A Photographer Snuck a Camera Into Iconic Concerts in the 80s... and The Images are Fantastic

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(Photographer Julian Stone)


In April of 1983, an 18-year-old aspiring photographer named Julian David Stone was turned away at a Ramones concert because he had a camera bag with him. He went back to the parking lot, tossed his camera in the back seat of his car and debated on going home... but he didn't. He took his 35mm camera apart, putting the lens in one sock, the body in the other and rolls of film in his underwear. He went back to the same security guard who turned him away the first time, got in, and took his first series of concert photos. 

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His new book, No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer (releasing nationwide October 16, 2018) shows over 250 highlights culled from over 10,000 guerrilla rock n roll photos. It's a celebration of music and photography. 

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(The Ramones - No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer )

Over the years, Stone's smuggling technique evolved from stuffing his gear into his socks to taping it to his legs, to eventually making a custom jacket with hidden pockets that was designed to adequately conceal his camera, lens, and film, and survive a pat down. This was decades before everyone had a cameraphone in their pocket, and music venue polices had a strict no photography code. What he was doing wasn't easy. 

(Talking Heads - No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer )

The really fun part about this book is where the images were taken from. Unlike most photojournalists who had access to the artist and could shoot photos from the side of the stage, backstage, or wherever they wanted, Julian's photos were taken in the audience. This is what it was like to see these people in concert. This is what it was like to be a fan of live music in a brief window of time from 1981-1987. 

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(U2 - No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer)

If you think just getting in your camera meant you were in the clear and you could shoot all you want, you're dead wrong as Julian explains about the time he saw Joan Jett:

"I learned an important lesson, seeing Joan Jett: You're never really safe when you've smuggled in your equipment. Along with a photographer friend, I was in the middle of a packed crowd at a packed club, shooting away as Joan and her band ripped it up, when one of her roadies spotted me and my camera from the stage. I kept shooting, figuring there was nothing he could do because of the wall of people between us.

I was wrong.

In a flash, he leapt off the stage and charged right at me through the crowd. I quickly hid my equipment and steeled myself for the encounter, but, amazingly, the roadie rushed right past me and ripped the camera equipment from the hands of my unsuspecting friend.

I was considerably more careful with my shooting from then on. After the show we approached the backstage entrance in an attempt to get my friend's equipment back. They merely laughed at us and sent us on our way."

Regardless of how hard it was, the image below proves that it was worth the risk to smuggle his camera into the concert. 

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(Joan Jett - No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer)

Please head on over to Julian's website to see more incredible photos, hear more incredible stories or pick up the book yourself to place on your coffee table and dazzle friends when they visit. No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer is officially released on October 16, 2018. 

(Pre-order HERE!)