Album photographer Joel Brodsky dies

Joel Brodsky, a rock photographer who captured a bare-chested Jim Morrison at the peak of his intensity, has died at age 67.

Joel Brodsky, a rock photographer who captured a bare-chested Jim Morrison at the peak of his intensity, has died at age 67.

Brodsky died March 1 in Stamford, Conn., of a heart attack, his daughter, Jill Holt, said Saturday. He had moved to Connecticut about five years ago from New York City.

Brodsky photographed hundreds of album covers for artists such as Joan Baez, Harry Chapin, Van Morrison, the Stooges, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Funkadelic, Kiss and Tom Waits.

Hisblack and whitephotograph of Morrison became an iconic image of the rock age after Morrison's death in 1971, gracing The Best of the Doors album.

It was one of many images of all the members of the Doors Brodsky shot in a 1966 photo session as the group was recordingits first album.

In a later interview quoted in the Independent, Brodsky recalled that Morrison had been drinking most of the day by the time he took the solo pictures of the singer.

"By that time, he was so drunk he was stumbling into the lights and we had to stop the session. He wasn't a wild drunk — actually he was kind of quiet — but his equilibrium wasn't too terrific. Still, he was great to photograph because he had a very interesting look."

Brodsky's shot of Morrison appeared in the Village Voice a week later.

"The story I've heard is that they got something like 10,000 requests for the picture," Brodsky said.

"You know, Morrison never really looked that way again … I think I got him at his peak."

The Doors' labels would go back to Brodsky's striking photographs again and again over the next 40 years for albums such as The Soft Parade (1969)and An American Prayer (1978), as well as many compilation albums.

That shoot established Brodsky's reputation, and he was subsequently in demand as an album photographer, in partfor his innovative ideas.

He photographed more than 400 album covers for rock, soul and blues performers.

Holt said her father's favourite image was his photograph of Booker T & the MGs walking across McLemore Avenue in Memphis, Tenn., in a scene reminiscent of the Beatles' Abbey Road cover.

His image of Isaac Hayes for Black Moses unfolded into a four-foot by three-foot cross-shaped poster and became the biggest album cover ever printed.

Brodsky's other notable images included the cover of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and the 1974 self-titled debut for the rock band Kiss.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1939, Brodsky developed an interest in photographyas a teenager. He graduated from Syracuse University and set up his own studio in New York in 1966.

His first album cover was of folk singer Eric Andersen for a recording by Vanguard, and he later photographed many of the artists signed to the label such as Country Joe & the Fish, Otis Spann, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy.

He later went on to a career in advertising, shooting for Avon, Revlon and Bloomingdale's. Brodsky retired in 2001.

He is survived by his wife Valerie,three daughters and three grandchildren.