No Cameras Allowed

My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer

Non-Fiction - Music/Entertainment
252 Pages
Reviewed on 05/15/2019
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Author Biography

Julian David Stone grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, eventually relocating to Los Angeles to study filmmaking and then enter the entertainment business. Other work besides this book includes screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony, and MGM; the full-length play, The Elvis Test; and several short-form documentaries on Frank Sinatra for Warner Bros. He is also the writer and director of the hit cult comedy feature film, Follow the Bitch, which has played to packed houses all around the country and received numerous awards. Recently he began writing books, with his award-winning debut novel, The Strange Birth, Short life, and Sudden Death of Justice Girl, about the world of the 1950s live television, currently being turned into a TV series.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer is a nonfiction music/entertainment book written by Julian David Stone. Stone is a photographer, filmmaker, screenplay writer and author. As a child, he had dreams of becoming a musician, but his early misadventures with a French horn inspired him to consider photography as an alternative way to be a part of the music circuit. His earliest forays were photos taken at country fairs, but he really wanted to do more. When The Ramones were scheduled to appear at the Keystone in Palo Alto, the eighteen-year-old was ready to get some live pictures with his 35mm camera. He was somewhat taken aback by the club’s security guard’s refusal to let him in. What do you mean cameras aren’t allowed? While his first instincts were to go home, he decided instead to cleverly conceal camera, lens, and film on his person. His hiding spaces evaded even the pat-down the security guard conducted and Stone was in. It would be the first of his outlaw shoots of rock concerts across the country and overseas.

Stone's pictures have intensity and power, and the black and white format works so well for his art. His photos of Sting during the August 18 concert at Shea Stadium are surprisingly detailed considering the venue, even with the lucky burst of rain, and his coverage of U2 during their 1983 concert in Dublin, and the following year in San Francisco is inspired. Stone’s candid shots make the reader feel as though they’re present at each of these amazing concerts, up close and personal, and each picture gives new insights to musicians we’ve admired from afar. He may have been an outlaw taking all these photographs under the table so to speak, but his work is monumentally good. No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer is most highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer by Julian David Stone is a collection of photos that the author took of some of the greatest acts from the 1980s. Anyone who is a fan of classic rock and rock & roll would simply adore this book. This is a definite collector’s item, one that any fan of music would enjoy. I am astonished at the quality of the pictures; they are so crisp and clear that it is hard to believe that the author took these pictures under such circumstances. He creatively took pictures of acts such as Prince, U2, Joan Jett, David Bowie and so many more at their concerts by sneakily taking his camera and equipment inside the venue.

Along with the pictures are some events that he has detailed; events that happened during some of these concerts, from his encounters with stringent security to arrogant roadies and wild concert goers. These little anecdotes offer some insights into the concerts he attended. Some of them were funny; some of them had my heart racing while some simply made me nostalgic of a past that was never mine. The pictures are so crisp and have a sharp contrast. It was a thrill looking at the images of musical geniuses who are no longer with us or who just simply don’t perform as much anymore. I loved the pictures, I loved the little stories that the author shared with us and, more than that, I sincerely appreciate the author’s gift of sharing these treasures with us.

Dan M. Kalin

No Cameras Allowed is primarily a photographic book with text accents in various sections. Julian David Stone is (was) one of those rarest of breeds, the guerilla photographer of rock concerts. The concerts span the '80s and cover many of the known or soon-to-be-known acts of the decade. Big names include U2, Bruce Springsteen, REM, Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Prince, Elvis Costello, Duran Duran, and many more. Stone details how his work evolved from an ad hoc smuggling of a camera into a rock show, to being fully sanctioned as an event photographer during this turbulent time.

As a fan of many of the artists represented, No Cameras Allowed was a welcome walk down Memory Lane. It is especially interesting to see the young faces (except for Chuck Berry who still looks the same almost forty years later) of entertainers I still follow today. Almost like going through an old but treasured personal photo album. Seeing great pictures of The Tubes put a smile on my face which hasn't faded yet. Julian David Stone's writing is excellent throughout, although brief, as he lets his best photos do the talking for the most part.

If it were up to me, I would have enjoyed more anecdotes about his machinations to hide camera equipment as well as those shows where he wasn't able to successfully transit the security teams with cameras intact. I also enjoyed thinking back on the shows I attended during the time period and wondering whether we had seen some of the same performances. All told, this is a wonderful treat for those who lived the '80s, as well as a lens into history for artists' younger fans.

Kayti Nika Raet

In No Cameras Allowed, a book of photographs, filmmaker and photographer Julian David Stone showcases the highs and lows of the rock and roll music scene in the '80s. With beautifully photographed subjects accompanying a daring back story, Stone invites the reader with him on a journey of photographing musical greats from Chuck Berry to Prince, with a certain artistic flair that demands the attention of the reader with each page.

As I was reading No Cameras Allowed, I found myself thinking of each piece of work as a still in a movie, what with how they were arranged and the dynamic employed, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover through his bio that Stone eventually went on to have a career as a filmmaker. His experience shows through with each image. Stone's subjects are primarily rock and roll legends in No Cameras Allowed, but it's Stone's storytelling and ingenuity that really does the most to enhance each shot and bring moments to life. Stone talks about his growth as an artist and the fateful night that started his journey as a rogue photographer as well as the night that ended it.

In No Cameras Allowed, Julian David Stone creates a simple collection that is sure to sit with the reader long after the last page is turned. I enjoyed every passage and feel that this would be a great read for fans of rock and roll, the '80s music scene, and photography. Julian David Stone is a name I expect to be one that I see more often in the future.

Jamie Michele

No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer by Julian David Stone is a compilation of the author's concert photos, taken on cameras he smuggled into venues by any means necessary until, eventually, he was well known enough to be invited by magazines aching for the shots. The book spans through the early and mid-eighties, covering multiple groups with crisp and seemingly up-close photography, and bite-sized stories on how he got in and what the experience was like. They run the full gamut, from receiving some serious stink eye from the lead guitarist of Bonnie Hayes and the Wild Combo to a somewhat haunting Springsteen finale and the end of his career as a music photographer.

I have something of a special connection to No Cameras Allowed, as Julian David Stone has unknowingly captured one of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories. December 30, 1983, at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco, the author and I shared space as we listened to Huey Lewis and the News. Stone clung to a camera he'd had little trouble getting in, and I, at barely six years old, clung to my father's hair as I sat on top of his shoulders. This was my first concert. Nostalgia is a glorious thing and Stone delivers it in spades. The photos are just spectacular and capture the spirit and energy of the musicians, the music, and the crowd. I loved this book and am so grateful for those who broke a few rules in order to bring us pieces of the past, accompanied by the narrative of a man who arguably had the coolest job ever.