VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – He started out by sneaking camera gear into a Ramones concert in 1981. Six years later, Julian David Stone had put together an incredible photo archive of some of the biggest stars of the 1980s. Now, he is sharing his story in the new book, No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer.
What made him an outlaw photographer? Stone says smuggling equipment into venues may have had something to do with it!
“So, you know, this is the 1980s, so I had these big, sort of, you know, silly 80s tube socks on, so I hid my equipment down there,” he explains. It didn’t take long until Stone went into full Inspector Gadget mode. “I got this Navy peacoat that hung down almost to my ankles and modified so that I could hide the equipment down around the hems.”
Stone admits the book came together purely by chance. “A couple of years ago, Prince and David Bowie passed away, and I posted pictures on Facebook and I started getting inundated with questions from people like, ‘Why do you have these pictures, what’s the story behind it?'”
Those same people suggested he may want to collect all his pictures, and the stories behind them, in a coffee table book. “Some of the people knew me back then and they sort of reminded me of some of the stories I had told them at the time,” he recalls. “I really realized that there was something there.”
The result is a mammoth tome with pictures of more than 40 of music’s biggest names. “I had this archive of 10,000 images of the biggest stars of the 1980s that I had just been carrying around for 30 years, not really thinking about it. It was just sort of a really fun chapter of my past.”
How old were you when you started out?
“Oh God, I started when I was 17, 18 years old. I was just a kid. Like a lot of teenagers, I dreamed of being a rock star. That lasted about five seconds after I actually picked up a guitar and realized I had no musical talent. But I loved photography and so I thought, ‘Oh! I’ll combine these two great passions together’ and I figured, I’ll just start photographing concerts. I went down to see The Ramones at a local club. I walked up to the entrance with this camera bag over my shoulder and a guard just laughed at me and pointed up at a sign that said ‘No Cameras Allowed’ and sent me away. I was going to dump the equipment in my car and go back and enjoy the show and I just suddenly thought, ‘You know, there’s gotta be a way around this.’ So, I snuck a couple of items into the show, photographed The Ramones and that began this six, seven year journey where I was just obsessed and wanted to photgraph anything I could.”
Who were your favourite acts to photograph?
“I shot Prince at the height of his career. This was the ‘Purple Rain’ phase, where he had the Number One album, he had the Number One movie, and this was sort of the closest to Beatlemania that I ever experienced. I had just started college at this point and I can remember vividly walking through my dorm and hearing that album coming out of every room. He was just everywhere. When he came to town, I was like, ‘I’m going to photograph Prince’ and I got some of my favourite pictures from this show and there’s a bunch of them in the book and includes my all-time favourite photo that I ever took, which, again, is in the book and it’s a picture of Prince in just the classic rock star pose with the guitar and he’s got his hand up, ready to make a big strum on the guitar. But since it’s Prince, of course, there’s a big pink flowing boa that’s part of the image.”
Do you have a least favourite artist?
“There was a band in the `80s called Chequered Past and it was made up of members of other bands that had either left or been discarded. There were guys from Blondie, there was a Sex Pistol, a couple of other people and I went to see them and it was certainly the band that I felt seemed the least happy to be playing rock n’ roll. There weren’t a lot of people in the crowd and at the end of it they sort of encouraged everybody in the club to get up on the stage with them as they played their final number, so you had them performing their final number where they were basically performing in front of nobody because most of the crowd had ended up on the stage with them. It was that small of a turnout. So that one definitely stands out.”
No Cameras Allowed is published by For The Duration Press.