Rick Diamond Bio.
During his career, Rick Diamond has photographed thousands of musicians, politicians, and even some athletes. His images include Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart, Fleetwood Mac, The Allman Brothers, Elton John, Sex Pistols, Dolly Parton, Tony Bennet, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Prince, Michael Stipe & REM, James Brown, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Jacob Dylan and The Wallflowers, Lenny Kravitz, KISS, Lou Reed, President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Hank Aaron, and numerous others.
Rick’s photography career began shortly after attending an Allman Brothers concert in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in 1970.
“I was completely blown away by the guitar solos and Gregg Allman’s voice,” Rick recalls.
When The Brothers returned to Ft. Lauderdale, Rick met and became friends with their tour manager, Twiggs Lyndon. Rick hitchhiked at first and when he got his first car, he drove to their shows in Florida to help Twiggs prepare the stages. Rick was cleared to shoot their concerts, which was a big deal as they were mostly playing in stadiums. His compelling photos were noticed by promoters, and he soon became a familiar all-access photographer at area venues.
In 1974 Rick relocated to take a job processing E-6 film for a company in Atlanta, GA. He was excited to explore the city’s booming music scene. Within six months Rick had discovered Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom, The Great Southeast Music Hall, and Richards. Meeting promoters Alex Cooley and Rich Floyd, and showing them his concert photos, provided him with access to shoot at their venues and shows at area stadiums, the Omni Coliseum, and the Fox Theatre.
“Alex and I became very good friends. He championed my work and gave me a lot of opportunities. I consider him the No. #1 reason I’ve enjoyed such a long career,” Rick explains.
In 1974 Rick also met artist Mike McCarty, and they started a friendship. McCarty’s designs and artwork were featured on a lot of album covers and Rick was often invited to shoot photos of musicians for the covers including those for the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, and the Rossington-Collins Band.
Governor Jimmy Carter was running for President in 1975 and after meeting his son Chip, then the rest of the family, Rick was welcomed as campaign photographer. Rick covered Carter’s inauguration, but the president used a military photographer for his term from 1977-1981. When the president came home to Georgia in early 1981, he called on Rick to take photos again, including the groundbreaking ceremony and opening of The Carter Center in Atlanta in 1982. Rick was an official photographer for the center. He donated his time to shoot photos whenever President Carter needed him thru 2003 when Rick began traveling more for business.
“President and Mrs. Carter are - to this day - the most decent, honorable people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with,” says Rick.
By 1977, Rick was fortunate enough to land almost all the record label accounts in Atlanta, including CBS, Sony, Warner, MCA, and Polydor.
“I met promoter Peter Conlon in 1979 when he was working in DC for President Carter,” explains Rick. “He organized fundraisers for Carter’s re-election, including concerts by Jimmy Buffett and Charlie Daniels at the Fox Theatre. When Carter lost and Peter moved back to Atlanta, we remained friends. In 1980 Peter became partners with Alex Cooley at Concerts/Southern Promotions. They presented major artists and bands in venues around the southeast and launched Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival in 1994. Currently, Peter is president of Live Nation Atlanta.”
In 1979-1980 Rick’s friend Andrew Slater, a journalism major at Emory University, was offered a gig to go on the road with The Eagles as a journalist. He recruited Rick as his photographer. After three dates, Don Henley and Glenn Frey said YES to Andrew as their official journalist and Rick as the official photographer for “The Long Run” tour, and they were invited to fly with the band from city to city.
Around this time Rick met one of the most respected and powerful women in the music industry, Frances Preston who became CEO of BMI Music. He was hired to be part of the BMI team of photographers and was given all-access to photograph the stars who attended their annual awards ceremony, always held the night before the CMA Awards. This was his opportunity to have his images published in national magazines.
“I lucked into getting the largest PR/advertising agency in the Southeast as a client thanks to one-time girlfriend Karen Hatchett who introduced me to Michael Parver Associates,” states Rick. “MPA handled almost every movie premiere including the 1981 premiere of William Diehl’s Sharky’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds where I had all access. When the disco craze arrived, MPA did PR for the hottest clubs. LIMELIGHT was the best. Celebrities like Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, The Village People, Madonna, and Tom Cruise would show up regularly and I became the nightclub’s house photographer.”
For eight years, starting in the mid-1980s, Rick was the photographer for the NFL Players Association, covering about seven events a year around the US, starting with events leading up to the Super Bowl.
In the late 1980s record companies experienced a recession and cut spending. Though they weren’t hiring Rick, his fortune continued when he landed gigs with the major Atlanta radio stations that booked him for events, parties, and promo headshots of their DJs.
In 1990 friends Rob Senn (formerly of Atlantic Records) and Mike Green, President/CEO of The Grammys/Recording Academy, with support from famed entertainment attorney Joel Katz, asked Rick to shoot The Grammys in LA, becoming The Recording Academy’s official photographer until 2000.
Around 2002, Rick became part of a team of photographers for WireImage shooting celebrities and entertainment events. He brought many of his accounts with him.
In 2007 Getty Images bought WireImage. Getty was looking to expand their entertainment coverage and hired Rick as a full-time staff photographer. Rick brought his A-List accounts, including record labels, agencies, BMI Music, The Grammys, and all CMT’s events as well as their annual awards show. While shooting for Getty, he spent more than 200 days a year in Nashville, covering the CMT and ACM Awards, as well as concerts and events at The Ryman Auditorium, TPAC, Ascend Amphitheater, and nearly every club in town. Through Getty, Rick’s photos have been seen in media outlets around the world.
In 2018, Rick semi-retired. He loves music and when bands and artists, old friends he’s made throughout his career, are performing nearby, they often invite him to the show. Recently that included The Rolling Stones. Lynyrd Skynyrd and STYX. Of course, he grabs a camera and goes!
"It’s been a great journey. It seems I was always in the right place at the right time.”