New Photo Book ‘Into the Light’ Features B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Slash and More

Award-winning music photographer Jérôme Brunet has selected his favorite photos from the last 20 years in Into The Light, a retrospective coffee table book featuring a foreword by rock legend Steve Miller. Featured artists include B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Slash, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Santana, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, U2, The Who, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. Signed books are available only at IntoTheLight.photo.

How long have you been shooting pictures of musicians?

I’ve been shooting music for over 20 years now. I started in music long before before I picked up a camera. My mother was classically trained pianist and singer and got me playing the cello at age four. I played for ten years and then switched over to the guitar after hearing Led Zeppelin's first album in high school.  

The pictures seem to have a real intimacy. Were most shot from the stage? From the pit? Were you on assignment?

I would say 80 percent were shot professionally in the pit and later, as I created more contacts with the bands, from the stage. I was seldom ever on assignment as I always chose to shoot musicians I admired, which has been the only rule I’ve followed thought out my career!

Your pictures are very vivid and very alive—it's like you hear and feel the music. Is that your goal?

The goal is soul!

Do you usually know when you've nailed a picture just as you've taken it? 

Sometimes you feel a special energy in the performance and think to yourself, man did I get that? Other times you only realize it after the fact. 

Your book is filled with hundreds of great images. Why did you choose B.B. King for the cover? And why that particular image?

Although my B.B. King shot has gone on to win multiple awards and has been published internationally, the most amazing thing is how the image has gone on to take of life of its own, and seeing people from around the world react so fondly to it that they’d be willing to get it tattooed!

Your images cover a wide array of performers but you seem to have a special affinity for the blues and for guitarists. Is that accurate?

Yes! Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page was such a huge early influence on me in high school that I immediately researched where it all came from, which inevitably led me back to Robert Johnson and all the blues greats like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Legends like Santana, Clapton, Beck, Gibbons, Iommi, Gilmour and Vaughan came very quickly after that!

Below, Brunet shares some of his favorite guitar-oriented images with us.

B.B. King: "I shot this in Monterey, California in 2013, without realizing this would be the last time I’d photograph the King of the Blues."

B.B. King: "I shot this in Monterey, California in 2013, without realizing this would be the last time I’d photograph the King of the Blues."

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Billy Gibbons: "I’ve always been such a big admirer of Billy, watching his hands move on the fretboard with such fluidly is truly a thing of beauty!"

Billy Gibbons: "I’ve always been such a big admirer of Billy, watching his hands move on the fretboard with such fluidly is truly a thing of beauty!"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Slash: "Slash was opening up for Ozzy that night and although I was only allowed to shoot the first three songs, Slash’s demeanor on stage is such that it’s really hard to get a bad shot!"

Slash: "Slash was opening up for Ozzy that night and although I was only allowed to shoot the first three songs, Slash’s demeanor on stage is such that it’s really hard to get a bad shot!"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Derek Trucks: "One of my favorite places to shoot in the world is on any stage with the Tedeschi Trucks Band!"

Derek Trucks: "One of my favorite places to shoot in the world is on any stage with the Tedeschi Trucks Band!"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Dave Grohl: "Shot this at the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival, big fan of their latest album!"

Dave Grohl: "Shot this at the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival, big fan of their latest album!"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Pete Townshend: "Desert Trip Music Festival in Indio was such an incredible experience, Stones, Macca, Dylan, Young, Waters & THE WHO!"

Pete Townshend: "Desert Trip Music Festival in Indio was such an incredible experience, Stones, Macca, Dylan, Young, Waters & THE WHO!"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Tony Iommi: "The Man, the Myth, the Legend, what else is there to say?"

Tony Iommi: "The Man, the Myth, the Legend, what else is there to say?"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Tom Petty: "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 40th Anniversary tour gig at BottleRock Napa Valley Festival. One of the most memorable as I was allowed to shoot their entire set."

Tom Petty: "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 40th Anniversary tour gig at BottleRock Napa Valley Festival. One of the most memorable as I was allowed to shoot their entire set."

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Buddy Guy: "This was shot at the end of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival in 2010. I remember being exhausted but decided nonetheless to follow Buddy into the crowd, where he stopped mid-field in front of this little girl and started playing the guitar with her little finger. I immediately dropped to my knees and it was as if the sea had parted and this amazing image materialized."

Buddy Guy: "This was shot at the end of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival in 2010. I remember being exhausted but decided nonetheless to follow Buddy into the crowd, where he stopped mid-field in front of this little girl and started playing the guitar with her little finger. I immediately dropped to my knees and it was as if the sea had parted and this amazing image materialized."

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Buddy Guy: "At the Santa Cruz Blues Festival. I rarely shoot detailed close-ups of artist other then portraits but Buddy’s hand seemed to encapsulate the blues!"

Buddy Guy: "At the Santa Cruz Blues Festival. I rarely shoot detailed close-ups of artist other then portraits but Buddy’s hand seemed to encapsulate the blues!"

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)

Carlos Santana: "I love this shot. I got lucky with the light that hits his face through his hat as if it was lit by a soft box."

Carlos Santana: "I love this shot. I got lucky with the light that hits his face through his hat as if it was lit by a soft box."

(Image credit: Jérôme Brunet)