Rock Music Photographer Joe Stevens

Rock music photographer Joe Stevens, who now lives a quiet life in Portsmouth, once chronicled the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll capturing on film legends such as David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Johnny Cash.



Rock photographer Joe Stevens has seen it all.

They say that if you remember the 1960s, you weren't really there, but what if you were taking photos — lots of them? Stevens has plenty of evidence of where he was and with whom as he chronicled rock 'n' roll morphing into glam, punk and new wave and beyond.

Considered one of the greatest rock photographers, he lives a quiet life now in Portsmouth. He still enjoys taking fans on a psychic journey to visit the places and people who have graced his lens — folks like David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Johnny Rotten, Paul McCartney and Muhammad Ali — in the distinctively quirky images he shot for publications as hip as Cream and as mainstream as Life.

We asked fellow Seacoast photographer David Mendelsohn to try to capture Stevens on film, and it turned out they already knew and admired one another.

Photographer Joe Stevens
Photo by David Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn prepared a composite of some of his favorite Stevens photos to project on an irregular wall in his home studio, then invited Stevens into that background. "It's an interesting challenge to make someone in my profession comfortable in front of the camera. I wanted to find the real him," says Mendelsohn. It took 45 minutes to get the shot, but he says he could tell when he had it: "It's all in the eyes."

David Mendelsohn wanted to share his credit with Emily Brackett of Live Free Photography for her introduction and access to Steven's archives and to friends Katie Benway and Karrah Kwasnick, for their assistance in capturing this shot.

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