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See Guy Webster’s Iconic Portraits of the Stones, Jack Nicholson and More

Check out photos of the Doors, Nico and more from the new book ‘Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons’

Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson

Guy Webster

Throughout his decades-long career, photographer Guy Webster has captured some of the most iconic figures in music, film and politics – from the Rolling Stones to Dean Martin to Bill Clinton – during their prime. His work was recently collected for the book Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons, The Photography of Guy Webster, which was released in October via Insight Editions. 

Check out some of the collection's most striking images – along with Webster's own commentary – in this eclectic gallery, which includes an early Jack Nicholson headshot, a quirky photo of James Coburn inspired by the great Renaissance painters and Jim Morrison's moody gaze on the Doors' first LP cover.   

The Rolling Stones

Guy Webster

The Rolling Stones

"Lou Adler introduced me to Andrew Loog Oldham and we got on quite well. He said to me, 'My boys are coming to LA. Do you want to shoot them?' I said it would be an honor. The Stones were originally a blues band and that's what I loved about them. I was invited to the Stones' RCA recording sessions. It's not lost on me that Sam Cooke and blues and jazz musicians cut in that room. First of all, I thought the Stones were beautiful to look at — visually beautiful. When long hard started coming in, men who were average looking started to look beautiful — that's what happened in the 1960s."

the Mamas and the Papas

Guy Webster

The Mamas and the Papas

"Lou [Adler] called me one day and said, 'Barry McGuire is sending over this group and he wants us to listen to them.' So I went to Lou's office and shortly after in walked the Mamas and the Papas. They started to sing 'California Dreamin',' and Lou and I locked eyes. He knew this was a hit song. I knew they were a hit. Lou told me to follow the band, and so I went to every recording session. I shot some black and whites but needed something for the cover. We headed to their place in Laurel Canyon, and they decided to get me high. I never shoot high because I have to get what I have to get, but this was the exception."

Nico

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Guy Webster

Nico

"I first saw Nico in the movie La Dolce Vita. She was this gorgeous blond German beauty when I met her at Monterey. She later came to my studio and we had an immediate connection. It was for her solo album The Marble Index. She didn't have much time for that shoot — maybe two or three hours. First thing I did was darken her hair, and then I set up the lighting. I noticed her amphetamine lips, and I knew I had to get that into the picture. She had been a model. I asked her not to model but just look right at the camera. I did it on a black background with a light behind her head so that I could bring her forward. It was Andy Warhol's favorite picture. He had a copy in his studio."

Peggy Lipton

Guy Webster

Peggy Lipton

"Guy was just the right photographer for me as my career started out. I was uncomfortable and shy and didn't like being photographed. I was 20 years olf and he became my go-to guy for all my stills." — Peggy Lipton

The Doors

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Guy Webster

The Doors

"It's been more than 46 years since I did that first Doors photo session. I'll tell you why it endures: It's the image of the one big face on a cover. It's that powerful. There are some beautiful album covers that are fully abstract. But you don't have the emotional connection that comes from having that powerful and beautiful face looking at you. Look, the Doors were a unit, onstage and in the recording studio. But this was a first photo session, and I spotlighted the lead singer. I wasn't thinking and positioning Jim as the quarterback of their team. I wanted to make it beautiful. His face was beautiful. I knew it would get a lot of attention."

Barbara Hershey and David Carradine

Guy Webster

Barbara Hershey and David Carradine

"It was suggested I go to Barbara Hershey's house and take shots there. She was with David Carradine. They were actors who were also hippies. I related to them. I got to the street and there were a thousand stairs to climb to get to her house in the mountains of Laurel Canyon."

James Coburn

Guy Webster

James Coburn

"My major influences were painters like John Singer Sargent and the great Renaissance painters such as Bronzino, Piero della Prancesca and Caravaggio. You can see the Renaissance influence in this photo of James Coburn."

Jack Nicholson

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Guy Webster

Jack Nicholson

"I'd done some photo sessions with Jack Nicholson. I got to know him on the set of Easy Rider. He needed some pictures when he was a young actor and he had heard about me. So I said, 'Come on over.' I took a couple of headshots."