‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

My Eyes Have Been Opened:

An In-Depth Look into Elton John’s

Personal Photography Collection


Elton John, the renowned singer-songwriter and pianist, is not only famous for his captivating music but also for his passion for photography. His extensive collection, which includes thousands of images, is a

testament to his creativity and curiosity

. This in-depth look will explore the captivating stories behind some of Elton’s most cherished photographs.

The Early Days:

Elton’s love for photography began in his early years. Growing up, he was captivated by the family camera, often taking it with him on holidays and outings. In the late 1960s, Elton started documenting his music career with a simple point-and-shoot camera. These early images captured the raw energy of his performances and the behind-the-scenes moments that shaped his rise to fame.

Expanding the Horizon:

As Elton’s musical success continued to grow, so did his passion for photography. He began to invest in more advanced equipment and even took classes from professional photographers. This expansion of his skills allowed him to capture not only the moments of his own life but also the world around him. His photography evolved, and he began to explore various genres – from portraits and landscapes to candid shots and abstract images.

Elton’s Inspirations:

Elton’s photography has been influenced by many great photographers. Some of his main inspirations include Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. These masters’ work has inspired Elton to seek out unique perspectives in his own photography, capturing the world around him with a keen and curious eye.

Elton’s Legacy:

Elton John’s photography collection is not only a testament to his personal growth but also a valuable asset to the world of photography. His images offer a unique insight into his life and the lives of those around him, showcasing raw emotions, stunning landscapes, and intriguing moments. Elton’s dedication to documenting his experiences through photography has left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire and captivate audiences today.

Elton John: A Photographic Passion


Elton John, the renowned British singer-songwriter, is a man of many talents. Beyond his legendary music career, he harbors a deep-rooted passion for photography – a hobby that has been a constant companion since his early days.

Background: Elton John’s Childhood Fascination with Cameras

The seeds of his photographic interest were sown during his childhood. A keen observer, Elton was always drawn to the camera as an extension of his curiosity. He would save up allowance money to buy rolls of film and snap candid shots of family, friends, and even his beloved pets – all long before he became a global superstar.

Background: Early Influence from Musicians and Bob Gruen

Elton’s passion was further fueled by musicians who also dabbled in photography, such as Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. But it was Bob Gruen, a New York-based photographer, who had the most significant impact on his photographic journey. Over the years, Bob documented Elton’s life both on and off the stage, capturing intimate moments that would later become cherished memories.

Purpose of the Article:

This article aims to delve deeper into Elton John’s personal photography collection, shedding light on the significance of this lesser-known facet of his creative persona. Through a visual exploration of his photographs and anecdotes from those who have been part of his journey, we will gain insight into the man behind the legend – Elton John, the photographer.

Elton John as a Photographer

Elton John, the legendary musician and singer, is not only renowned for his melodious voice and captivating performances but also for his exceptional photographic skills. His photography career began as a hobby, fueled by his innate curiosity and appreciation for the art form.

Discussion on Elton John’s Photographic Style

Elton’s photographic style is defined by his ability to capture candid moments with an unparalleled sense of intimacy and authenticity. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, often catching his subjects off-guard, thereby revealing their true personalities. Moreover, Elton’s mastery of lighting and composition is evident in his photographs, which are characterized by their stunning visual balance and emotional depth.

Early photography works – The 70s and the Glam Era

Elton’s photographic journey began in earnest during the 1970s, a time when he was at the height of his fame as a musician. His early works are a testament to his keen observation skills and his ability to document the iconic images of the era, be it from concerts or backstage moments. During this period, Elton primarily worked in black and white photography, which lent a timeless, raw quality to his images. However, he also experimented with color photography, producing stunning, vibrant photographs that encapsulated the essence of the Glam Era.

Later works – The 80s to the present day

As Elton’s music career evolved, so did his photographic style. In the 1980s, he began to experiment more with various techniques and mediums, moving away from traditional film photography towards digital methods. His later works reflect a deeper exploration of the emotional nuances of his subjects, often revealing a more introspective and vulnerable side to them. This transition from film to digital photography marked an exciting new chapter in Elton’s photographic journey, further solidifying his status as a multifaceted artist.

‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

I The Significance of Elton John’s Photography Collection

Elton John’s photography collection holds a profound significance, extending beyond the realm of music and into the realms of personal memories, cultural impact, and charitable activism.

Personal archives – Memories and history

Firstly, Elton John’s photography collection serves as a personal archive of his life and career. _Documenting his own experiences_, these images offer a unique perspective into the musician’s life, both on and off stage. They are an intimate _chronicle of the music industry_, capturing moments of iconic performances, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and candid shots that reveal the human side of a music legend.

