Richard E. Aaron
Timing is Everything for a Rock Photographer
Photographer Q & A
Describe the moment or event that inspired your decision to become a photographer.
I was seven years old and there was a savings bank that opened down the block from my house. I opened a savings account with five dollars and was able to pick a gift. I picked a Brownie camera. That is how I started in photography. For the next few years I shot anything that looked interesting in a compositional way. I was very interested in shooting landscapes and buildings. During this time I studied Kodak manuals on filters, the darkroom and film exposure. Then I got into motion of the subject. I wanted to study cinematography to become a cameraman. I studied at photography school and film school after my high school graduation. In the third year of film school, I received a call to photograph my first show at Madison Square Garden. The rest is rock history.
What is your favorite photography tip to share with other photographers?
Always keep your eyes open, even when you're not carrying a camera. Carry a stack of business cards so clients can contact you. Plus, keep a pen and a Sharpie with you.
Favorite photography book?
Ansel Adams at 100 by John Szarkowski.
Most unusual item you keep in your camera bag?
In my camera bag, I always carried a color temperature meter so I knew the type of film to use. Even now, with white balance, I still carry that same meter. And I carry a folding seat. You never know when it will be useful.
What's the best advice you ever received from a fellow photographer?
To learn the business side of what I do. That's helped me tremendously with my work. I also have learned to collaborate with the bands and their management. I wanted them to know that I wasn't a "groupie," but a serious photographer who wanted them to get the right images.
Name a geographical place that you'd love to return to or go to for an assignment.
I would like to return to China. I was there in 1986 to document the first Western rock group—a five-member female band—as they toured and recorded an LP.
What photography project or assignment has been most meaningful for you and why?
Every assignment is meaningful to me. I always will learn something new.
What's in your camera bag right now?
Three Nikon® D3 bodies; the following lenses: 24-70, 80-200, 25-70, 24, 35, 50, 105, 135; and two Nikon® strobes.
To see more of Richard E. Aaron's work, please visit www.rockpix.com
"Every day I shoot, I use a Pro Roller x300 and Magnum 650 AW. I use them when I'm on tour or taking stills in my Manhattan studio as I get images for groups, their management or record labels. I know that these bags are built for lots of abuse when I travel, but when I'm working out of them, it's like having an assistant handling my gear. I am completely confident that the bags will protect my gear and that what I put in will come out in the same good shape."
Richard E. Aaron
Richard E. Aaron
Richard E. Aaron was honored by Modern Photography Magazine as one of the 10 Best Rock Photographers in the world. He has the distinction of shooting the first-ever photographic rock and roll cover for Time Magazine of Paul McCartney/Wings Over America. His work has appeared in more than 50,000 magazines, newspapers and books worldwide. And Aaron has more than 300 album covers to his credit, including Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive.