10 Questions For Music Photographer Philip Kamin

Publish Notes: 

The Green Mountain Outlook Bellows Falls, VT. Dec. 16, 2009

10 Questions For Music Photographer Philip Kamin
10 Questions For Music Photographer Philip Kamin
10 Questions For Music Photographer Philip Kamin

Photographer Philip Kamin is known around the world as one of the most distinguished music photo journalists of the last 25 years. Joe Milliken recently caught up with Mr. Kamin to discuss just a few of his many musical photography adventures. Phil was also close friends with Benjamin Orr of The Cars. Milliken is also writing a book about the life of the late, great musician.

Photos courtesy of Philip Kamin

Joe Milliken: Where are you originally from and where did you go to school?
Philip Kamin: I am from Toronto, Canada and went to college at Ryerson University. I did not study photography, but majored in social work.

JM: What were your first artistic influences? Was it music?
PK: Musically, Elvis Presley was my first influence. Artistically? As a kid, various teen magazines like 16 Magazine, Circus and Teen Beat. As far as photography, the various posters and pictures from these magazines that I would have tacked up on my bedroom walls.

JM: When and how did you first discover photography?
PK: At age 23 I met Phil Collins, it was in the spring of 1978, and we got along quite well. He suggested we meet up again that August in Toronto, where he invited me on the Genesis tour. Phil did not realize I was an untrained photographer, however I learned fast and developed my skills quickly and naturally.

JM: Who were your early musical and photography influences?
PK: Musically, it was Elvis Presley, Genesis, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Yes and John Fogerty. However, I believe my photography influences were through osmosis with the teen and music magazines, because I had no interest in photography early on.

JM: Are you a musician yourself, or just a listener?
PK: I was a terrible drummer as a kid - 12 to 14 years old or so - so now I am simply a big fan of the music and a karaoke drummer.

JM: What was your first concert or perhaps an early photography memory?
PK: My very first concert experience was Creedence Clearwater Revival, when I was 13 years old. I got to speak to John Fogerty who was very kind and gave me some drum sticks from Doug Clifford’s kit. I was in awe. I think they had one roadie because they did a lot of organizing in front of the audience at the Electric Circus.

JM: What was your first official photography job?
PK: My first concert photography job/experience was my first Genesis tour at age 23.

JM: Tell us a fond memory or two in your musical photography travels?
PK: Well, meeting my favorite drummer (Phil Collins) at such an early age, and to have it ultimately change my life. Also becoming friends with Peter Gabriel and Chester Thompson. In fact, we are all still good friends 33 years later. I also photographed the entire Rolling Stones' "Tattoo You" tour in 1981, Led Zeppelin's famous Knebworth Festival in 1979 and David Bowie's 1983 “Serious Moonlight Tour.”

JM: What would you consider to be the crowning achievement on your impressive resume?
PK: For me, the crowning achievement was photographing the Genesis, Phil Collins solo and Peter Gabriel solo tours, between the years 1978 and 1984.

JM: Name a few musicians or bands (alive or deceased) that you would have enjoyed working with?
PK: I would have loved to photograph Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Cream. I've photographed most everyone that I enjoy musically, but those are a few I missed out on; some for obvious reasons.