Bob Gruen
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Cameras, Chaos And Cognac: How Bob Gruen Photographed The Spirit Of Rock ‘N’ Roll

December 8, 202012:24 PM ET
Heard on Fresh Air

“Photographer Bob Gruen spent decades capturing the lives and performances of rock stars of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, including John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner — and many more.

Gruen put in many hours backstage, in studios and on the road, sometimes doing drugs and drinking until dawn with his subjects.

“I carried a little flask of cognac in my camera case. It was part of my equipment. That’s the way it was in the ’70s,” he says. “I don’t know how I survived, because I crave peace and quiet — but I actually thrive in chaos.”

Gruen approached his subjects collaboratively, often soliciting their opinion about a photograph instead of trying to catch them off guard. He describes his work as an effort to capture the feeling and passion of music — not just the facts.

“For me, rock ‘n’ roll is all about freedom. It’s about the freedom to express your feelings very loudly in public,” he says. “I try to capture that moment of freedom, that moment when everybody’s yelling ‘Yay!’ and nobody’s thinking about paying the rent.”

-from Bob Gruen’s interview with David Davies
Transcript excerpt

For full transcript and to listen to broadcast, link to NPR Here

Bob Gruen interview

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