Bob Gruen has been photographing musicians since the mid sixties, but his heyday was the mid seventies when he photographed the punk and new wave explosion. His early seventies portraits of John Lennon in New York City are instantly recognisable classics that have been published in many books over the years.
“When I was growing up most of my friends were musicians and artists. Photography was my hobby and I have carried a camera ever since I was 13. I do not have preconceived ideas about what I am going to photograph. I like a natural setting and I let people move on their own without much instruction from me. Primarily, I like to show interesting people as they are and I like rock and roll.
In the early ‘70s, I became friendly with the roving pack of journalists who were defining New York’s developing musical society. Richard and Lisa Robinson, Lillian Roxon, Lenny Kaye, Danny Fields, and a cast of characters in the back room at Max’s Kansas City. The Robinsons edited a magazine called Rock Scene and I became their chief photographer. I really enjoy going out day and night looking for lively people and places. Rock Scene gave me a reason to phoptograph the whole “scene”, from front to back. I’ve made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun.”