Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer

Bob Gruen with Dave Thompson. Abrams, $32.50 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4213-2
Gruen chronicles his adventures as one of the preeminent photographers of rock and roll in his spectacular memoir. Gruen launched his career in 1970s Downtown Manhattan (renting a studio in Tribeca for $75 a month), then worked steadily capturing images of music stars such as David Bowie, John Lennon, Tina Turner, and the Rolling Stones. His tales of far-ranging assignments, ecstatic concerts, and wild times with famous folk make for a roller-coaster narrative. The pages are studded with choice details and plenty of examples of his subjects’ hedonistic lifestyles, though Gruen is rather diplomatic in his mentions of alcohol dependency, arrests for selling drugs, and “groupies in and out of the rooms all night.” Gruen’s (mostly) open, matter-of-fact telling brings readers in beside him, from rooftops to club back rooms. Some of the most moving recollections involve John Lennon and Yoko Ono, whose partnership made a deep and lasting impression upon the photographer. Gruen’s plainspoken formula for his success: he went out every night with his camera and “trusted [his] intuition,” and though he found that “living an unscheduled, unpredictable life is scary,” embracing it is how he got “in the right place at the right time.” Brimming with singular period photographs and incredible personalities, Gruen’s story is a must-read for any rock and roll fan. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/13/2020
Release date: 10/20/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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