Thanks to My Friend Dan for the vid.
Thanks to My Friend Dan for the vid.
Originally published by Seacoast Media Group as:
Hot shots: Joe Stevens reflects on his time photographing David Bowie
by Chris Hislop, January 20, 2013
There are a mountain of monumental moments in Joe Stevens’ career as a rock photojournalist. If you know him, you’ve heard one of his larger than life stories. If you don’t know him, but hang around the Seacoast arts community, you’ve likely heard a community member recite one or more of his magnificent (true) tales. One subject he’s very keen on is David Bowie. Before you can even finish asking who his favorite subject was to shoot back in his heyday, Stevens quickly blurts out Bowie’s name.
“There are people that earn their living taking pictures of fashion shows, which are sound-tracked and lit like a rock ‘n’ roll gig,” said Stevens over a cup of coffee recently. “Your focus as a photographer is head to toe. Get the outfit, get the shoes, get the great big hat…; get everything. What the hell is the difference between that and David Bowie dressed in drag playing the Marquee Club? There is no difference. He had it all. He was larger than life. And the music was great (snickers).”
Stevens’ work can be seen in Paolo Hewitt’s recent hardcover, “Album By Album,” (Carlton Books) which takes the reader on a detailed artistic journey of Bowie’s career, from his debut album up until 2003′s “Reality” release (he has a new record, “The New Day” — his 28th album, and first studio release in a decade — due out in March of this year).
“I first shot Bowie at the Rainbow Theatre (in London) in the early ’70s,” says Stevens. “He was with the Spiders from Mars. We (Joe, and journalist Charles Shaar Murray) were still in the underground press at that time, with few connections. We sat in the balcony. I shot a bunch of photos that Charlie hid in his sock (the film) due to a fear of security confiscating the roll. We thought we’d get the photos published in some underground rag, but they wound up getting picked up by the New Musical Express (NME), which we then took over (literally) minutes later (laughs).
Here are some pics of Bowie by Joe. Click on the thumbnails for bigger images.
Joe headed to Dumbo in Brooklyn for a book signing at The Powerhouse Arena. This is what we chronicled:
Freeze frame above is John Holmstrom editor of The Best of Punk Magazine.
Book review/article originally published in The Portsmouth Herald on September 19, 2010.
by Chris Hislop
“I got it!” exclaimed an ex-girlfriend of ‘big-shot’ rock photographer Joe Stevens back in the early part of the 1970s. “Let’s go to an airline and buy plane tickets…; Let’s go to London!”
Stevens, who currently resides in Portsmouth, claims this was at the very beginning of creditors sending out unsolicited credit cards to people — which is how they got Americans hooked on plastic — was poor at the time and this girlfriend of his was feeding him, etc.
“I said, ‘sure let’s do that,’” Stevens said, breaking into laughter. “So I went to my editor. I was working with the East Village Underground in New York at the time …; I said, I’ll be back in two weeks. I came back 10 years later.”
This one-way flight (Stevens would break up with his girlfriend shortly after their arrival in London. She promptly returned to New York), would ultimately lead to the beginning of his relationship with famed rock critic Nick Kent.
Stevens’ description of Kent is almost as colorful as the man himself. “Flitting his hair like Robert Plant (making the movement with his hand against his own hair). His eyes would flutter. Amazing, imaginative threads — the things he wore …; the scarves. Gifts from people, thefts from people, thrift shop stuff …; all topped with a tad of eyeliner. Always a little bit of eyeliner.
(He was) rail thin, and over 6 feet tall. He had a dope problem, which many thought would destroy him and his talents. We all thought it. I mean we knew a lot of junkies, a lot of dopers, a lot of alcoholics…; we didn’t worry about them too much, but we worried a lot about Mr. Kent.”
Read the whole story at SeacoastOnline.com
Click on the thumbnails for larger images. All photos by Joe Stevens.
This is my participation in the Annenberg Space for Photography-”Who Shot Rock & Roll? The slideshow is now up on their site. Check out the Annenberg Space for Photography to view the work. 30 photographers, 30 pictures each.
All power to the people.
by Anne Bryant
originally published in the Portsmouth Herald (1/31/2008).
Let me tell you what I know about Joe Stevens. He’s got the candor and the lost consonants of a New Yorker. And, well, he is one. He saunters a bit. He’s direct, refreshingly open and probably carries a huge heart in that chest of his. He’s been able, through many years now, to lull performers into comfort that shines through the camera. His prints stick with you long after you look at them because of their earnestness. I’ve heard that his place is a veritable — a beautiful haven for years and years worth of negatives, still brought to life with skillful development techniques. There were no digital cameras when most of these gems were taken.
I mean, the man tells stories about Joey Ramone over Coca Cola. He’ll wax lyrical about the national music scene as though it were the playground of his youth— and I reckon it was. And by divine providence he found his way to wee Portsmouth and calls it home.
He told me once during a conversation at the Press Room that he was beginning the arduous process of converting his photos into digital media so his body of work could be preserved. He also mentioned that he’s launched a Web site— www.joestevens.com— where you can send messages and requests to him.
Photographs of his work can be seen at Ceres Street Bakery right now, and as always are modestly priced and simply displayed. The quality inherent in his work comes from some sort of delicate magic or incredible luck, deftly maneuvering his way around back stage areas, bars, clubs and concerts to get these. Hurry over there to get a peek at Johnny Cash— and go ahead and have a scone.