From an interview with former Rolling Stone senior editor Ben Fong-Torres: "What is it about photographers that makes them almost invariably shy? Robert Altman is so self-effacing about his work, that he's called on me to draw him out I'm happy to do so. I worked with Robert at Rolling Stone in 1970. Robert was a member of one of the publication's first groups of brilliant photographers, coming in between Baron Wolman and Annie Leibovitz-two other shy types. (Maybe that's why they're behind the camera.)" With cover shots of Tina Turner, David Crosby, and Keith Richards for Rolling Stone and various other outlets, he captured, with a clear and sympathetic eye, the people, the events and the emotions of the Sixties. As Jann Wenner, founder and publisher of Rolling Stone, put it, "Robert Altman's photography was instrumental in portraying the look and feeling and vitality of the Sixties." In the fall of 2001 an exhibit of Robert's work ran six-months and drew over 115,000 people. "I realized long ago," he once said, "that my raison d'être was to chronicle and publish photos depicting the life and times that the Sixties inspired. It was meant to be, and photography became my vocation, my calling . . ." Artist Peter Max in 1969- "I just spent an incredible hour with Robert Altman. His photographs just blew my mind. I think he captured today the way Steichen captured yesterday..." "In October 1969 The Stones were recording Let It Bleed and I got to relax and hang out with the band and capture a few unforgettable images from what soon became an acclaimed Stones album. But I have to tell you, there I was in the studio with the boys, trying to be uber cool. But inside, there was a 13-year-old jumping up and down yelping, "Hey, I'm hanging out with the ROLLING STONES!" I have always felt blessed . . . kissed on the forehead by God . . . and was given this talent to compose a photograph, to understand the timing of the taking of a photograph. Sometimes it's alchemy, pure magic. Sometimes it all just comes together.
Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles by Robert Altman
The Rolling Stones by Robert Altman