Events photography

Rock Hall Announces New R&B Photography Exhibit

“Hotter Than July: The Bruce W. Talamon R&B Photographs” will open on July 28.

CLEVELAND— Editor’s Note: The above video was previously broadcast on 3News on June 1, 2022.

A new exhibit by photographer Bruce W. Talamon at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will celebrate the culture-changing contributions made by black artists during the golden age of soul, funk and R&B.

“Hotter Than July: The Bruce W. Talamon R&B Photographs,” which opens July 28, is described by Rock Hall as “an ethnographic study, a visual representation of blackness, and a personal analysis of a culture” spanning the years 1972-1982.

The exhibit, titled in homage to Stevie Wonder’s 1980 album, shares behind-the-scenes photographs from the classic variety show “Soul Train” and concerts from crucial events like the 1972 Wattstax Music Festival and the P -Funk Earth Tour from 1977, the Rock Hall said in a press release.

“This is a project about Soul, R&B and Funk music seen through the lens of a young African American photographer early in his career,” Talamon said. “It’s a ten-year study, a visual record. Proof. I consider myself a visual documentarian, a guardian of black culture and the history of our music.”

Formerly resident photographer for cultural cornerstones like “Soul Train”, Motown Records and Time Magazine and freelancer for legendary Black Jet, Ebony and Black Stars magazines, Talamon’s work offers first-hand accounts of some of the seminal figures of the culture.

“Bruce Talamon’s work offers a meaningful counterpoint to the voyeurism of those who have marginalized black culture, as his photographs share an insider’s perspective,” said Rock Hall. “From the smoky clubs of the Crenshaw Strip in South Los Angeles to the biggest arenas in the world, Talamon was there, recording the frenzy and beauty of the music.”

To mark the new exhibit, the Rock Hall is hosting several days of programming, including a book signing and live interview with Talamon and a “fan day” with additional display items from Rock Hall inducted artists, the Isley Brothers, Sir Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire – all of whom play concerts in Cleveland on Saturday July 30.

Check out the full schedule of events featured at Rock Hall’s “Hotter in July Weekend” below:

Opening of the exhibition with gallery discussion and book signing with Bruce Talamon

Thursday July 28e 5:30 p.m.

To kick off the event-packed weekend, Rock Hall will host a special talk with Talamon, followed by a Soul signing. R&B. Funk. Photographs 1972-1982. Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Rock Hall store. This event is free with general admission. Get to the museum early or stay after the interview for our Rock Hall Live performances powered by PNC artists including Jo, Hip Hop Horray and Free Black! With JT’s Electric Blackout.

Join us for this mash up event of local rock performances and classic piano renditions of your favorite rock classics. This event is free and in partnership with Piano Cleveland and their PianoDays @ CLE series.

Hotter Than July Fan Day and MUNA concert

Saturday July 30e 10am

To celebrate the inductees’ concerts taking place across the city, Rock Hall will honor each of the three acts with special Fan Day activations. In addition to viewing their images in the new exhibit, fans can check out various Isley Brothers, Sir Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire artifacts on display, including a drum case used on tour by the Isley Brothers, a top hat worn on stage by Elton John during his spring 1971 tour and capes worn on stage by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire. Watch special “From the Vault” induction footage from each of their ceremonies, enjoy a photo op at the Long Live Rock art installation in the plaza, hear the artist’s songs played on rotation in throughout the museum and at the Rock Boxes along East 9th Street, and play along to their songs in our Garage Takeover. Afterward, commemorate your visit with inductee merchandise available for purchase in the store and catch a special Rock Hall Live performance by MUNA on the PNC stage. Show tickets are available for $21.00 at