INTERVIEW: Baron Wolman – Rolling Stone’s first Chief Photographer – ”Mixing business with pleasure from ’65”

Baron Wolman at Woodstock, 1969
Guilty pleasures: beauty, natural women, magic, love, bliss, garden
”In every aspect of my life, my secret code lies in the pursuit of beauty
and harmony, and of practicing generosity and compassion.”
Photography is no different to music. We see an image, even if it’s of something we’ve never seen before, emotions stir, large or small, and we rate that image based on  emotions.
Every single image we look at conjures an emotion in us, and it’s my belief that the best photographers in the world are those who are most accurate at evoking the emotions they want in other people. Some may not know they are doing it consciously. Photographers capture a scene and they know it’s a good one because they themselves will feel that ‘click’ that we often talk about when things come together. Those who post-process will play with an image until, again, those emotions click into place.
Navigating down the dark alleys of my mind, talking to Baron Wolman and looking for adventure generally evoked in me a sense of safe-fantasy, if that makes sense. I simply can’t explain it.

Well Diamonds Baron Wolman, great soul and amazing man, is an American photographer best known for his work in the late 1960s for the music magazine Rolling Stone, becoming the magazine’s first editor of photography from 1967 to 1970.  Because of Wolman’s virtually unlimited access to his subjects, his photographs of Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stone, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison (Uh…) and other musicians were the graphic centerpieces of Rolling Stone’s


Interview with Baron Wolman

Let’s share some secrets about your passion: photography. The most
important moment in the history of your passion.
The moment I first picked up a camera and looked through the viewfinder, I
somehow understood that with photography I could create my own unique life.
The first time you were allowed to go on stage as a photographer for a
band was surely a significant moment. Can you describe the emotion?
Ecstasy. A super high.  A natural high.  A supernatural high.  Being on
stage with the Jimi Hendrix Experience was magical; I was “in the zone” and
felt as if I was a member of the band.  The photos from that session were
unexpectedly successful, one after another.
What is our favorite feeling to photograph? Why?
My favorite feeling is not really an “feeling.”  Rather it is the moment
when a subject gives me his or her own personal emotion, direct from his or
her soul, something for me and my camera alone.  That is my favorite
Describe your first relation of your childhood with music.
At home there was always music on the radio.  But strangely it was only
classical music chosen by my mother.  It was not until I was in high school
that I began to listen to the music of the moment.
What is the most important thing in your life?
 Beauty and harmony guide my life.  In the Garden of Eden there were beauty
and harmony; it was the natural order.  We humans polluted the Garden.  In a
world now filled with darkness, sadness, struggle, and tragedy, we must
diligently seek beauty and harmony to keep the light of life burning

Were there any photographers who inspired you?

Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Cartier-Bresson and the many Magnum
Describe in few words that feeling when you have a woman
in front of your camera.
The joy of photographing a lovely woman cannot be described in words.  It is
infinite mental and spiritual bliss because, again, it touches upon the dual
notions of beauty and harmony which mean so much to me.  In my photographs
of women I search for visual answers to the enduring questions of life.
You cross art photography, commercial and editorial. Is there one you
enjoy most?
 Commercial pays the bills.  Editorial involves me with life.  Art is the
expression of my creative soul.  Each is enjoyable in its own way, each is
fulfilling, each reminds me why I became a photographer.
Your favorite accessory, other than your camera?
My subject: itself, himself, herself, themselves.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing
musicians and artists?
For artists in the moment of performance, the challenge is to capture one
instant that reflects in a single photograph both the great joy of
performing and the great talent of the musician.  For artist portraits the
challenge is to create a trusting situation where the artist will reveal
his/her true self to me and my camera.
We have this opportunity to talk with you thanks to one of our favorite artists ever, Arianna Antinori. What do you think about her and the love for Janis Joplin.
Arianna has the passion of Janis.  Arianna has the soul of Janis.  Arianna
has the spirit of Janis.  Arianna has the talent of Janis.  Arianna is the
reincarnation of Janis Joplin.  Arianna is an Italian treasure.
The most important moment every day of your life?
When I wake up in the morning and discover that I am still alive.
Your most beautiful picture?
The one I will take of Mira. 
If you could live anywhere on this beautiful planet where would you
build your dream?
I find beauty everywhere.  When I find beauty, it is there I would like to
live, if only for a few days, weeks, months, years.  I have already built my
dream and I live it every day: look at my photos!
Is there anyone you would love to photograph?
Not “anybody.”  Everybody!  As you can tell, I am fascinated by women.  I
love them, I love their minds, I love their bodies, I love their smells, and
I love to photograph them.
Your dream for the next years?
For the next years – and I don’t have many years remaining – my dream is to
travel and spend time with the people I love.  And, of course, to continue
to take pictures.
Are you a rider on the storm?
When he recorded this song, Jim Morrison had already decided that he was
going to go to Paris, where he would die.  I have no plans to go to Paris.
I have no plans to die.  But, of course, I will do both: go to Paris again,
and die, as we all must.
Do you have any tips for future photographers and creatives out

Stay with your passion.  Remember it is not about money, it is about art, it is about self-expression, it is about finding the essential “you.”  Life is short.  As Joseph Campbell advised, “Follow your bliss.”

Who is the most interesting woman that you worked with?
Every woman is beautiful in her own way.  Some have exterior beauty.  Some
have interior beauty.  Some are blessed with both.  My love of all women is
Follow your secrets, follow your dreams…


  1. This Is AMAZING !Beautiful souls!Every place Is a good place 4 make dreams come true, every moment is a right time … every soul is a soul dreams!Dreaming a dream … your souls are an inspiration 4 me !!Thanks!

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