KISS Photographer Dies at 67
Joel Brodsky, the 67-year-old photographer who shot Kiss for the cover of their 1974 debut album, died March 1 of a heart attack in Stamford, Connecticut.
In 1994 Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons recounted their experience with Brodsky:
STANLEY "We walked into the studio with our makeup kits, and we started to get ready. Brodsky had heard that we wore makeup, so he hired a makeup artist to help us. But we always did our makeup ourselves, except this time, Peter [Criss, drums] let the makeup artist do his—which is why his looks so different on the cover than it ever did again."
SIMMONS "As soon as we had the makeup on, Brodsky turned to us and said, 'Wow, you guys look great, this is terrific!' And we thought it was very cool because he seemed to get it right away, quicker than most people. So he tells us to sit down and says he wants to put a black cloth around us so only our faces showed—like the Meet the Beatles album cover. And that was exactly what we wanted. So he gets us set up with all the lights and says, 'Hold it right there while I go and get the balloons.' And we said, 'What balloons?' And he said, 'Balloons—you know, like clowns with balloons. It'll be hilarious.' "
STANLEY "He also had red rubber noses and straw hats—he thought we were mimes or something! So we said, 'No, you don't understand—this is serious. We're not playing characters, this is how we feel, and we're very serious about it.' "
SIMMONS "But he still didn't believe us. Then we threatened to walk out, and he finally realized that we were serious, and he took the picture."
In addition to Kiss, Brodsky did the photography for more than 400 album covers in his career, including the popular Christ-like image of Jim Morrison on the cover of the Doors’ Best of the Doors CD. He also worked with such artists as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, the Stooges, the MC5 and Buddy Guy, among many others.