James Fortune spent more than a decade photographing rock’n’roll icons such as Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Jim Morrison, Elton John and countless others.
James Fortune’s professional career began with coverage of the 1966 L.A. riots on Sunset Boulevard when his picture of protesters on a bus roof was published around the world. In 1967, he photographed Jim Morrison and the Doors for his college newspaper—kicking off a career documenting rock music icons that would last him more than a decade.
James took a short break from rock bands to serve as a U.S. Navy combat photographer in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. After completing his tour of duty—in the aftermath of worldwide political, civil, and sexual revolutions of the 1970s—he became a regular fixture in the backstage areas and VIP sections of the nation’s largest musical events.
Posters of James’ work adorned the bedroom walls of America’s youth in the ’70s and ’80s, and his insightful and intimate images have been seen by millions in books, magazines, and album covers. Over 150 of his iconic shots are part of the permanent collection of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.