Why Famed Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographer Went Electronic with Latest Book: EXCLUSIVE BEATLES PHOTOS
Ethan Russell has been photographing rock ‘n’ roll stars since the late 1960s. He’s captured some of the world’s most influential artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles and The Who, for which he earned his first Grammy nomination.
Russell is the only photographer who has shot the album covers for The Beatles, The Stones and The Who. He was at Altamont with The Stones in 1969 and directed the last video with John Lennon before his murder.
Not only is Russell a photographer, he is also a director and author. Today he joins The Daily Ticker’s Aaron Task to discuss his latest e-book, An American Story: It’s Your History. Help Write It, in which he shares roughly 250 of his most famous pictures — and some less famous photos too because they have never before been published. (Note: All photos contained in this segment have been provided to Yahoo! Finance exclusively to publish in conjunction with the release of his e-book.)
Take for example the photo above shot by Russell during The Beatles’ last photo session, which took place at John Lennon’s house in the backyard. He has graciously allowed us to exclusively bring it to you for the very first time ahead of Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday this coming Monday.
The photo was taken as the band was on the brink of breaking up and it shows. As Russell tells Aaron in the accompanying interview, he was a very hands off photographer back when he first got his start, which allowed him to capture artists really as they are and not in a “manufactured” sense.
In the new e-book, Russell takes readers from the West Coast of the United States all the way across the pond to the last concert played by The Beatles on a London roof top (pictured above). It is not only the pictures that make this book unique, but that fact that he’s released it in e-book form and not as a traditional coffee table book.
“At the time I was putting this together the publishing business was imploding,” Russell explains. “And as part of that implosion the last thing that people wanted was, even with Beatles material, was a high-cost production book that was going to be expensive to manufacture and expensive to inventory.”
Russell has embraced the e-book medium and is seeking to take advantage of all that the technology has to offer. His e-book, which is available on all e-book readers regardless of the manufacturer, links to a special dedicated blog that incorporates audio, video and the ability for readers to share connect and share their stories. As the title suggests, Russell wants readers to contribute to the history of music that is shared by us all.
“I cannot comprehensively explore our history alone of course,” he writes in the book. “The public events may be largely familiar, but the private ones are less visible and almost certainly more revealing about why the era matter so much to so many.”
With his new socially engaging book, Russell is at the forefront of the future of publishing.
“Total eBook net sales revenue for 2011 was $21.5 million, a gain of 332.6% over 2010; this represents 3.4 million eBook units sold in 2011, up 303.3%.” according to the Association of American Publishers. “As comparison, print formats (Hardcover, Paperback and Mass Market Paperback) increased 2.3% to $335.9 million in 2011.”
The Daily Ticker would like to thank Ethan for allowing us to publish these photos exclusively for the launch of this e-book.
Check out the accompanying interview to get a first hand account of what was happening behind and in front of the camera when Russell took some of these iconic and historic photos.
To put it simply, and to quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans,” he says.