Let’s just admit it right here and now: we’ve all, at some point in our lives, dreamt of being rock stars. If only for a day, just to see what it feels like. The power to move the hearts and minds, bodies and souls of millions of people through the touch of your fingers on an instrument, the movement of your breath into a microphone: it is a phenomenon that has enthralled every generation since the dawn of radio and recording. From Sinatra to Elvis, from Jim Morrison to Bono, the modern era has elevated the status of the world’s most charismatic musical performers to the level of demi-gods.
The musicians represented in this gallery are all rock stars in their own right. Some of them play to sold-out crowds; some of them used to; some of them will someday soon. It has been my good fortune to know them and to represent through still images their mojo, their attitude, their style, and their soul.
A good music photographer needs to have a synesthetic understanding of their subject’s work. They need to know what the music looks like, what kinds of imaginative spaces it conjures. They need to be able to connect with the muse inside the musician, and paint a picture of it for the rest of the world. It is an act of co-creation, a meeting of minds. It helps to be a musician yourself. But more importantly, it takes an ability to get in sync with the artist’s vibe, and an instinct for the right gesture, the telling look. It could be an unguarded moment. It could be a self-conscious expression of pure bluster. Whatever it is, you have to have the ability to create the space for it to emerge, the wits to recognize it when it comes, and the artistry to finesse it into a picture that speaks for the artist. It’s an endlessly enjoyable and rewarding endeavor.