History of Music Photography_02

In the late 1970’s, the music business exploded. Musicians became ROCK STARS, and magazines started covering them more closely. These included Rolling Stone, Circus, Hit Parader Teen Beat, and the best of them –CREEM. These magazines had an insatiable need for photographs, and more and more photographers leaped into the fray to supply them with their images. Among them were west coasters Neil Zlozower and Jeffrey Mayer, east coasters Ebet Roberts, Lynn Goldsmith Roberta Bayley and Laura Levine and Midwesterners Bob Alford and Ross Marino and too many more to mention. (And, oh yes, I include myself in the last group). Over in England, Ross Halfin, Michael Putland, Robert Ellis and Jill Furmanovsky, among many others took to the task overseas. When new bands would come along, one or more of us would befriend them and “grow” with them as they became well known. We built up a trust that could only be broken if we sold a “Bad” photograph to a publication. So we didn’t do that!! Publicists were our friends- they knew that if they gave us access, whether it was a photo pass to shoot the whole show or a posed photo shoot, our pictures would make the band look good, and make a two page story into potentially a four page story. It was our job to make the artist look good. It would also help these many magazines put together special photo issues, which would help publicize the band even more.
As the 70’s became the 80’s many more magazines started covering popular music, from People and US Weekly, to Newsweek and Time. The rock magazines, especially Circus, started demanding a certain kind of photography (Circus publisher Gerry Rothberg stated that all photos in his magazine had to be taken with a flash, so that skin tones would be normal.) This opened the door for amateurs who knew very little about photography to soon have the same access as professionals. At times the photo editors of the magazine would obtain a photo pass for a friend, load a roll of film into a camera, set all the settings and tape them into place, and send the friend to a concert with a small lesson in focusing and advancing the film. When the roll of film was finished, the “Photographer” would sit back and enjoy the show. When he brought the camera back to the office, the editor would unload the film, have it processed, and usually end up with three or four usable shots. The added bonus for him was that the “Photographer” didn’t know anything about copyright or ownership. So the magazine would have three or four photos that they could use many times free of charge. (Circus also had the policy in place to “Buy” one or two rolls from a photographer for $100, which, after processing, would yield many usable photos that could also be used over and over).
Soon, every photo pit became a rugby scrum, especially on the coasts, as more and more people became photographers. Something had to give and the rules had to change.
Next chapter: Restrictions and rules began to appear!!

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