Bob Gruen

John Lennon, NYC 1974
Archival Pigment Print
ID Number: 0119

Bob Gruen is a renowned photographer who has been capturing the rock and roll music scene for over forty years. His impressive portfolio includes iconic images of music legends such as John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Madonna, and Bob Marley, amongst others.

In 1971, shortly after John Lennon moved to New York, Bob became John and Yoko’s personal photographer and friend. He captured their working life as well as private moments, including the creation of the iconic images of John Lennon wearing a New York City t-shirt and standing in front of the Statue of Liberty making the peace sign, two of the most popular of Lennon’s images.

During the 1970s, as the chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine, Bob specialized in candid, behind-the-scenes photo features. He toured extensively with emerging punk and new wave bands, including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith Group, and Blondie. Bob has also worked with major rock acts such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Kiss, and Alice Cooper.

Bob has an extensive body of work, including the documentation of the “Moscow Music Peace Festival” in Russia in 1989, and as the official photographer for the New Music Seminar held in New York City for many years. This seminal work reflects his profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists, providing the most illuminating and comprehensive histories of rock youth culture.

In addition to his photography work, Bob collaborated with Nadya Beck to release two DVDs featuring their early 1970s video footage of the New York Dolls. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including at FAAP University in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the Morrison Hotel Gallery on the Bowery in New York City.

Bob’s photos have also been acquired by prestigious institutions, including The National Portrait Gallery in London and the Experience Music Project in Seattle. In 2011, a feature-length film titled “Rock & Roll Exposed – the Photography of Bob Gruen,” directed by Don Letts, was released. The film included interviews with music legends such as Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, and Yoko Ono, amongst others.

Bob has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including MOJO Magazine’s prestigious Honours List Award for Classic Image in London and his induction into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. He also received the first-ever John Lennon Real Love Award for his charitable contributions at the 32nd Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert.

More recently, Bob has photographed Green Day’s tour of Europe, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, Iggy Pop, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Jesse Malin, Ryan Adams, Courtney Love, The Strypes, and other popular new acts. His work continues to inspire and influence generations of music lovers and photographers.