B.B. in the Desert 1972

by Tom O’Neal

Tom O’Neal

July 01, 2011 — I was on assignment for an album cover shoot for B.B. King’s “Guess Who” album. At the time, B.B. was headlining at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. I called his room at around 1 p.m. and woke him up. By 3 o’clock I was driving him out to a dry lake bed just outside of the city limits.

At the beginning of the session I was trying to find a rhythm. As the session moved on, B.B. got really relaxed to the point where he took off his shoes and didn’t want to go back to the hotel. He was very courteous and open to my suggestions. I kept shooting until I felt I finally had something. I wanted to be sure to include his unique ring bearing “B.B.” in some of the shots. The actual cover shot of the album is a photo of B.B. lying down on the ground with his famed guitar, “Lucille,” at his side while dozing off.

I used the natural light of the afternoon sun reflecting off the floor of the dry lake bed. I shot this with a Nikon F2 and a Nikon 105mm f/4. The film was Eastman 5247. With the Eastman film I got a negative and a transparency, which I used to project on a blank album cover during the selection process for presentation to the record company (ABC-Dunhill).

A friend of mine recently showed B.B. some of these shots. He remembered the session and said he had a great time.

Tom O’Neal is the owner of TGO Photography Studio and Gallery, a full service studio specializing in wedding, fine art, commercial and portraiture. During the 1960s he privately photographed famous musicians and celebrities. He shot over 80 album covers, including the iconic Déjà Vu cover used by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

You Might Also Like



Book Review: Red-Blooded American Male

Robert Trachtenberg's latest book features portraits of Hollywood's most famous male celebrities in unusual poses, scenes and setups.

Read the Full Story »

Senior Portrait Savvy: Three Businesses on Clever Branding for the Millenial Generation

These days, doting parents are more than willing to open up their wallets for lifestyle-like seniors portraits. We spoke with three photographers who have turned this demand into successful businesses.

Read the Full Story »

6 Tips to Help You Get the Wedding Shots You Need and Want

Ireland wedding photographer Donal Doherty, in a webinar created for ShootDotEdit, shares his wedding-day strategies to help you get the best shots possible.

Read the Full Story »


- ADVERTISEMENT -

- ADVERTISEMENT -

Tout VTS

- ADVERTISEMENT -

- ADVERTISEMENT -