New PBS Series Spotlights Legendary Rock Photographers


Coming to PBS tonight (July 16th) is the first part of a six-week series, titled Icon: Music Through The Lens, which sheds new light on the world of rock photography. Best Classic Bands reported the series will run each Friday through August 13th. The shows airs at 9 p.m. ET on PBS, and the PBS Video app. Check your local listings for stations and times.

Among the famed photographers featured are: Jill Furmanovsky, Mick Rock, Danny Clinch, Terry O’Neill, Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen, Rachael Wright, Deborah Feingold, Laura Levine, Baron Wolman, Neal Preston, and Lynn Goldsmith.

According to the show's official announcement:

Featuring irreverent interviews with some of the most famous music photographers, musicians, gallerists, music journalists and social commentators, Icon: Music Through The Lens captures what it was like on both sides of the camera when the most recognizable images in history were taken.

Via studio portraits, record sleeves, coffee table books, along with magazine photo shoots, fine art, and images taken at live shows and exhibitions, viewers will learn about the origins of these enduring, iconic images and the future of music photography.

Henry Diltz told us that photographers seem to work and live in the shadows: ["Photographers are not like opera singers, and circus acrobats, and pop stars — we don't get applause at the end (laughs) of what we do. Sometimes we don't get any recognition for decades — sometimes never at all. So, I don't get a lot of accolades (laughs) and awards, really. I've hardly. . . I think I got one. I mean, I get kind words from people, but there aren't a lot of real awards out there."] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . awards out there)

There's no other photographer that's captured John Lennon's life in New York City in more detail than his close friend and unofficial lensman Bob Gruen. We asked Gruen what Lennon's state of mind was really like during his early New York years: ["Well, we were in the studio a lot recording the Elephant's Memory album and then recording Approximately Infinite Universe for Yoko. So, yeah, he wasn't really in the public eye that much. I mean it's funny to think what kinda mood he was in, I mean, I remember him being kinda positive — at the same time, on the other hand, he was kinda depressed about the U.S. trying to deport him, (manager) Allen Klein (being) in a lawsuit with him where all their money was tied up, the record he put out, the Some Time In New York City was not getting very good reviews."] SOUNDCUE (:29 OC: . . . good reviews)

Lou Reed's Transformer album was released on November 8th, 1972 and was produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson. The album featured such instant classic Reed songs as "Walk On The Wild Side," "Satellite Of Love," and "Perfect Day." We asked photographer Mick Rock about Lou Reed's initial reaction to Rock's brilliant photo that served as the album's cover art: ["Lou loved it. I barely knew Lou when I took it. There were certain things going on with that shot. It actually fell out of focus when I first printed it, but I loved it — I showed that Lou. I also showed him the sharp shot. But we both knew, as little as I knew in those days, but we both knew that the one that fell out of focus was the shot."] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC: . . . was the shot)

As far back as 2000, when Bruce Springsteen's former girlfriend, photographer Lynn Goldsmith published her Springsteen: All Access photo book showcasing the '78 tour, fans have been chomping at the bit for anything chronicling the late '70s E Street Band era. Goldsmith told us that because of that she purposely made the book accessible to all "The Boss's" fans: ["I'm going to focus on the Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour. And I'm going to take people from the very beginning to the end of it, because Bruce's fans, I think it's more like a religion for them. And so I wanted them to have something that was small and intimate — not to show off my photographs at their best — but printed on like, really kind of funky straight-forward, real thick paper."] SOUNDCUE (:24 OC: . . . real thick paper)

We caught up with the great Neal Preston, best known for his classic shots of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, Queen, and the Who, and asked him about how he stores his original negs and prints: ["The analogue stuff, it's in my office. It's 33, four-drawer, legal (laughs) size file cabinets that you can't blow smoke into, they're so packed. That's where the analogue — meaning original negatives, original transparencies, proof sheets, etc., etc. They have to live somewhere, while they're still mine."] SOUNDCUE (:17 OC:. . . they're still mine)

For more info, log on to:

Neal Preston On His Archive :

Lynn Goldsmith On 1978 Bruce Springsteen Tour :

Mick Rock On Lou Reed’s ‘Transformer’ LP Cover :

Bob Gruen On John Lennon In Late-1972/Early-1973 :

Henry Diltz On Public Recognition :