Photographer Of Album Cover Art Remembered
According to the Washington Post, photographer Joel Brodsky, famous for album cover shots of Jim Morrison, Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, and numerous other musicians during the 60s and 70s, died of a heart attack on March 1st at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 67.
Gallery owner, Chris Murray, who gave Brodsky his first exhibition at Washingston’s Govinda Gallery in 2001, stated, “What Annie Leibovitz and David LaChapelle ended up doing, Joel was doing 30 years ago. Joel’s work was a precursor to the illustrated concept album, and he’s definitely a precursor to hip-hop.”
Brodsky was also official house photographer for Stax Records, a Memphis soul and rhythm and blues label. There, he photographed Booker T & the MG’s and Albert King’s 1971 album Lovejoy, which featured King’s aging tour bus.
Joel Brodsky was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 7, 1939, and did not discover his talent for photography until he took a course in it at Syracuse University, where he graduated in 1960. He got a job in a camera store and took pictures on the side, opening his own studio in 1964.
According to reports, Brodsky did not have a photographic specialty until a friend who managed a folk group asked him to take pictures for an album. Brodsky loved music and had an enormous record collection, but was not necessarily inspired by the artists he photographed. Sid Holt, his son-in-law and a former managing editor of Rolling Stone claimed, “I never actually heard him listen to the music he shot. He didn’t particularly like the Doors.”
After nearly a decade of working, Brodsky left the rock-and-roll industry for more commercial work. He retired in 2001.
Brodsky is survived by his wife of 43 years, Valerie, and three daughters, Jill Holt, Brooke Brodsky, and Alexandra Alland, his sister, and three grandchildren.