Memorable portraits in Deborah Feingold’s book, ‘Music’

A 1982 photo of Madonna by Deborah Feingold is featured in Feingold's new book, "Music."


A 1982 photo of Madonna by Deborah Feingold is featured in Feingold’s new book, “Music.”

The first thing you may think of when you look at many of the images in Deborah Feingold‘s new book, “Music,” is how young the musicians are.

Madonna (see top photo) is shown in 1982, looking matter of factly into the camera as she sucks a lollipop.

We see Elvis Costello (see below), in the same year, scrunching up his face as if he’s just eaten something incredibly sour.

Sinead O’Connor, in 1990, rests her boot-clad feet on a hotel-room table. But she seems to search for something as she looks upward.

Even B.B. King, who was not a young man in 1985, still looks somewhat impish as he hugs his guitar, in Feingold’s photo.

Elvis Costello in a 1982 Deborah Feingold photo.


Elvis Costello in a 1982 Deborah Feingold photo.

“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 said 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 1960s and 1970s.

“You weren’t going on the road with the band,” said 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.’ ”

"Music," by Deborah Feingold.

The cover of “Music,” by Deborah Feingold.

Deborah Feingold will sign copies of “Music”at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at Word Bookstore, 123 Newark Ave., Jersey City, and at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield St., Montclair.

“I tell stories about the images,” said 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.”


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