The first thing you think of when you look at many of the images in Deborah Feingold‘s new book, “Music,” is how young the musicians are.
Madonna in 1982, looking matter-of-factly into the camera as she sucks a lollipop.
Elvis Costello, in the same year, scrunching up his face as if he’s just eaten something incredibly sour.
Sinead O’Connor in 1990, resting her boot-clad feet on a hotel-room table but seeming to search for something as she looks upward.
Even B.B. King, not a young man in 1985, but still looking somewhat impish as he hugs his guitar.
“The beginning is what, for me, is most interesting,” says Feingold, who has worked for Rolling Stone, Musician, the Village Voice and many other publications over the course of her 40-year career.
Part of the reason the photos are so interesting, she says in a phone interview, is “because I was very young and new, and so were a lot of the artists I was working with. But also, because it was 30, 40 years ago, the whole concept of photography wasn’t what it is today. It was a freer, looser, non-restrictive creative atmosphere.”
Most of the photos in the book come from the early- to mid-’80s, an era when things were indeed freer and looser than they are now, yet not as free and loose as they had been in the ’60s and ’70s.
“You weren’t going on the road with the band,” says Feingold. “You were going into a conference room that you needed to make not look like a conference room, for your 10-minute interview and photo session. So the challenges were different, and it was becoming a little more of a business.”
“Music” (Damiani Books, 108 pp., $45), which will be released Sept. 30, is her first portrait anthology, and features an introductory essay by music journalist Anthony DeCurtis.
Other musicians photographed in the book include Prince, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bono, Billy Joel, R.E.M., James Brown, the Beastie Boys, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.
“I wanted to do a book a while ago, but at that point, I wanted it to encompass all the sort of iconic images that I had,” Feingold says. “I didn’t think about limiting it to just music.
“And one day on a shoot, the man that I work with when I’m shooing, we were talking about it, and he said, ‘I think you should just do music.’ He’s a guy in his 30s who shoots rap music. He’s a big music fan and he photographs it; that’s his life passion, now. And he said, you’ve got images of people that were at their beginning, and it’s really unique, and I really think you should just do music.
“It took a split second, and I went, ‘You’re absolutely right.’ ”
“I tell stories about the images,” says Feingold, “and I always show outtakes, and talk about the Madonna photo, the Chet Baker (a moody black and white shot from 1977), and then I do a Q&A, so it’s a lot of fun.”