Photographer Danny Clinch captures the essence of music’s finest

Danny Clinch’s unforgettable images have graced countless publications and album covers from Johnny Cash and Gregg Allman to Willie Nelson, the Fray and Bruce Springsteen (above, on a New Jersey back road in 2007). Before establishing himself as a premier lensmen, Clinch studied under the legendary Annie Leibovitz and Mary Ellen Mark. “These photographs are my journal,” says Clinch. “Each has a story that’s as interesting as, hopefully, the photo itself.” You can see more of his work at and

JAY-Z, 1999 “I had been hired by MTV to document part of the Hard Knock Life tour. Jay-Z and some guys were playing pool at a bar in Manhattan’s SoHo district. They pulled out cigars and popped champagne, and were having a grand old time.”

KEITH RICHARDS, 2011 “The idea was to photograph Keith surrounded by records that he grew up with. I suggested he play along to some, the way that he probably did as a kid. At one point I thought, ‘This guy’s as photogenic as anyone I’ve ever worked with.’”

BOB DYLAN, 1999 “Dylan was intrigued by the history of L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel, where this shot was taken. Someone had brought in a bunch of foreign-language newspapers. Right after this shot, a light fizzled. Bob said, ‘Must be an omen. I think we’re done.’”

JOAN JETT, 2001 “Joan was backstage getting ready for a show, and listening to a song by one of the artists she was set to perform with at a benefit concert in New Jersey. She was already standing just like that when I asked if I could take that shot.”

WILLIE NELSON, 2005 “Willie’s tour bus is his home, more so than any artist I’ve photographed. I was doing a video for ‘You Don’t Know Me,’ and he wanted a break to fix his braids. I had my camera around my neck and caught a great personal moment.”

PATTI SMITH, 2000 “I was shooting Patti shopping in a New York City record store. She grabbed Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and said, ‘I have to buy it. I can’t stand to see it in a bin, not being played.’ She had six copies, and bought that one, too.”

BEN HARPER, 1999 “We were in a field in Claremont, California, where Ben grew up. He brought two Weissenborn guitars from his grandfather’s music store, which was like a museum. Not long after, I made Pleasure and Pain, my first documentary film about Ben.”

GREGG ALLMAN, 2010 “I had photographed the Allman Brothers quite a few times, and Gregg was in a great mood when we shot this in Savannah, Georgia. It was cold and raining, but he was game for anything. Standing among those big oak trees was magical.”


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