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Claude Gassian (born 1949 in Paris) is a French photographer. For over 40 years he has been taking pictures of famous musicians. He is particularly famous for his photos of the Rolling Stones.
Claude Gassian Biography
At the age of 16, Claude Gassian takes his first photo at the Paris Olympia Hall during a Rolling Stones concert. From then on, he will attend one concert after another, always taking his father’s Rolleiflex with him: Led Zeppelin at Olympia in 1969, Jimi Hendrix on the Isle of Wight Festival etc. With the birth of Rock’n’Roll, the number of concerts and well-known musicians increases.
As far as perspectives and photography techniques are concerned, Gassian succeeds in developing his own style in the course of his numerous concert visits. He is not only a photographer, but a concert photographer. At the beginning of the 1970s he signs his first contracts with music magazines, among them Best, Rock & Folk etc. The photos published here also attract the attention of other magazines. Soon his workload increases and he also takes photos of celebrities who are not part of the music world.
Gassian’s career takes off with his photos of the Rolling Stones. In an interview he states: For over twenty years I have been bumping into them for ten minutes here and there. And in 1990 I published a photo collection. (…). I sent it to them. They were looking for a photographer for their next Europe tour. Mick’s manager Tony King asked me to see him (…): They wanted me to become their official photographer. I was afraid they could dominate the picture. No matter where you put the Stones, the photo becomes a complete success. I always try to find new ideas to get the best out of a photo.
Claude Gassian always waits for the right moment to take a snapshot of scenes that no photographer captured before him. This is what makes his pictures so special. From the 1970s to the present day, his particular style and technique have opened him doors to the intimate world of the greatest musicians.
Gassian accompanied Eurythmics, Prince and the Rolling Stones on their tours. In his comprehensive photo collections we can find music stars from over a period of half a century. He captured immortal artists like Miles Davis, The Who, Bob Dylan, David Prince, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Bowie, The Kills, Nick Cave, Jack White and 50Cent.
His work was featured in numerous exhibitions, for instance in the Galerie Acte 2 (in 2002), in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon (in 2003), in the Govinda Gallery in Washington (in 2007), during the Rencontres d’Arles (in 2010) etc.
Claude Gassian lives and works in Paris.
Claude Gassian’s photos are more than mere images of famous faces and are admired all over the world. This photographer wants to get the best out of his pictures by always looking for personality, beauty and natural energy.
His masterful use of light and aggressive flash contrasting with softer lighting during more intimate moments make Gassian’s photos unique. Apart from concert tours, exhibitions and publications, Gassian uses his talent to photograph various French artists.
Claude Gassian succeeds in capturing not only passion but also exhaustion and doubts behind a wall of perfect appearances. It is behind the scenes and on tours that he has the most natural access to artists and can present them in a very human light.
Claude Gassian, Renaud, Putti, 1989.
Claude Gassian, Goldman, Putti, 1989.
Claude Gassian, Rock images 1970/90, Putti, 1990.
Gilles Médioni & Claude Gassian, Patricia Kaas: tour de charme, Michel Lafon, 1993.
Claude Gassian, Vanessa Paradis: Natural high tour, Vade Retro, 1994.
Claude Gassian, Gassian: Photographies 1970-2001, La Martinière, 2001.
Claude Gassian, Cali & Miossec: Rencontre au fil de l'autre, Le Bord de l'eau, 2006.
Claude Gassian, Mylène Farmer: Avant que l'ombre… À Bercy, Anne Carrière, 2006.