Chuck Pulin

Chuck Pulin

Chuck Pulin was born in New York City in 1941. He began his career in journalism at NBC News as a copy writer. His love of music, and live performance -- jazz, blues, and folk, and especially rock and roll -- led Chuck into clubs, theaters, and halls. He began photographing shows and then selling his photographs to such publications as the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Circus, and Creem among others.

He soon established a name for himself among concert promoters such as Bill Graham, Ron Delsner, John Sher, Allan Pepper, and Howard Stein. They began inviting him to the concerts and events they presented in the New York area. When Bill Graham opened the Fillmore East in 1970, he had a choice location reserved for Chuck to shoot any show he chose, and gave him backstage access as well.

Among the artists Chuck photographed were Elvis Presley, John Lennon , Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, the Who, George Harrison, Muddy Waters, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, the Ramones, Allen Ginsberg, the New York Dolls, Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Kiss, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elton John, Eric Clapton, BB King, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.

New York City in the late 60's and early 70's was a rock ‘n roll mecca, with venues like the Fillmore East, the Academy of Music, the Capitol Theater, Max's Kansas City, Steve Paul's Scene, Ondine's, the Peppermint Lounge, the Mudd Club, CBGB's, Studio 54 attracting a non-stop flow of musical stars and star-filled audiences. When rock musicians visited New York, it was practically guaranteed that Chuck Pulin would be photographing them. Chuck's work appeared in countless publications, record albums and CD covers for artists such as Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Simon and Garfunkel, the New Riders and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He became the unofficial house photographer of the Bottom Line nightclub at its opening in 1974 and covered every important show at the venue.

Patti Smith summed up Chuck’s omnipresence on the city’s music scene: “Chuck Pulin was New York’s house photographer.”

In the mid-70's, Chuck met reggae giant, Bob Marley and the two became friends; as a result , Chuck traveled to Jamaica where he photographed Marley and reggae star Peter Tosh.

In 1980, Chuck joined Billboard magazine as staff photographer, and covered concerts, backstage and front-of stage, and hundreds of private industry functions and parties.

In the early 80's, Chuck met guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the two forged a friendship that lasted until Vaughan's untimely death in 1990. Chuck became Stevie's personal photographer. His photos of Stevie include jam sessions, recording sessions, and backstage moments with Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Jeff Beck and Greg Allman, and have appeared on CD covers, DVD jackets, television shows, and in books and documentaries.

In addition to Billboard, Chuck's photographs have appeared in Rolling Stone, Time, New York Magazine, Life, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Newsweek, The New York Times, and hundreds of publications worldwide. Chuck also worked for major record companies including Columbia, RCA, Atlantic, Warner Brothers, Arista, as well as for BMI and ASCAP.

Chuck died in 2010. He is remembered with respect, fondness and enthusiasm by many of his subjects.

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