You may not know the name, but you know the images. The only photographer to have shot album covers for The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones, Ethan Russell is one of the most important photographers in the history of rock ’n’ roll.
In 1968, Russell became the main photographer for The Rolling Stones, photographing Brian Jones’s final days with the band and the 1969 American Tour – called “history’s first mythic rock and roll tour” by rock critic Robert Christgau. Russell was one of only 16 people on the tour, including the band, and his shots have not only become classics, but captured images of the musical world in the midst of one of its most significant transitions. Photos from this tour illustrate the cover of the album recorded on tour, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert.
In 1969 Russell joined The Beatles in the recording studio and the photos he shot of the band in turmoil ended up on the cover and gatefold of Let It Be, The Beatles twelfth and final studio album – a cover that clearly shows the divisions happening within the band. Russell was one of only three photographers invited to the final official photo session for The Beatles in August of 1969.
In 1971, Russell did the cover photography for The Who’s Who’s Next that shows the band seemingly having just urinated on a protrusion from a slag heap in what Pete Townshend has called an ironic reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey and Kubrick’s turning down the opportunity to direct Tommy. In 2003, VH1 named the cover one of the greatest album covers of all time.
From the intimacies learned as a part of The Rolling Stones smallest entourage to the palpable divisions visible during the recording of The Beatles final album to pouring rainwater on concrete when members of The Who couldn’t urinate, the photographer always sees more than just what’s in the final shot though, and Russell has a lifetime of stories to share.
Followed by a talkback from the stage, a meet-and-greet in the lobby, and the opportunity to purchase limited-edition prints authenticated by Russell himself, this is a must see event for rock ’n’ roll and photography fans alike.