The Photographer with the soul of Rock'n Roll
David Gahr was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1922. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after serving in Europe during World War II. But rather than embark on a promising career as a scholar, he chose a life in music and art instead, working at a Sam Goody record store to support his family. And that’s where Gahr became a photographer, shooting iconic musicians who came in as customers.
some of the most iconic album covers of the postwar era, spanning from Miles Davis to Bruce Springsteen's. He is nevertheless best known for documenting Bob Dylan's
epochal electric set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
photos of folk and blues icons including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins,
Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Phil Ochs, Mary Travers, Johnny Cash, and Sonny
Terry were compiled in 1968 in the book The Face of Folk Music, a collaboration
with the writer Robert Shelton. By that time the photographer was in the midst
of a decade-long affiliation with Time, snapping for the magazine portraits of
fine artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Salvador Dalí, and Georgia
In 1970 Gahr shot Janis Joplin for the cover of Rolling Stone, and
also snapped the cover of her classic posthumous LP Pearl. Other subjects
include John Lennon, Van Morrison, Laura Nyro, and Joni Mitchell. Gahr died at
his New York City home on May 25, 2008.