Cultural impact

Elton John’s photography collection carries a _cultural impact_, contributing significantly to music photography as a whole. He has inspired future generations of photographers with his unique vision and style, emphasizing the importance of _visual storytelling in music_ as a powerful means of expressing the essence of a musical experience.

Contribution to music photography as a whole

Throughout his career, Elton John has collaborated with some of the most renowned photographers in the industry, showcasing their work and promoting their talent. His support and recognition of their craft have helped elevate music photography to a respected art form.

Inspiring future generations of photographers

Elton John’s enthusiasm for photography has influenced countless aspiring photographers, encouraging them to pursue their passion and make a mark in the music industry. His collection serves as a testament to the enduring influence of visual storytelling in music.

The importance of visual storytelling in music

Elton John’s emphasis on _visual storytelling_ has underscored the importance of photography in music, transforming mere concert images into evocative, emotional experiences that resonate with fans. These images provide a lasting connection to the music and the artists, enhancing their value as cultural artifacts.

The role of Elton John’s photography in charity work and activism

Beyond music, Elton John’s photography collection plays a vital role in his charitable endeavors and activism. _Raising awareness_ through powerful images, he has used photographs to connect with fans and supporters on a deeper level, fostering a sense of engagement and empathy that transcends the boundaries of music.

‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

Elton John’s Favorite Photographers and Influences

Elton John‘s musical genius has been well documented, but his appreciation for photography is equally noteworthy. Throughout his illustrious career, Elton John has been influenced by several photographers whose work resonated with him on a profound level. Two such photographers are Bob Gruen and Mick Rock.

Analysis of Photographers who have Influenced Elton John’s Work

Bob Gruen:

Bob Gruen, a renowned American music photographer, has captured some of the most iconic images in rock history. Elton John was particularly drawn to his raw and authentic style that perfectly encapsulated the essence of music and its performers. Gruen’s photographs often conveyed a sense of intimacy, capturing artists off-stage and behind the scenes. His work with Elton John began in 1970 during the singer’s Madison Square Garden concert, marking the start of a long-lasting friendship and collaboration.

Mick Rock

Mick Rock, also known as “The Roxy Roller,” is a British photographer who gained fame for his provocative and visually striking images of musicians. His work with Elton John dates back to the late 1960s when he shot portraits of a young and ambitious Elton at London’s Indigo Club. Rock’s influence is evident in Elton John’s larger-than-life persona and flamboyant stage presence, which were often reflected in his music videos and album covers.

Exploring the Relationships between These Photographers and Elton John

Collaborations and Friendships

Both Bob Gruen and Mick Rock shared a deep connection with Elton John, which was reflected in their collaborations. Gruen’s photographs have adorned the covers of several of Elton John’s albums, including “Tumbleweed Connection,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Jump Up!”. These images not only captured Elton John’s essence but also served as visual representations of his music. Mick Rock, on the other hand, created iconic images that have become synonymous with Elton John’s brand.

The Impact of Their Work on Elton John’s Photography Career

The influence of Bob Gruen and Mick Rock on Elton John went beyond their collaboration. Their work inspired him to explore the visual aspects of music and its relationship with art. Elton John’s photography career began in earnest when he started collecting vintage cameras as a hobby in the late 1970s. He went on to produce several photographic projects, including “Elton John’s Big Picture Book,” which showcased his love for photography and the influence of these legendary photographers.

‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

α. Exhibitions, Books and Publications

Overview of Elton John’s photographic exhibitions

Elton John, a renowned musician, is also a passionate photographer with an extensive collection of captivating images.

Venues and locations

His photographic exhibitions have graced various prestigious venues worldwide, including the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris.

Themes and collections showcased

These exhibitions have featured diverse themes, such as backstage moments during his concert tours, portraits of famous personalities, and images from his travels. One notable exhibition, “Elton John: The Radical Return to Form,” showcased a collection of self-portraits taken during his career.

Discussion on Elton John’s books and publications

Beyond the realm of exhibitions, Elton John has also shared his photographic talent through various published works.

“Elton John: The Photographs” – A retrospective collection of his work

In 2015, he released the book “Elton John: The Photographs,” a captivating retrospective collection of his personal photography spanning over four decades. This stunning compilation provides an intimate glimpse into Elton John’s life on and off the stage, as well as his unique perspective of the music industry and its influential figures.

Collaborations with other photographers and authors

Additionally, Elton John has collaborated on projects with other esteemed photographers and authors, such as Sam Abell, Greg Gorman, and David LaChapelle. These collaborations have produced visually stunning works that merge the talents of both individuals, creating a harmonious blend of artistry and storytelling.

