The Digital Journalist
'California Dreaming'
With Henry Diltz
August 2007

by Henry Diltz

I became a photographer while on tour across the country in a camper with a folk group in the mid-'60s. We were the Modern Folk Quartet, doing concerts at college campuses and clubs. We all bought secondhand cameras in Michigan and spent our plentiful spare time playing with our new toys, photographing ourselves, each other and everything we saw. Back home we had a slide show with our friends – luckily we were shooting slide film by random chance. The delightful surprise of seeing all these recent moments huge and glowing on the wall hooked me immediately. From that moment onwards I was a photographer. Every day I would photograph my friends, candid or posed, and practically everyone else I saw. I began looking for interesting views and subject matter to spring on my friends at the next slide show.

Eventually friends in the music business began to use their pictures I had taken, and more and more requests for photography came my way. I began doing album covers with an art director friend, Gary Burden, and together we did many album covers in the '60s and '70s, an art form that has all but disappeared these days. Some jobs required black-and-white images and I learned to go beyond just transparencies.

I have always relied on natural light for my pictures, documentary-style, as I never learned lighting techniques – or any technique for that matter – in art school. I did learn to use a spot meter (Minolta) to nail the best exposure. I have always used Nikon F or FM cameras and Kodak 64 or 200 Ektachrome slide film.

This collection of photos is drawn mostly from the '60s and '70s music stuff, as opposed to the body of miscellaneous slide show material. Both sides of my work are now represented by Corbis Pictures, and my music photos are represented and available at three Morrison Hotel photo galleries (SoHo N.Y.C., Los Angeles and La Jolla Calif.), which I co-own with partners Peter Blachley and Rich Horowitz. See

In recent years I have been seduced by the convenience of digital photography, and occasionally work with Canon cameras (20D, 30D and SureShot 630). Having never before used a self-setting, self-focus camera or a zoom lens, it is a big, new experience, and the delivery system to clients is fast and amazing. However, I always carry my Nikon FM loaded with 200 Ektachrome slide film in case I see something I need for the next slide show.

View the "California Dreaming" Gallery

© Henry Diltz

In the world of rock n' roll photographers, there are none as extraordinary as Henry Diltz. A founding member of the Modern Folk Quartet, Diltz is as much at home as a musician on tour, as he is a visual historian of the last four decades of popular music. The rapport he has developed with his musician friends enables him to capture the candid shots that convey a rare feeling of trust and intimacy with his subjects. For over 40 years, his work has graced hundreds of album covers and has been featured in books, magazines and newspapers. His unique artistic style has produced powerful photographic essays of Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival, The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimi Hendrix and scores of other legendary artists. Diltz continues his distinguished career, generating new and vibrant photographs that inspire the rock n' roll fan in each of us.

For more information on Henry Diltz Photography, visit his Web site:

Henry Diltz's new book, "California Dreaming," will be published this fall by Genesis Publications: