Rock Star Photographer
Born in 1946 in San Diego, California, Larry Hulst is a loyal participant in the concert scene. His collection of nearly 3,000 black and white negatives have framed influential musicians spanning five decades of rock history. “When I first started, I couldn’t afford film,” Hulst shares, “so I walked around the streets of Sacramento with an empty camera, just trying to learn how to focus.” His career began in 1969, when the former U. S. Navy corpsman returned home to California after a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Citing Jim Marshall, Ansel Adams, and Lynn Goldsmith as some of many influences, Hulst is fueled both by his respect for his musical heroes, and his dedication to improving his photography. The hallmark of Hulst’s instantly recognizable work is his ability to depict authentically the raw energy and emotion of the live concert experience. The only prop he ever needed was the stage. “I never wanted to go backstage,” Hulst states, “I want to be where the action is. After all, the ‘show’ is projected out onto the audience. I want to be out there in the audience.”
While building his anthology of iconic rock imagery, Hulst honed his craft at less manic venues. For 27 years, he worked as a United States government photographer. Hulst’s lens caught military activities by day, and rock stars by night. His work covered the gamut of Defense Department activities at two Air Force bases, as well as the US Air Force Academy. He retired from his civil service in 2010, living in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife of 40 years, Laura.
Now, it’s Hulst’s work that projects to an audience. His first concert photos depicted an energetic show by The Who in 1967, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Since then, his concert photography has graced the pages of Guitar Player, Rolling Stone, and Time magazines, several biographies, and numerous books. His photos have been selected for album art for artists Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and Bruce Springsteen. Hulst’s image of Jimi Hendrix adorned the terminal walls of Los Angeles International Airport. His professional network includes working relationships with Getty Images and Rock Paper Photo. Larry Hulst remains a mainstay at concerts and live music events.