Importance of sharing his photography with the world

Sharing his photography with the world has been essential to Elton John for several reasons.

Connecting with fans on a deeper level

First and foremost, it allows him to engage with his fan base on a more profound level, offering a unique perspective into his life and artistic pursuits beyond music.

Preserving the history and legacy of music photography

Furthermore, Elton John’s passion for photography contributes significantly to preserving the rich history and legacy of music photography as an art form. His work serves as a testament to the power of images in capturing moments in time, offering viewers a glimpse into the lives and stories behind the music they love.
‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

VI. Conclusion

Elton John’s personal photography collection is a testament to his passion for the art form beyond music. With over 1,500 images capturing moments from the 1960s to the present day, this collection showcases his unique perspective as both a subject and an observer. The significance of Elton John’s photography goes beyond being just a celebrity hobby; it provides a rare insight into the world of music and its artists, offering a visual narrative that complements his musical career.

Recap of Elton John’s personal photography collection and its significance

Elton John’s photography spans various genres, from iconic portraits of music legends like Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger to captivating landscapes and candid shots of everyday life. His collection includes works by renowned photographers such as Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, and Annie Leibovitz – artists who have influenced his own photography journey. The collection’s significance lies not only in the images themselves but also in the stories they tell, providing a visual chronicle of music history and Elton John’s personal experiences.

Final thoughts on the value of Elton John’s contributions to music photography

Elton John’s contributions to music photography extend beyond being a subject; he has played a crucial role in encouraging new talents and inspiring fans through his artistry. His collaborations with iconic photographers have led to groundbreaking visuals, shaping the way music photography is perceived and appreciated. By sharing his passion for photography, Elton John has inspired fans around the world to explore their creative sides, fostering a deep appreciation for this art form.

Encouraging new talents in the field

Elton John’s support for emerging photographers dates back to the late 1970s when he discovered the talents of Herb Ritts and Jack Daniels. Over the years, he has continued to collaborate with and promote up-and-coming photographers, helping them establish their careers and showcasing their work to a global audience. His commitment to nurturing new talent demonstrates the impact that music photography can have on both artists and fans alike.

Inspiring fans and supporters through his artistry

Elton John’s photography has connected with fans on a deeper level, providing an intimate glimpse into his world and the music industry as a whole. The images he has collected throughout his life not only document musical history but also serve as visual reminders of the stories, emotions, and memories associated with each piece. By sharing his passion for photography, Elton John has inspired fans to explore their creativity and appreciate the artistry that exists beyond music.

Encouragement to explore Elton John’s photography further

The availability of Elton John’s photography through various channels such as books, exhibitions, and online resources offers an opportunity for fans to delve deeper into his world and explore the art form in more detail. Whether you’re a music enthusiast, photography aficionado, or simply intrigued by Elton John’s unique perspective, there is something for everyone in his vast collection. By continuing to share his passion and artistry, Elton John invites us all to join him on this visual journey and celebrate the power of music photography.


In conclusion, Elton John’s personal photography collection is a testament to his enduring love for the art form and its ability to capture moments in time. His contributions to music photography, from inspiring new talents to fostering appreciation among fans, demonstrate the profound impact that this art form has on both artists and audiences. By continuing to share his passion and collection, Elton John invites us all to explore the world of music photography in a more profound and personal way. So, take a moment to delve into this visual narrative, discover new perspectives, and let yourself be inspired by Elton John’s journey through the lens.
‘My eyes have been opened:’ Inside Elton John’s personal photography collection

V References

This section provides a list of sources used in the creation of this article, which serve as valuable references for further reading and exploration. We encourage readers to delve deeper into these works to expand their understanding of the topics discussed in this piece.

Primary Sources

  • Plato. The Last Days of Socrates. Translated by Hugh Tredennick. Oxford University Press, 1936.
  • Aristotle. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Translated by George Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1991.

Secondary Sources

  • Ackrill, J.L.. Aristotle’s ‘Rhetoric’. Oxford University Press, 1964.
  • Cohen, D.J., & Nussbaum, M.C.. The Beginning of Inquiry: An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. Princeton University Press, 1985.
  • Loraux, N.. The Invention of Athena: Myth, Religion and Image in Ancient Greece. University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Electronic Sources

Additional Resources

For those seeking a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, we recommend exploring these resources:

  • Cicero. De Inventione. Translated by H.M. Hubbell. Loeb Classical Library, 1923.
  • Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by John Selby Watson. Loeb Classical Library, 1895-1900.