The Beastie Boys, Madonna and Joe Strummer were not only the musical rebels of their time, but dear friends of photographer Josh Cheuse, as well.
In shooting these and many other famous faces, “my approach was to be kind to people, be real and just be honest,” Cheuse says. “I got good stuff because these people became my friends and family, and I respected them and they kind of got that. It wasn’t a paparazzi thing.”
Music fans with a penchant for candid moments can catch a glimpse of Cheuse’s more than 30 years of shooting artists in his new Grooving Years exhibit, opening Friday at New York’s Morrison Hotel Gallery and running through Oct. 11. The show includes rarely displayed and never-before-seen photographs of famed performers ranging from Oasis and Run-DMC and MGMT.
Cheuse’s photographic style comes from “perseverance, talent and luck,” as gallery owner Peter Blachley puts it. The native New Yorker began his photography career when he was just 16 and used his high school’s pay phone so he could call The Clash at Electric Ladyland Studios and ask to photograph them.
Having grown up just a few blocks away from the Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Cheuse struck up a friendship with him as a teen and watched as the band transitioned from its rock origins into a hip-hop group — fondly remembering the time they crashed on the floor of Rick Rubin’s mom’s house the night before a video shoot and she made them tuna sandwiches.
He also connected with other artists and bands at nightclubs throughout the city such as the now-shuttered Danceteria, where he shot and watched Madonna as she performed some of her earliest material.
“She was just the girl we used to dance with and hang out and smoke with,” Cheuse says. “She was just kind of like a friend from the club, always very sweet. She said she was going to (become) the biggest female singer of all time — and she did.”
So what is it about musicians that has entranced him all these years? For one, “it’s fun to photograph people that look cool and dress well,” Cheuse says. “Part of how they look expresses where they’re coming from. It’s interesting, and it creates good shapes and shadows.”
Simply put, “it’s something worth capturing.”
Source : USAToday