Photography: Riding the Coattails of Musicians


Danny Cohen Stephanie BirdI may have mentioned before that I am, among many things, a music geek. When I need to know the facts about a song or artist, I go to AllMusic.com and search it out. My husband and his friends actually refer to this when they are looking up a particular artist, say Steely Dan or Sloan, as “AllSteelyDan.com” and “AllSloan.com.” So I was pretty excited to discover, randomly, that I am referenced on AllMusic.com. Yes, there is an “AllStephanieBird.com!”

OK, it’s kind of on the small side, and it’s only photo credits. For one artist. Still. I’m throwing myself a party!

It’s fun to find yourself and your work on the internet. I have taken many photographs of artists coming through town for photojournalistic reasons as well as just being lucky enough to meet some renowned artists through friends playing with them. The most recent includes artists who formerly played with Frank Zappa: Robert Martin, Ray White, and Ike Willis. They came to Chico to play with a local band, For the Love of Frank, which is dedicated to playing songs of the late great Zappa.

Tom Petty 2005 Stephanie BirdMy first brush with “fame” though involved getting a spot in the photography pit to shoot Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (even if they didn’t use my favorite shots). As a photographer at the Chico News and Review, I got the opportunity to shoot many acts from Redding to the Bay Area. It was worth more than what I was paid, because it still gives me a rush of adrenaline each time I think about it.

Danny Cohen Anti- Records Stephanie BirdStill, I got more print with Danny Cohen than any other artist, and that is the most exposure (no pun) I’ve had with any artist. Not only did I get some shots on the internet, and not only am I the photographer of his press photos on his homepage at Anti- Records, but my work was also included in his album art. And one of the most difficult shots I took of him, which was because my then-chintzy camera was misbehaving and I had to fool into making the right exposure, ended up on the pages of Germany’s Rolling Stone and a French magazine, then called Les Inrockuptibles, gave the photo a full-page of its own, full-bleed and all. One became the basis for a watercolor Danny created–see the Google results for a sample of the pictures I took of him during that time.

Stephanie Bird and Danny Cohen
I am looking forward to April, which is rumored to be when there will another show of For the Love of Frank plus special guests. Hopefully, I’ll be able to beef up my AllStephanieBird.com résumé!

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