Joe Stevens

Joe Stevens (born July 25, 1938 in New York),[1] known for a time in England by the nickname "Captain Snaps," [2] is an American photographer who specialized in taking photographs of musicians and rock bands such as David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash.[3][4] Early in his life Stevens worked as a coffee house manager in New York City and took publicity photos of musicians playing the Playhouse Cafe. He was encouraged to pursue photography as a career by rock photographer Jim Marshall.[5]

Stevens did not have any formal training in photography and served for a time as the road manager for The Lovin' Spoonful. He realized he "had an eye" for photography.[1] Some of Stevens' photos have been considered iconic.[6][7] One is of Paul McCartney trying to hide in the arms of his wife Linda during the couple's arrest for marijuana possession on Aug. 10, 1972 after a Wings concert in Gothenburg, Sweden.[8] Stevens was Wings' official tour photographer.

In January 1978 Stevens photographed the Sex Pistols on their only American tour. When the group broke up in San Francisco, Stevens helped lead singer Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) fly to New York City, where Rotten stayed in the photographer's New York apartment before returning to London.[9] Musician Peter Gabriel also visited the apartment. Stevens photographed Gabriel covered with soap suds in his bathtub.[10]

In 2011, Stevens told an entertainment publication that he sees himself as a chronicler of history.[11] In 2015, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth said that Stevens "was really the bridge between New York and London... He was really significant in the whole history that was developing in new music at that time."[12]

Stevens lives in Exeter, New Hampshire.


  1. 1 2 Stevens, Jenny. "Joe Stevens' best photograph: David Bowie chats to a Paris station porter". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  2. Dahlen, Chris. "Picture This: Whatever Happened to Captain Snaps?". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. Broussard, Rick. "Rock Music Photographer Joe Stevens". NH Magazine. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  4. Salewicz, Chris (2008). Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer. MacMillan. ISBN 9781466821620. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  5. Hislop, Christopher (20 January 2013). "Hot shots: Joe Stevens reflects on his time photographing David Bowie". Seacoast Online. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  6. Kanner, Matt. "Shooting the Pistols". The Sound. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  7. Hislop, Christopher. "London calling: Fans of the Clash, head to Sonny's Tavern, where the rockers hang out". Seacoast Online. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  8. Doyle, Tom (2013). Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s. Ballantine. ISBN 978-0804179140. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  9. Lydon, John (2014). Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored. Simon & Schuster, p. 177. ISBN 978-1471137198.
  10. "Pictures: A look at images, not just the rockers," Adam Coughlin, The Hippo, Nov. 3, 2011
  11. Coughlin, Hippo
  12. "The architecture of sound," Christopher Hislop, Edge, July 30-Aug. 5, 2015

External links

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