Shortly after photographing Bruce at Wrigley Field a few months ago, I embarked on the massive task of scanning my complete Bruce Springsteen archives. It took me about two weeks to make about 500 scans from transparencies and negatives, and I have spent the last few months slowly cleaning them up in Photoshop. I am reminded of why Bruce has a special place in my heart. His publicist, Marilyn Laverty, is an old friend, and has always gotten me access to his shows. Her usual method was to get me a photo pass and a ticket in the first three rows to shoot the rest of the show from.
So, in July of 1984, she invited me up to St. Paul, Minn. To shoot the kickoff of the Born in the USA tour, asking me to come up a day early. So I hopped on a plane and flew to Minneapolis, cabbed it to the hotel and checked in. I called her and she had me meet her in the lobby with my equipment. We got in her car and drove to the St. Paul Civic Center, walked into an empty arena, in which Bruce and the band were on stage performing a song called Dancing in the Dark, with a lot of video cameras moving about. She turned to me and said “Bruce is shooting his first video- directed by Brian De Palma- go nuts- start shooting!!” So I spent the next 4 hours with unprecedented access to the band, including the scenes where he pulled a young model out of the audience to dance on stage with him (Turned out the model hired for the shoot was Courtney Cox, in her first acting roll- way before Friends)
I stayed up there for the next three nights, shooting the first three shows of the tour. While talking to Marilyn before the third night, it suddenly dawned on me that the band was coming to the Chicago area for the next five shows, and I asked her if I could keep this access going. She agreed, and I flew home the next morning. The following day, I got up, got in my car and headed to the Alpine Valley Music Theater in southern Wisconsin for Bruce’s first of two shows there. The access was tremendous, and I got some of the best photos of Bruce and the band that I have ever gotten. I shot those two shows, and three more in Chicago and went home satisfied.
Almost exactly one year later, in the beginning of August 1985, I received a call from a photo editor at Newsweek. She told me that Marilyn had suggested that they look at my pictures for a major feature they were doing on Bruce. I sent them a lot of stuff (back in the day, you actually had to send original transparencies- imagine that) I sent them a pile of slide pages about 2 inches thick- considering that it was going to be a big feature, maybe they would use a few of them! That Friday, I got a call from the photo office. The words coming out of the phone were words I will never forget- “WE are going to put Bruce Springsteen on the cover next week. We have narrowed it down to three photos, and 2 are yours. If we use one of yours, how do you want the credit to read?” HOLY CRAP!!! I was left twisting in the wind till Sunday night. I got a call from a friend of mine who edited a long gone rock magazine that was printed in the same plant as Newsweek. He was at the plant doing a press check and picked up a copy of Newsweek off of a pile, curious about the cover photo. He immediately called me and said “Do you know you have the cover of Newsweek this week?”
That is the moment that I feel I was legitimized as a photojournalist.
The reason I am writing this is that I just finished reading the last print edition of Newsweek. Starting next week, my subscription will switch to the iPad version. I am left pondering where journalism is going. The final issue has some great writing and memories from some of the many great writers who worked there over the years. I wonder if anyone will ever get that call telling them they are going to have a photo on the cover of Newsweek?
Lally Weymouth was asked what she thought of the switch, and she said it was inevitable. It is important to note that Newsweek was forced to speed up publishing the Bill Clinton- Monica Lewinski issue because Matt Drudge broke the story first on the Drudge Report.
As the year come to an end, I remain cautiously optimistic. After all, it is still words and pictures on a white background