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Sticks n' Skins


By Mariah Fleming

How many photographers receive the tributes of music icons, from current rock and roll heroes all the way back to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr? Annie Leibowitz leaps to mind, of course. And in the music industry, so does the name Lissa Wales. In the world of rock and roll stars the name Lissa Wales is legendary.

Exaggeration? Nope. Just Google her to find out! You'd all know about Lissa Wales too if the Arizona photographer's vibrant life hadn't been cut short in October 2005 by leukemia. But Wales would not want to dwell on that. Unadulterated joy was Wale's driving wheel and it shows in her work. Wales photographed virtually every famous-to-mega star drummer you can think of in the last couple of decades.

Lissa Wales

In the years since Wale's left us for a loftier rock and roll universe, countless people from all over the world have written us to ask "what happened to Lissa Wale's rock and roll photos?" Well, first, in 2007, under the guiding hand of Lissa's sister, Mary Wales-Long, Lissa's website was updated. It featured a "Lissa Wales Tribute Calendar" of fantastic drummer pictures. You can click on images and read Wale's own first hand, entertaining and endearing descriptions of these photo shoots.

Then, last year, Wales-Long told us about a forthcoming book that would include some of Lissa's photography. She has exciting news of the project. Spearheaded by photographer Jules Follett, the book "Sticks 'n Skins" has finally arrived! "After Jules Follett's two years of traveling around the globe, chasing drummers for photos, memories and releases, my copy arrived hot off the press" she reports. "I opened it to find a beautiful color photo and commentary about Lissa on the book jacket. It was very moving."

"Turning page by page I found an entire chapter dedicated to Lissa, with incredible personal thoughts from many of her drummer friends. My husband and I both began crying. The book is so much more than we could ever have imagined." Wales-Long says. "This is the finest memory imaginable. Lissa would have loved it. Thank you, Jules, from the bottom of my heart."

For fans and collectors alike, Lissa Wale's portfolio is the Mother Lode. Wale's prominent inclusion in the project is a testament to the love and admiration the music world continues to have for her. We're lucky to have these musical fingerprints from the world of rock and roll. Lissa Wale's immense collection offers timeless, rare, up close and personal drummer shots. Every photograph Wales took is a fitting tribute to her tremendous joy about her work. Wale's photos mirror her exuberant life and illustrate that her joy was contagious.

The photography of Lissa Wales is pure emotion in motion.