Jay Blakesberg

His suburban youth was spent mostly in Clark, New Jersey, where he first discovered a passion for taking pictures. As a young teenager, Blakesberg began taking his father’s Pentax camera to local concerts.

The Grateful Dead performed at the Meadowlands in 1978 and was the first Dead show he photographed. A few years on the road with a group of people called Deadheads resulted in the beginning of a body of photographic work that continues to this day.  The early 1980s found Blakesberg living in Olympia, Washington, where he attended the Evergreen State College.  More intensive study and focus on photography and filmmaking led him to an internship doing corporate photography and video in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1980s.  This is when Blakesberg started bringing his camera to every musical event he attended.

In 1986, he became the house photographer at the rock club The I-Beam on Haight Street in San Francisco.  This is where he began to photograph the birth of the Alternative Rock movement, shooting such bands as Janes Addiction, The Pixies and Soundgarden to name a few. During the late 1980s, the pace picked up for the number of Grateful Dead events Blakesberg was photographing.

In November 1987, with rumors of a free U2 concert in downtown San Francisco, Blakesberg got a call from Rolling Stone magazine photo editor Jodi Peckman to go and cover the event.  This became Blakesberg’s first published photo in the rock magazine. Since that first assignment, Blakeserg has shot over 300 assignments for Rolling Stone and has been published in print magazines from Time to Vanity Fair to Guitar Player as well as hundreds of other major magazines world wide countless times. It was also during this time period that Blakesberg became staff photographer for BAM Magazine (Bay Area Music), and went on to shoot over 75 covers starting with indie rockers Camper Van Beethoven, and including artists such as Ice-T, Green Day, Primus, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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