Courtesy of joshcheuse.com/screen print by Kate Gibb
This Friday, photographer Josh Cheuse will unveil never-before-seen photographs of the Beastie Boys, Madonna, MGMT, Oasis, Run-D.M.C., Lady Gaga, Joe Strummer and more in his new Grooving Years exhibit. The exclusive pictures will be displayed at New York’s Morrison Hotel Gallery until October 11th, 2014.
Cheuse was able to capture candid photos of the legendary stars through “perseverance, talent and luck,” according to gallery owner Peter Blachley. “My approach was to be kind to people, be real and just be honest,” said Cheuse. “I got good stuff because these people became my friends and family, and I respected them and they kind of got that. It wasn’t a paparazzi thing.”
The native New Yorker began his photography career at 16, when he used his school payphone to call The Clash at Electric Ladyland Studios and ask to photograph them. He also grew up just a few blocks away from Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Cheuse became close friends with the up-and-coming group as a teen, watching them transition from a rock band to a hip-hop group. He fondly remembers one night before a video shoot, when all of them crashed on the floor of Rick Rubin’s mom’s house and she made them tuna sandwiches.
He also befriended other musicians at nightclubs throughout the city, such as the Danceteria, which is now closed. This is where he first met Madonna, snapping shots of her as she performed some of her very first songs. “She was just the girl we used to dance with and hang out and smoke with,” he said. “She was just kind of like a friend from the club, always very sweet. She said she was going to (become) the biggest female singer of all time – and she did.”
Cheuse later received a full photography scholarship from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since then he has shot, produced, and directed numerous music videos, created a video tribute to Joe Strummer, served as an art director for Sony Music, and gone on the road to photograph groups like Oasis, MGMT, and The Black Crowes. He currently works as an Associate Design Director at Sony Music Entertainment in New York. He has always focused on musicians because he loves their style. “It’s fun to photograph people that look cool and dress well,” says Cheuse. You can check out some his work here.