering this treasure trove as the film unfolds offers an insight into an indie music scene before rock photography was really taken seriously as a form of fine art photography. But what I really want to convey, behind these iconic portraits of Beatle Boot and Peabody coat clad moody musicians is an artistry that is as striking for its visionary qualities and influence as say Vidal Sassoon was to hair and Mary Quant was to clothes in the Sixties.

I was so struck by Dellaccio’s unknown role as an innovator I crafted the film around the idea of finding Dellaccio’s artistry in a journey that will take you from Dellaccio’s young years as a jazz musician to reinventing herself as a do-it-yourself (fashion) photographer in the 1950s. This is not the whole story, you will have to see the film to appreciate that of course, but these are critical clues to understanding Dellaccio’s unlikely next role as a rock ‘n’ roll photographer who was years ahead of her time.

 Telling Dellaccio’s story also meant designing the look and feel of the film (see my previous blog, “Designing Her Aim is True” to pay homage to the Sixties modern, but simple & slick, timeless design aesthetic. This brings me back to what has been such a strong undercurrent in my personal journey of making this film. In discovering Jini Dellaccio, I got to explore the intersection of style, design and fashion as well as a courageous innovator, who like the musicians she documented, was always pushing these boundaries. Sassoon cut hair the way he saw architecture in buildings, based on asymmetrical lines. In Her Aim is True, Dellaccio reveals how her photos flow like music.  With each masterful stroke of composition, Dellaccio quietly brought fine art to rock ‘n’ roll photography, with very little acknowledgement or accolades along the way. I hope you enjoy experiencing Dellaccio’s creativity when you see the film, and appreciate her influence when you hear from the musicians and rock photographers we bring together to help us tell this inspiring story.

If you want to know more about Jini’s influence, most recently rock photographer, Lance Mercer commented on this in reference to the photography exhibit he curated for Nordstrom: Seattle Music Project