Henry Diltz is a name you might not immediately recognize, but if you're a fan of rock music, you likely know his work. Diltz is among the most famous and successful of rock photographers, whose stunning portfolio includes iconic images of, among others, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Keith Richards, and Michael Jackson. His work is prominently featured in "Who Shot Rock and Roll?", an exhibition of music photography at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, which opened on June 23 and runs through October 7. We were excited to have Diltz in studio to talk about his career, the artists he's worked with, and the way Los Angeles has changed from the 60's to the present day.
The entire show can be heard by clicking on the module, and below is a breakdown of talking points:
- (2:38): Diltz explains how his background as a folk musician influenced his approach and style as a photographer, but also helped him meet so many of the people he shot. His first picture sold? A group shot of Buffalo Springfield, which he shot on a lark. 100 bucks in his hot little hand, Diltz had officially discovered his calling.
- (6:58): By mastering the art of "hanging out," Diltz was able to maintain a relaxed atmosphere and capture the unguarded personalities of these musicians.
- (10:00): Diltz shares the backstories for his the instantly recognizable covers for the Crosby, Still and Nash and Morrison Hotel albums. He also recounts memories of working with Jim Morrison, and how the singer acted on and and offstage.
- (18:45): More memories of working with the likes of Paul McCartney, Neil Young, the Monkees, Ron Wood, and Keith Richards (whose face made for incredible pictures).
- (27:30): As the official photographer for Woodstock, Diltz had no clue the festival would grow so huge.
- (31:44): Richard Pryor provided a change of pace from the musicians Diltz is most associated with shooting. The two collaborated to create the cover for Pryor's debut comedy album, and the comedian grew into a much more political, controversial artist than Diltz recognized at the time.
- (36:00): Diltz shot Michael Jackson as an 11 year-old for the cover of Rolling Stone.
- (39:20): Diltz's success has come without any formal training whatsoever, an element he believes played a deep role in discovering his style.
- (45:00): Download technology like iTunes has made accessing music easier, but created a casualty in the art form of album covers.