The L.A. Times profiles rock photographer Neil Preston, a guy who shot just about everyone in the ’70s and ’80s, including the always-subtle Jimmy Page (pictured). The story touches on the current state of music photography, which has shifted from “let’s hang on the bus for a few days in Stockholm” intimacy to “Courtney just collapsed at the Eckerd!” lunacy:
[Preston's] distress over the current celebrity overkill is both personal and professional. “It turned a corner somewhere and I’m not sure when that was,” he says. “These days, if I don’t personally know a publicist or artist, rarely is it not set up as an adversarial relationship going in”…
Danny Goldberg, who in the ’70s was Led Zeppelin’s publicist and arranged the relationship with Preston, agrees that the mutual respect was key to the access. “Neal would show Jimmy Page the slides, and Jimmy would eliminate the ones he hated — it had to do with crow’s-feet and belly,” says Goldberg.
That’s a typo on the Times‘ part: As all Zepheads know, Crow’s Feet and Belly were actually the names of two barely legal groupies who frequented the Riot House back in the mid-’70s.
As for the rest of the story, while empathize with Preston’s disappointed with modern-day rock photography, we actually think it’s has less to do with paparazzi, and more to do with the musicians themselves: Thanks to personal blogs, television mini-documentaries, and a glut of media outlets willing to run “confessional” interviews, there’s very little that’s not known about the behind-the-scenes life these days. You can guarantee that if Page was caught downing that bottle nowadays, Bonzo would hack his Sidekick and send it in to ohnotheydidnt.
All-access pass to history [LA Times]