As Frank Stefanko puts it,“One thing about the Jersey kids like myself, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny Lyon, was that everybody helped each other as much as they could. We all had hope and dreams.”
His close college friendship with a young Patti Smith enabled Frank to make a series of very personal portraits of her between 1970 and 1980. This friendship with Patti led to the opportunity to first meet and photograph Bruce Springsteen in early 1978. Frank would go on to photograph Bruce in sessions for Darkness on The Edge of Town and The River, Nebraska, and Devils and Dust. Impressed with his work photographing Bruce, Steven Van Zandt asked Frank to photograph Southside Johnny for the cover of Southside’s1978 album Hearts of Stone. Frank’s photographs of Bruce Springsteen and of Patti Smith have been the subject of two lavish photobooks which are well worth tracking down.
Let these two quotations resonate with you while you look at Frank’s photographs. The first is by Bruce on Frank, the second by Frank on Bruce.
“ The pictures were raw. Frank had a way of stripping away any celebrity refuse you may have picked up along the way and finding you in you. He…created a fully realised world – a world that I felt was deeply connected to the characters I was writing about on Darkness. The pictures’ lack of grandeur, their directness, their toughness, were what I wanted for my music at that time.”
“ Just imagine being able to pick your favourite movie star or your favourite rock musician and work with that person. To have the opportunity to photograph the one artist that I most admired and to whom I related the most was nothing short of magic to me. The sincerest form of flattery was to know that Bruce…gave me the freedom to portray him the way I saw him, and he considered that work to be worthy”
We think Frank’s work is more than just worthy. Judge for yourself. All Frank’s limited edition photographs are available to purchase, in a range of sizes to suit every wall space.