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Odds are, if you were a music fan in the 70s, you had one of James Fortunes’ photographs on a poster on your wall. His large posters (42” x 58”) featuring collages of his photographs featured artists such as Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney & Wings, Jethro Tull, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, The Who and the Rolling Stones.
Already a nationally published photographer in college, James approached record companies to see if he could gain access to their artists for inclusion in the Pierce College newspaper in Los Angeles. To his surprise, Elektra Records immediately invited him to a local recording studio to photograph The Doors who were in the middle of putting together their “Strange Days” album.
After college, James joined the Navy as a combat photographer with Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group and spent six months in Viet Nam. After his stint with the Armed Forces, James was appointed the official photographer for NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers). This gave him unprecedented access to top recording artists of the day both in concert and in candid moments from 1974 through the end of the decade.
Many of his shots are iconic such as Robert Plant with a dove on one hand (a bottle of booze and a cigarette in the other). His photos have been featured on many albums including Led Zeppelins “How The West Was Won” and “Mothership,” Iggy Pop’s “California Bleeding” and Ray Manzarek’s “The Whole Thing Started with Rock & Roll” as well as books such as “Hammer of the Gods, The Led Zeppelin Saga,” and “The Doors” written by the Doors and Ben Fong-Torres. Several of his photos are included in the permanent collection of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.A versatile photographer, James is comfortable in the photo studio, on the movie or television set, at a concert, or on location with any format camera, whether film or digital.