Interview: Through The Eyes Of Rock Photographer Neal Preston

Neal Preston is a name that is synonymous with some of music’s greatest moments. For over four decades, he has captured images of the most celebrated figures in rock and roll. He has toured with Led Zeppelin, The Who, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and countless others. His work spans album covers, magazines, newspapers, books, television shows, feature films, Broadway show programs, and billboards. Seen in exhibits everywhere from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., over the years, Preston’s photographs have become just as iconic as his subjects.

The first time Neal Preston was on stage shooting, was at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway, in New York. His dad was the original stage manager for musical theater masterpieces such as “The King and I,” “Camelot,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “My Fair Lady.” Preston used to join him for Saturday matinees, which were then followed by meals at the famed, Horn & Hardart Automat, in Times Square.

It was one performance, in particular, of “Fiddler on the Roof,” when the understudy stepped in for the lead, that would be the game-changer for the legendary photographer. “I knew when all the laughs were going to come,” Preston recalled during a recent interview with AXS. “So, when he told a joke and made the audience laugh, I snuck one picture. That picture is in my book.” The photo is of actor Harry Goz. Goz loved it, and subsequently gave Preston a set of photography books. That moment marked the beginning of a series of events, which would lead him to become one of the greatest rock photographers in existence.  

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