Photographer Rob Shanahan immortalizes rock ’n’ roll passion

“I’ve always equated music and photography, and blended the two,” says veteran rock shutterbug Rob Shanahan, who took up drums at 11 and photography at 12. Both loves are on display in a new book of Shanahan’s photography, Volume 1, featuring a foreword by Ringo Starr—an indication of the lensman’s particular affinity for percussionists (like Stone Sour’s Ray Mayorga, captured above in 2009). “We drummers have a unique bond,” he notes. The following pages showcase a few selections from Volume 1 (available at,
which samples 15 years of Shanahan’s vibrant images.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA, 2007 - “During the Grammy rehearsals in Burbank each of the performers ran through their numbers. Christina sang James Brown’s ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.’ Hearing her belt that out, no PA, from five feet away was bone-chilling.”


Eddie Van Halen, 2004 - The band was in Boise, and I positioned myself to shoot Alex’s drum solo. Eddie then walked to center stage to salute his brother—on his knees, fist in the air. I thought, ‘If I captured that, that’ll be one iconic photo.’

John Dolmayan of System of a Down, 2003 - “I had a cool idea to shoot John in an L.A. pool for a Paiste cymbal campaign. There were issues, like floating drums. Finally we were ready. Something was missing. I called a friend, asked her to get her bikini. She’s in the background.”

Tommy Lee, 2005 - “That was shot in Omaha, during soundcheck before a Mötley Crüe show. The pyro guy had been practicing shooting the flames. I worked it out with him to fire them off during soundcheck with Tommy doing his crazy Tommy scream.”

Elton John, 2005 - “I was on assignment for Yamaha to shoot Elton for the Red Piano tour at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I had lots of shots from a variety of angles, but this was one I especially liked—and believe Yamaha used it for their promotion.”

Sarah McLachlan, 2008 - “We were shooting in the penthouse of this old, beautiful art deco building in L.A. She was wearing a long dress, and we were drinking champagne. She laughed, put her hand up and leaned back in that chair. I just clicked the button.”

Mick Fleetwood, 2009 - “Fleetwood Mac was rehearsing at a huge soundstage at Sony Studios in Culver City before their tour. I thought it would be cool to capture Mick spread out over his drums. His reach is probably as wide as his height—this shot just came alive.”

Sting, 2007 - “The Police were rehearsing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver for the launch of their world tour. It was nice because it was just the band, the crew and me. I especially like this shot because you can see Stewart Copeland in the corner.”

comment closed

Copyright © 2012 M Music & Musicians Magazine ·