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Well-known Rock and Roll photographer visits HPU

    By Joanna Georgiev. April 4, 2014 - 2:24 pm


HPU welcomes photographer Bob Gruen, best known for capturing the world of rock in photos, who will be visiting HPU Monday, April 7at 5:15 p.m. in UB212 (1164 Bishop Street).

Students have the opportunity to see the sneak peak premiere of the landmark documentary by filmmaker Don Letts, who explores the life and work of Gruen followed by a Q&A with Gruen following the film.

Gruen has worked with major artists such as John Lennon, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elton John among others. His photos have been seen around the world on T-shirts, posters, and magazines.

Be sure to mark you calendars and in the meantime check out a mini interview we had with Gruen this week!


You’ve been doing this for over forty years, what has been the highlight of your career?

Gruen: It’s hard for me to list all the highlights of my long career because I’ve had so many. Certainly getting to know Tina Turner, the New York Dolls, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Joe Strummer & the Clash, Debbie Harry and Green Day are all highlights.

How have you seen the industry change both in the music and photography business?

Gruen: There are many changes in the music business, starting with corporations taking over most of the business in the early ’80’s as the income from music related merchandise started to grow. And the advent of digital technology has revolutionized the photography business.


Today, just about every American has access to a camera or smart phone, do you think this is hurting or helping the business of photography?  

Gruen: That everyone can and do take photos all the time with one click and can send them around the would with another has changed the business of photography dramatically. There is much less demand for professional quality photos. There is still work available for professionals, but much less than in the past.

Could you imagine yourself shooting anything other than rock bands and artists?

Gruen: I got into rock photography by living with a band after high school, but I have taken on many other jobs, from fashion to model portfolios to advertising . . .   but I’m most well known for my music photos.

Who is your favorite band of the past and present?

Gruen: I don’t make lists of favorites, but in the past I was a big fan of the Who until I met the New York Dolls, then the Clash and more recently Green Day and most recently I met and really like the Strypes.


What advice would you give to students interested in photography?

Gruen: I tell students to take a lot of photos . . . if you take a lot of photos you’re bound to get some good ones and if you just show the good ones, people will think you’re good. Editing is the key. A pet peeve of mine is when people post 200 photos of an event when then should have just posted two or three.

Make sure to mark the time of in your calendar and experience a real legend up close!

Bob Gruen will be visiting HPU Monday, April 7at 5:15 p.m. in UB212 (1164 Bishop Street).

Photos are courtesy of Bob Gruen.