Anonymous and Unmasked

A new exhibition of photographs of show-business celebrities is paradoxically, and appropriately, titled Anonymous. The show, featuring dozens of photographs by French photographer Claude Gassian, is at the Govinda Gallery in Washington, D.C. through May 12.

A new exhibition of photographs of show-business celebrities is paradoxically, and appropriately, titled Anonymous. The show, featuring dozens of photographs by French photographer Claude Gassian, is at the Govinda Gallery in Washington, D.C. through May 12. Gassian may not be a household name, but he is a familiar fixture in the world of rock and roll, having shot dozens of album covers and portraits of artists including the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Patti Smith, Björk, Madonna, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, the Ramones, Prince, Iggy Pop, James Brown, and Tom Waits (in Gassian's picture shown here).

But Claude Gassian as a person remains mysterious, a prime example of the invisible photographer. He's known for getting his famous subjects to let their guards down in relaxed settings. Gassian is a musician-turned-lensman who has lived and worked in Paris for decades, but this is the first major exhibition of his photographs stateside. The Govinda Gallery, at 1227 34th Street, specializes in music photography and came to champion the work of Gassian following the photographer's involvement with the 2002 book about the Rolling Stones, 40x20 (Billboard Books). For more on the Anonymous show and the gallery, go to the Govinda Gallery website. —Jack Crager