Bob Gruen is one of the most well-known and respected photographers in rock and roll. From Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones; Elvis to Madonna; Bob Dylan to Bob Marley; John Lennon to Johnny Rotten, he has captured the music scene for over forty years in photographs that have gained worldwide recognition. Shortly after John Lennon moved to New York in 1971, Bob became John and Yoko’s personal photographer and friend, making photos of their working life as well as private moments. In 1974 he created 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.
Bob has worked with major rock acts such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Kiss & Alice Cooper. In 1989, he documented the epic trip to Russia of the “Moscow Music Peace Festival” featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. For many years Bob was the official photographer for the New York New Music Seminar, covering dozens of aspiring new bands in the course of a summer week.
As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the ‘70s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith and Blondie.
This seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists. His wealth of personal experiences and uncanny memory provide the most illuminating and comprehensive histories of rock youth culture. In June, 2004, in London, Bob was presented with MOJO Magazine’s prestigious Honours List Award for Classic Image.
FAAP Museu de Arte Brasileira in Sao Paulo, Brazil, held an extensive exhibition of the work of Bob Gruen in 2007. Titled "ROCKERS" the large multi-media installation featured more than 270 photos from Gruen's catalogue, arranged in nine areas with six different background soundtracks. The exhibition was on display May 15 - July 1. More than 40,000 visitors came to see it. A 221 page catalog book of the exhibition, titled "ROCKERS", has been published in Portuguese and English by Cosac & Naify Edições Ltda of Sao Paulo.
“All Dolled Up,” a DVD documentary made by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck of their early ‘70s video footage of the New York Dolls, was released in 2005.
Updates of his current work and events can be found on his website, bobgruen.com.
PHOTO EXHIBITS include:
Morrison Hotel Gallery, New York,NY< La Jolla, CA and Tokyo, Japan
A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans, LA
Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
The Govinda Gallery, Washington, DC
The Special Photographers Gallery, London, UK
Mitsukoshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
FAAP Museu de Arte Brasileira in Sao Paulo, Brazil
V!P Gallery, Rotterdam, Netherlands
His “Sid Vicious with Hot Dog” photo was acquired in 1999 by The National Portrait Gallery, London, for their permanent collection.
Bob receives numerous invitations to give LECTURE/SLIDE SHOWS, he has presented at:
The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC
New York University
Savannah College of Art and Design
Hawaii Pacific University
Tokyo Communications College
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Eastman Kodak New York headquarters
The City University of New York
International Society of Photographers
BOOKS by Bob Gruen:
Bob’s book, “John Lennon, the New York Years,” was published in the fall of 2005. Publisher’s Weekly review stated, “…. Gruen is THE world’s best rock and roll photographer …from the legendary shot of Lennon on a rooftop clad in the now iconic New York t-shirt to a heart-wrenching shot of a young Sean Lennon curled up in Yoko’s bed not long after John’s murder, both Lennon’s and Gruen’s geniuses are exhibited here.”
"New York Dolls Photographs by Bob Gruen" (Abrams Image, 2008)
“ROCKERS” (Cosac Naify, 2007)
“John Lennon – the New York Years” (Becker & Mayer!, 2005)
“The Clash, Photographs by Bob Gruen” (Music Sales, 2004)
“Chaos, the Sex Pistols” (Music Sales, 1991)
“Sometime in New York City” with Yoko Ono (Genesis, Signed, Numbered Edition, 1995)
“Crossfire Hurricane, 25 Years of the Rolling Stones” (Genesis, Signed, Numbered Edition, 1998)
"Bob's magical photos and brilliantly telling captions together present a kaleidoscope of John Lennon's New York Period. It is beautiful, clear, and truthful. I know. I was there." - Yoko Ono ('John Lennon: The New York Years' - Bob Gruen).