Legendary rock photographer Robert Knight is widely renowned for his lengthy tenure of capturing a wide cross section of highly influential artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Slash. His ability to closely connect with and generate trust among the subjects he’s photographed has led to a deep, intimate documentation of significant pop cultural moments over the past half century.
Knight is celebrating his 50th Anniversary with the release of his amazing new book, Rock Gods: Fifty Years of Rock Photography, which is available now on Insight Editions.
Even if you aren’t a voracious reader, Knight’s incredibly beautiful photographs and personal stories from his time spent with some of rock’s most legendary artists at the beginning and peak of their careers is worth the price of admission.
We recently spoke with Knight about Rock Gods and some of the artists he’s worked with in this new interview.
What made you decide to write a book about your life and career?
The stars all aligned and the time was right. It was the 50th anniversary of the Jeff Beck tour and my time with Led Zeppelin. We preferred to do a smaller sized book that’s very affordable and aimed at younger people. I’ve even got younger artists I’ve worked with in the book towards the end.
What was it about the music of that generation that appealed to you and made you want to become a photographer?
Growing up as the son of a minister, I was forbidden from any of that music. Then one night at a very young age, I snuck out and saw The [Rolling] Stones when they had Brian Jones in the band, and it electrified me. Later, I found magazines with long-haired guys with weird clothes and guitars. I couldn’t figure out what it was all about, but I knew that it was music. I sent away to an English music company and got records by Hendrix, Cream, The Yardbirds and Pretty Things before they even came out in America. But once I saw the movie, Blowup and the lineup of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, that was it for me. I saw what Beck was doing and thought, this is someone I really want to work with.
I want to ask you about a few of the guitarists you’ve worked with and get your thoughts on them. Let’s start with Jimi Hendrix.
I first saw Hendrix back in 1968 at the Avalon Ballroom. I had heard his music before, but hearing it on your hi-fi was a lot different than when you were being pummeled by three Marshall stacks [laughs]. I remember my mouth dropped open and I was just mesmerized by what was going on. It was bigger than life. Then when I met him, he was this sweet, shy guy who was very humble. That’s what you came away with. He was this bombastic thing on stage and then the total opposite off of it.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Robert Knight by Clicking Here!