"It was my dad who taught me how to develop film and make prints when I was about 12-years-old," photographer Deborah Feingold says of how she was first introduced to the medium. "I fell in love with the whole process but it started as a hobby and I didn't think of it as something you did as a career." But it became exactly that. Over the course of more than 30 years, Feingold has shot icons in music, film, politics and literature, capturing everyone from Mick Jagger to President Obama, Madonna to Prince to Chet Baker. Her work has appeared in everything from Rolling Stone to The New York Times, The Village Voice to Time Magazine.
Speaking of her start, Feingold says that when she moved to New York City from Boston while still in her mid-20s, a friend helped her get a job at famed Magnum photo agency. "I got a job in the back library and when the photos came in from the magazines, I would open the envelope, record the number on the back and [file] them. The photos I was looking at were by Henri Cartier-Bresson and AndrÃ© Kertesz. That's where I got my formal education."
It was later that she got the opportunity to shoot for a burgeoning jazz label, Artists House, who gave her her first assignment shooting the legendary Chet Baker (below). "I didn't really know much about [Chet] at the time and I was 26 years old but a very young 26 on a lot of levels," Feingold remembers. "I was so shy and he also appeared very shy and quiet. I don't remember much about shooting him but I do remember it was in his apartment. I was shaking. It was also before digital, of course, so I was shooting and worrying [about how the photos would turn out]. The label also wanted me to shoot some color and I didn't know how to shoot color so I hand colored it. My dad had used oils and I still owned his old box of Marshall's oils from the 1940s."
It wasn't long before Feingold got a photography internship at the Village Voice and, later, a staff position at the now-defunct Musician Magazine. Over the course of five years there, Feingold would have the chance to photograph legends like Miles Davis, The Ramones, James Brown and B.B. King.
Ahead of the book's release, we had the chance to preview some of the photos and talk to Feingold about her memories shooting Madonna, Prince, Mick Jagger and LL Cool J.
"This was a publicity photo shoot. Mick came late and so the shoot started late and I had been double-booked that day to shoot a French actress after him. But who wouldn't have been shaking and awestruck and freaking out [over Mick]? But I was confident. We got started, got some music going, and then not long into shooting, my front light explodes. The groove is gone. I was so embarrassed. I tell the assistants what to do and I turned my head not long after to make sure Mick was okay and saw [that pose] and snapped it. It was just one brief moment. It was unplanned. It's a very special photo for me."