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Janette Beckman
Courtesy of Janette Beckman
Janette Beckman

Fridays, July 5 - Aug. 9, 2024 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream the series now with KPBS Passport!

—Viewers Get a Backstage Pass into the Electrifying World of Music Photography—

Revel in the eye-opening, thrilling world of live music photography through the experiences of the men and women who have documented popular music in images, from the earliest darkrooms to the fast-evolving digital landscapes of the present day. Featuring irreverent interviews with some of the most famous music photographers, musicians, gallerists, music journalists and social commentators, ICON: MUSIC THROUGH THE LENS is an eye-opening thrill ride that captures what it was like on both sides of the camera when the most recognizable images in history were taken.


Via studio portraits, record sleeves, coffee table books, along with magazine photo shoots, fine art, and images taken at live shows and exhibitions, viewers will learn about the origins of these enduring, iconic images and the future of music photography.


Photographers interviewed include industry legends: Jill Furmanovsky, Mick Rock, Danny Clinch, Michael Zagaris, Bruce Talamon, Kevin Westenberg, Kevin Cummins, Bob Gruen, Rachael Wright, Deborah Feingold, Rankin, Laura Levine, Baron Wolman, Neal Preston, Janette Beckman, Roger Sargent, Pooneh Ghana, Christie Goodwin, Albert Watson and Lynn Goldsmith.

Sharing eye-opening insights from a musician’s viewpoint are Josh Homme (Queens of The Stone Age), Ziggy Marley, Lars Ulrich, (Metallica), Brett Anderson (Suede), Alice Cooper, Craig David, Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Zara Larsson, Stefflon Don, Sharleen Spiteri (Texas), Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers), Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys), Julian Lennon and Dizzee Rascal.




Episode 1: “On Camera” Friday, July 5 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport - Get to know some of music photography's greatest names and what factors define an iconic image.

Episode 2: "On The Road” Friday, July 12 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport - Hear the firsthand tales of the photographers who travelled with bands to capture the magic of live music, painting a vivid picture of life on the tour bus and in the photo pit.

Episode 2 Preview | On the Road

Episode 3: “On The Record” Friday, July 19 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport - Explore the evolution of album cover photography, from its roots in jazz and early rock 'n' roll, with anecdotes by art directors, musicians and the photographers responsible for some of the world's most iconic album covers.

Using Vaseline As a Filter: Clip: Episode 3

Episode 4: “On The Cover” Friday, July 26 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport - Discover the uncensored and never-heard-before stories behind the amazing photographs that graced the front pages of music magazines and played a pivotal role in elevating music photography to iconic status.

Lauryn Hill: Clip: Episode 4

Episode 5: “On The Wall“ Friday, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport - Trace the journey of music photography from a niche pastime to a highly collectable art form with stories from gallerists, art experts and photographers whose work hang in some of the world's most revered institutions.

Episode 5 Preview | On the Wall

Episode 6: “On The Net” Friday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport - Tune into how music photography fits into the contemporary, popular culture landscape alongside the rise and influence of social media.

Episode 6 Preview | On the Net

Watch On Your Schedule: This series is now available on demand with KPBS Passport, a benefit for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Credits: Produced and directed by Dick Carruthers, whose celebrated career includes award-winning work with many of the artists featured in the series such as Oasis, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, along with Gered Mankowitz and Andy Saunders serving as executive producers. The executive in charge for PBS is Zara Frankel.