TIR 106: Talamon Tells How He Brought Funk & Soul Into Sharp Focus


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 106 (2 parts): The first photographer to ever appear on TRUTH IN RHYTHM — Bruce Talamon — one of the most important shooters of African-American music stars. From 1972 to 1982 he compiled thousands of great photos working for SOUL Newspaper and as a contractor for record labels and musical acts. He went on to shoot stills for several top TV shows and feature films, as well as Time Magazine, and released a Bob Marley book.

However, 2018’s Soul, R&B, Funk, Photographs 1972–1982 — a heavy, oversized 376-page coffee table book — has set a new standard for capturing the visual side of that amazing period of music making and legendary artists. It is especially heavy on Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy; Stevie Wonder, who graces the cover; Chaka Khan; Marvin Gaye; Donna Summer; Earth, Wind and Fire, who Talamon toured the world with; Aretha Franklin; James Brown; and historic events like the Funk Fest at L.A.’s Memorial Coliseum. Many of the photos had never been seen before. The book is a breathtaking landmark.

Here, Talamon reflects on his photographic journey and the magnitude of his work, with lots of stories about working with music’s magicians in between. Journey back to a time when funk and soul performers were larger than life, a time when there was no Internet or smartphone cameras, to when Bruce Talamon’s lens was one of the only lights shining on music royalty, preserving their grandeur for generations to come.