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Shooting Giants: the music photography of Jon Sievert

By Carol Schmidt

Is this the best job in the world? Taking concert photos of music legends across many genres for nearly 30 years, including going backstage to hang out with the stars and do interviews?

Photography exhibit
Exhibit of archived photos of music legends from 1971 to 2003 by Jon Sievert
Sat, Nov 17, 6pm, exhibit runs through Nov 29
Bordello Galería
Órganos 19
Prints will be for sale at exhibit
More information:, 415-154-5058

Jon Sievert did just that from 1971 to 2003, and some of his archived photographs will be on exhibit. The show is called “Shooting Giants.”

How did Sievert manage to get such a job? He was the staff photographer and a writer and editor for Guitar Player, Keyboard, and Frets magazines for more than 20 years. During that period, and in subsequent years, he photographed many of the greatest musicians of our time in all idioms, including rock, pop, jazz, blues, bluegrass, Americana, country, classical, folk and world music. His images have appeared on more than 100 magazine covers, dozens of album/CD covers, in film and television productions, and in hundreds of books and publications worldwide.

He also worked as a freelancer and was the house photographer for the Monterey Jazz Festival for several years in the mid-’70s, for all the Bread & Roses Acoustic Music Festivals, and for the San Francisco Blues Festival from 1982 to 2002.

Beginning in the mid-’70s, he began covering the rise of contemporary string band music (sometimes called new acoustic music) by virtuoso instrumentalists who erased the boundaries between jazz, bluegrass, classical, Latin, and other forms of world music. This includes musicians such as David Grisman, Tony Rice, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor and Sam Bush.

The archives include images of music industry figures, equipment, luthiers, comedians, and more. These archives are an ongoing project and may be viewed at

In 1996, Sievert formed humble press ( to publish his book, Concert Photography: How to Shoot and Sell Music Business Photographs, which has sold nearly 6,000 copies to date. He also served as the president of the (San Francisco) Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (with 200 member publishers) for two years, where he was actively involved in all aspects of independent book publishing. In 2003, he moved to San Miguel de Allende , where he continues to write, photograph and work on book projects.


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