American Rock Gods: Guy Webster's Intimate Portraits

Photographer Guy Webster captured everyone from Hendrix to Dylan and the Stones in their counterculture heyday.

Guy Webster

Guy Webster

Jimi Hendrix

Guy Webster was the photographer of '60's counterculture, capturing intimate portraits of young talent like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Jack Nicholson before they became American legends.


Now, a new book—++Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons++[http://www.amazon.com/Big-Shots-Legends-Hollywood-Photography/dp/1608872408—presents 300 of Webster's most iconic images. It's very glamorous and very rock n' roll—here we find The Stones, the Doors, Jane Fonda, Sonny and Cher.


Of meeting Jimi Hendrix, Webster remarked, "I loved his intelligence, his guitar riffs, and his backstage rhythm."

Guy Webster

Judy Collins

"I loved Judy Collins even before I met her. Her voice was so pure," Webster said. "She and Joan Baez were two of my favorite singers ... It was springtime, so for her album Wildflowers I suggested that we go out to Malibu, get some actual wildflowers and some good shots."

Guy Webster

Bob Dylan

In December 1965, Webster photographed Dylan at a Hollywood press conference held on Sunset Boulevard. "He didn’t give me a bad look, nor did I ask stupid questions like the other guys were doing. I set up the camera so that I had the light in his hair to make him look godlike."

Guy Webster

Raquel Welch

Of the Hollywood bombshell, Webster said, "Raquel Welch and I were attracted to each other, no doubt about it. She was married. I was married. It was professional. She liked working with me."

Olivia Hussey

Webster shot the angelic star of Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet at her house in Benedict Canyon. "We became friends right away. Olivia had a perfect face," Webster said. "I’d never seen anyone that beautiful and centered. She had a physical symmetry that was almost too perfect."

Guy Webster

The Mamas and The Papas

Before Webster shot the cover for the famous foursome's album Deliver, he toured with the group, getting high with Mama Cass and going to long recording sessions. "Denny was so sweet but liked alcohol. Cass was Jewish, super smart, and I loved that. She had a great sense of humor but couldn't pick the right men to save her life. Michelle was a dangerous girl. Just the fact of her making love to a member of another group (Gene Clark of the Byrds) got her kicked out for a while."

Guy Webster

Dennis Hopper

In addition to his portraits of musical legends, Webster also shot celebrities in the 'New Hollywood', including bad boy Dennis Hopper.

Guy Webster

The Turtles

Of the Happy Together album, Webster remarked, "It was a mistake, the worst cover I ever shot...I never got the effect I was looking for and wouldn't you know it, Happy Together became a sensation."

William Shatner

Joan Collins

"I set up this photo of Joan Collins in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace," Webster recalled. "We went to the craps table and moved the money off the table so we could do the shot. I got my lights and some mafia guy said, 'Ten minutes!' That's all it took.

Guy Webster


Webster shot Cher and her paramour and singing partner Sonny Bono in their early days. "She was very attractive, very Armenian," Webster said. "She had something special. Sonny recognized it."

Guy Webster


"I liked that they were a mixed-race band. I was part of a generation that thought the world was going to change and we were the ones that would make it happen. Musicians were going to lead the charge."

Guy Webster

William Shatner

Webster shot the "Star Trek" star, along with his colleague Leonard Nimoy (aka Spock), in a soft diffuse light.

Jim Morrison

Of Jim Morrison and his dark, sexy band, Webster said, "Those whom the gods favor don't always get out alive." As it turns out, Morrison and Webster knew each other from a previous life, as students at UCLA. "We'd been in the philosophy department, reading Nietzsche."

Insight Editions

Reprinted from Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons by Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik, published by Insight Editions. All photographs by Guy Webster. 2014 © GuyWebster.com