I’ve known you for many years and I am familiar with the massive amount of photo work you’ve done especially in the realm of hard rock/heavy metal music. For those that do not know you, please give an introduction of yourself and how you got into shooting pretty much every band in the world.
As a kid growing up in New Milford and Bergenfield, NJ during the late 1960’s I gained an interest in photography from my mother whose love for the craft led her to a career as a studio photographer in NYC for department stores. This was during the 1940’s and 50’s right before I came along in 1962. My own interest in photography exploded when I was a kid and it ended up leading me down a path to become a very well known music photographer. My first concert photographing a band was Led Zeppelin on Feb 12, 1975. I took my mother’s Canon F-1 camera without telling
her and told my parents I was down the street at a friend’s house. Instead, I ended up at Madison Square Garden for one of the best bands in the world at the time taking some rocking concert photos down in the front of the stage in the crowd. Remembering all the things she taught me the
previous 6 years really helped out during my first time out “in the field”. Within a few years, I had quite a collection of concert photos, that I showed to several music magazines. One of them was Relix magazine in 1982 and I sold them my first photo of Jorma Kaukonen from Hot Tuna and Jefferson
Airplane that I shot in Bergenfield in 1981 at The Circus rock club. That started a whirlwind of many more shots from concerts, photo sessions, backstage, record label parties and tours that ended up in magazines like Guitar World, Circus, Creem, Hit Parader, Kerrang! Rock Scene, Word
Up! Metal Hammer, Faces, Rip and Thrasher. My work has appeared in over 100 music books, many other music magazines, albums, newspapers, cd’s, dvd’s, box sets, TV shows like Behind The Music, Metal Evolution, Netflix, and a few other outlets. I became a photo agent in 1986 selling
music photos for other music photographers and started the Frank White Photo Agency. A few of the magazines I worked with published other magazines that I ended up doing photography for…As a result I became a wrestling photographer shooting WWF, WCW, ECW, XPW events for
Wrestling World magazine. I also shot for biker magazines like Iron Horse, Outlaw Biker, In The Wind and Live To Ride in the late 1990’s into the 2000’s and did some celebrity photography too.
Who or what was the initial reason for putting this book about Ronnie James Dio together?
I love the man’s singing voice, the way he performed on stage, how he was toward me as a music photographer and a fan of his music and the collection of photos I shot of him over the years. Starting in 1975 with Rainbow when I was 13 at Ronnie’s first US show at the Beacon Theater, then in
Black Sabbath, Dio and finally in Heaven and Hell. I was at his final performance of H&H photographing the show at the House of Blues at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City in 2009.
Personally, I can’t believe Dio has been gone for nearly ten years now. I’ve watched a lot of interviews with him throughout his career and at times he seems pretty angry and bitter. Especially when asked about Vivian Campbell or Ozzy Osbourne. Have you ever encountered him when he was in that kind of dark mood?
I would have to say No. On the days I photographed him weather it be here in the tri-state area, Los Angeles, Canada or Europe, he was always in a good mood. Everyone has their moments, or are bitter about something at some time I suppose.
I actually met Ronnie James back in the late 80’s at the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, NJ when he was shopping before performing at the Meadowlands arena. He was super gracious and friendly which is why those “angry” interviews kind of bummed me out. Do you think I just caught him on a good day or did the interviewers catch him on a bad day?
Wow, that is very cool that you met him down the road from where you lived. Same for me, I met him the first time backstage at the Meadowlands Arena (originally called the Brendan Byrne Arena) in 1984 and he was the same toward me. So we both had a good time while in his presence and
you caught him on a good day.
I think for an interviewer there will be tough questions to answer and being filmed you see all those emotions.
What are some of your favorite pictures of Dio in your book and why are they special to you?
I would have to say, the photos from the first time I photographed Ronnie in Rainbow at the Beacon Theater when he blew me away as a singer. Also- photos of him when he replaced Ozzy as the singer in Black Sabbath and performed at Madison Square Garden. I was at the Nassau Coliseum show in 1980 for the filming of the movie “Black and Blue” with Blue Oyster Cult opening. The fans around me were going nuts to be filmed and it became too hard to get any worthwhile photos. So unfortunately no photos from that show appear in the book. Another special moment would be in 1988 at the MTV Headbanger’s Ball studio in NYC when Ronnie hosted the show along with Ron Keel of the band KEEL. The photo session with the band in 2000
backstage at the Roseland Ballroom was also memorable. One of those photos made the cover of my book. My Radio City Music Hall show photos from 2007 were the photos that ended up on the cover, back cover and inside the Heaven and Hell “Live At Radio City Music Hall” DVD BY Eagle Rock Entertainment.
You actually have a couple more books in the works, correct? Can you talk about them at all?
Yes, I do Alan. All I can say is one of the books I am working on already came out last year with no press involved and sold many copies and I share the credits with another author/ photographer. Right now, we are in the process of revising his part of the book and there will be press on the book
when it comes back out. The other book is from my time photographing Hip-Hop music but I do add some photos of R&B, Reggae and POP artists in the book.
Where can people pick up your book “A Life In Vision”?
To order a hard copy of my Dio book just click www.wymeruk. co.uk. Tap the Collector’s Items on the main page and then scroll down to see my Dio cover and order from there. It is 144 pages, with many photos plus 4 hard copy 8×12 photos suitable for framing. It’s in a black presentation box with
silver lettering and costs 59 British pounds which is $75 USD. There is a special print run of 500 hardcover books with books still available for sale now at the publishers website. In Sept the book will be printed in soft cover, same size 8 1/2 x 12 and same page count, The book will sell on Amazon and will be available in book stores and certain music stores too.
To contact Frank for music photos or to book a live shoot or photo session please contact him by email at: