Today, on the 23rd anniversary of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s passing, our friends at Rock Paper Photo are helping us to celebrate the life of the guitar legend by inviting you to discover a collection of photographs that capture his unique talent, raw power and unmistakable style. The photographers who shot these images, which are available for sale as limited edition prints, include Robert M. Knight, Tracy Ann Hart, Chuck Pulin and Deborah Feingold. For many, Stevie Ray Vaughan was more than just another musical legend to photograph; he held a special place in their hearts too.
Robert Knight got to know SRV well after shooting many dates on the 1989 tour with Jeff Beck, which produced several magazine covers. “A lot of time, he would come into Los Angeles, give me a call and we’d just hang out and talk,” recalls the photographer who is now based in Las Vegas. Painfully, Robert snapped the last shots of SRV shortly after the band played in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, on August 26, 1990. It took the photographer two years even to look at those shots of his close friend again. In fact, Stevie had asked Robert to return to Chicago with him to see Buddy Guy play but Robert didn’t like the idea of flying at night in helicopters. Robert’s well-known image of Stevie on stage in Minneapolis was made with a special film developing process Robert developed in the late 60's, producing the illusion of blackness around the musician. Another photograph of Stevie Ray appeared on the cover of the 2006 Sony Legacy release, The Real Deal: Greatest Hits Vol. 1.
Photo by Robert M. Knight
Houston-based photographer Tracy Anne Hart also was deeply affected by her years of shooting Stevie from 1983 until his death in 1990. Her prints of SRV have been exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and also appeared in Sony Legacy CDs, on PBS Television, and in many books, magazines and DVD’s. Tracy remembers photographing SRV at a live date outside the Houston Astrodome in 1989. She describes the sound as “sweeping through the crowd like a storm in the middle of a Texas summer.” She says, "To really understand the power of Stevie’s playing you have to look beyond the equipment and into his heart, and at his strong, beautiful hands.”
Photo by Tracy Anne Hart
Working for Musician magazine, Deborah Feingold photographed the Texas bluesman in NYC in the summer of ’83 just after the release of Texas Flood. After initially shooting SRV in her apartment, the duo took a walk to a barren stretch of landfill by the World Trade Center. “He took his guitar out and we started shooting,” she recalled in a recent magazine interview. Rejected by the magazine in favor of a more “mainstream” shot, this beautiful image remains a personal favorite of hers.
Photo by Deborah Feingold
Another New York-based photographer, Chuck Pulin, who was on staff at Billboard magazine for many years, met Stevie in the early 80’s and forged a close friendship. Chuck became Stevie’s personal photographer. His photos of Stevie included jam sessions, recording sessions, and backstage moments with music legends including Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Jeff Beck and Greg Allman. Chuck’s photos of Stevie have appeared on CD covers, DVD jackets, and in television shows, books and magazines.
Photo by Chuck Pulin
Check out the great works by these and other noted photographers in the special Rock Paper Photo collection of limited edition prints celebrating Stevie’s years as one of our greatest musicians. You also can view selected images in the Stevie Ray Vaughan photo gallery.
Please share your thoughts about Stevie in the comments below and on his official Facebook page.