If you’re not familiar with the name Henry Diltz, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with his work. One of the most revered music photographers in music for over 50 years, he has captured a vast catalogue of iconic shots of some rock’s most enduring figures. The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Wings, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Monkees and Jimi Hendrix are just some of the artists he has worked with down the years. Headliner recently caught up with the master photographer at the NAMM show in Anaheim California to reflect on his career to date and the art of capturing the perfect shot…
Thanks very much for joining us Henry, how does it feel to be back at the NAMM Show?
It’s nice. It’s great to see everybody and catch up with some old friends.
How did you fall into the world of rock photography?
It was a lucky accident. I was a folk musician touring with a group called The Modern Folk Quartet, which was a four-part harmony group, and we spent several years travelling back and forth across the country. In doing that, I met so many other folk musicians. Then, when The Beatles played Ed Sullivan, all the folk groups went electric and became folk rock. So, you had the likes of Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds starting to pick up and they were all friends of mine from the folk days. Then I accidentally picked up a camera on tour one day for no real reason and I started photographing my friends, and later when I saw the pictures I thought, ‘I can do this, I should take more’. Really it was just entertaining my friends with slideshows in the evening, I had so much fun and I lived in Laurel Canyon, which is where all the musicians and actors in LA lived. I was just taking pictures of all my friends and they started using those pictures for publicity shots and things like that.