Outlaw Rock 'n' Roll Photography: A Julian David Stone Book Review

30 years ago, the phrase “no cameras allowed” was more of a guideline than a policy. For Julian David Stone, that line was drawn incredibly thin.

In his latest book, No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer, Stone shares some of his favorite photographs and the unique stories behind them. He wasn’t a normal concert photographer – he didn’t even have credentials to shoot the majority of the shows he did.

The first time he was told he couldn’t bring his camera in, he simply stashed it in his socks. This progressed to taping equipment all over his body and ultimately customizing a jacket to hide equipment from security guards.

He shot dozens of the greatest acts, many of whom are featured in the book – Prince, U2, the Police, David Bowie, R.E.M., the Ramones, Elvis Costello, the Talking Heads, the Grateful Dead and Joan Jett, to name a few – all from the crowd, capturing exactly what the fans were seeing and the way the band meant the show to be seen.

When Prince and Bowie died in 2016, Stone shared his favorite photos he shot of them in the early 1980s and got an overwhelming response from people who were curious about how he had these photos.

“I had these pictures for years and hadn't really thought much about them and sort of carried them around,” Stone said. “My first reaction was that there were a lot of pictures of these people from the time but then when I realized that I could combine it with my stories and this adventure of being a teenager and being obsessed with rock and roll and sneaking the equipment in - that's when I realized there's a book there.”

The book is filled with one-of-a-kind photos and memories of his time spent at concerts and how he eventually started getting work once he built up his portfolio. The craziest part was he had no intention of selling his work or sustaining a career as a concert photographer. His passion lied in filmmaking and was actually going to school to pursue a degree in that when he finally hung up his makeshift camera jacket.

“It was literally something that I did for fun because I loved photography and I really loved the music,” he said. “It's almost like I've been looking at some of these pictures for the first time. Back then I would go shoot a show – I was sometimes doing five or six a week – go home, develop five or six or seven rolls of film, maybe print one or two then on to the next show. There were so many pictures that I don't even remember taking.”

No Cameras Allowed is the perfect mix of storytelling and illustration that captures a wide demographic. Getting away with sneaking in camera equipment like Julian David Stone did is impossible these days, but hearing the stories of life as an outlaw photographer mixed with photos of some of music’s biggest legends is absolutely worth sharing.