Hiding behind amplifiers or lurking backstage, Danny Clinch has captured the leaps, the laughs, the shouting and the silence of music artists from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to Lady Gaga and Miranda Lambert. On Sunday’s 60 MINUTES, he shares those moments and his iconic photographs of them with Anderson Cooper on the eve of the Grammys, the event he has photographed for the past 13 years. Cooper’s report will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 14 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
It all began 17 years ago when Clinch was asked to shoot Dylan and then Springsteen. It was the springboard to a dream job offering incredible moments and unique images of music’s biggest stars. “You’re in a sense, part of the history of that moment and I never really get tired of that,” he tells Cooper. “And I never take it for granted. I’m trying to capture a moment. It’s not about the singer at the microphone singing. I’m trying to look for…a moment in between,” says Clinch.
It’s like the time he caught Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament airborne in tandem onstage. “I popped up from behind Jeff’s amplifiers…They’re up in the air in that perfect moment.”
Among the many pictures of murdered music legend Tupac Shakur, Clinch’s shot of the bare-chested rapper, hands behind his back, is considered one of the most iconic. Clinch was going to photograph him in a particular shirt, but when he saw the tattoos, he knew he had a shot. “I felt like this was really a powerful image…the simplicity of it…”
Clinch also relates his experiences photographing Phish, Foo Fighters and especially Springsteen, of whom he’s taken thousands of pictures over the years. He recalls taking pictures of Willie Nelson in his trailer braiding his hair and doing something else he is just as well-known for: smoking marijuana. It’s all part of the moment. Of that particular moment, says Clinch with a smile, “Somehow, I can’t remember what happened after that.”