Chris Cornell ‘Commanded a Stage’ Says Veteran Photographer

2017-05-22

Photo by Ken Settle / Story by Anne Erickson

Chris Cornell: Veteran Detroit photographer discusses final show

Ken Settle has photographed Soundgarden since the band’s budding Sub Pop days in the ’80s. Over the decades, the Detroit-based photographer has watched Chris Cornell grow from a young, passionate and promising musician to one of the most prolific rock voices of the era.

When Settle headed to The Fox Theatre in Detroit on May 17 to photograph Soundgarden, he had no idea it would be Cornell’s final show. Cornell passed away shortly after the gig. He was 52.

“While it is a very sad honor to have photographed the very last time that Chris Cornell was to ever sing onstage,” Settle told Audio Ink Radio, “it is also a sober reminder of the fragility of life and the precious little time we have on earth.”

Settle has photographed thousands of bands and musicians over his career. Robert Plant, Paul McCartney, Judas Priest, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard– he’s captured them all.

He says photographing Cornell was always a special experience, whether it was the rocker’s early shows or latest run.

“The thing that always stood out to me about photographing Chris Cornell was his intensity,” Settle said. “Not only the intensity of his incredible voice–that’s a given–but the intensity in the way that he commanded a stage.”

Photo credit: Chris Cornell at The Fox Theatre in Detroit on May 17, by Ken Settle.

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