Today’s Guest: Robert Knight, rock ‘n’ roll photographer
Maybe you don’t already know the name of legendary rock ‘n’ roll photographer Robert Knight. But by the end of this half-hour, you won’t be able to forget him.
Knight shot the last photographs of guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan before his fateful plane crash.
He took one of the most iconic pictures of Jimi Hendrix.
Elton John was once his houseguest.
Slash threw a party to celebrate a show of his work.
One of the first concerts he shot was a teenagers slipping to the front of the stage at an early Led
Zeppelin show, his professionalism causing everyone—the band included — to believe he belonged there, when he didn’t.
Knight is the subject of Rock Prophecies, a new documentary film broadcast and released by PBS. It captures not just the man at work but also his devotion to many of his subjects as well as his personal trials, such as taking over the care of his Alzheimer’s disease-afflicted mother after the death of his father.
When Knight met a gifted young Texas guitarist named Tyler Dow Bryant, Knight sensed the spirit of the later Stevie Ray Vaughan in the teen’s skills and personality. Over the years—and sometimes, the objections of the boy’s father—Knight introduced Bryant to the music industry.
ROBERT KNIGHT podcast excerpt: “Forty years I worked with these guys, I never asked for anything. Like going to Jeff Beck. He doesn’t let people in the house and he doesn’t play on demand. Yet, when I called Jeff Beck and said, ‘They’re doing a documentary on my life,’ and he said, ‘Can I be in it?'”
Rock Prophecies features exclusive interviews with and performances by Jeff Beck, ZZ Top, Carlos Santana, Slash, Panic at the Disco, Sick Puppies, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, and Steve Vai. The film won Audience Awards at the AFI Dallas Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival and Maui Film Festival and went on sale in stores and online on September 14. It will also be broadcast on American public television later this fall.
If you love rock photography you should check out earlier Mr. Media interviews with Bob Gruen, Charles Gatewood and Tom Weschler at MrMedia.com.