Henry Diltz

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Henry Diltz
Henry Stanford Diltz

(1938-09-06) September 6, 1938 (age 85)
Known forMusic photography

Henry Stanford Diltz (born September 6, 1938, in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American folk musician and photographer who has been active since the 1960s.[1]



Among the bands Diltz played with was the Modern Folk Quartet. While a member of the Modern Folk Quartet, Diltz became interested in photography, met The Monkees, played on some of their recording sessions, and took numerous photographs of the band, many of which have been published.

His work also attracted the eye of other musicians who needed publicity and album cover photos. He was the official photographer at Woodstock, and at the Monterey Pop Festival and Miami Pop Festival, and has photographed over 200 record album covers.[citation needed]

Diltz photographed 1960s folk-rock stars who lived in Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon.[2] During that time, Laurel Canyon was a center of American music.[3] Many rising stars were drawn to Laurel Canyon, a laid-back neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills.[4] Diltz recalled: "There was a sense of brotherhood in all of this - in the music scene, in Laurel Canyon, certainly at Woodstock. But all the people I photographed: I love their music."[4]

Photo of The Doors by Henry Diltz, used on the cover of Morrison Hotel.[5]

One of Diltz most recognizable works is his photo of The Doors, which was used on their 1970 album Morrison Hotel. The album cover photograph was taken at the Morrison Hotel on South Hope Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The band were not given permission to photograph, so they did it while the clerk was called away from the desk. The band were said to have jumped right behind the windows and hit their places without shuffling as Diltz took the shot.

Later works[edit]

Diltz contributed all the photographs to the 1978 book California Rock, California Sound, which archived the Los Angeles music scene of the 1970s. British writer Anthony Fawcett provided the bulk of the text. He also has a book titled California Dreaming, from Genesis Publications UK.[6] The self-published Unpainted Faces book of black and white photographs was released through Morrison Hotel Gallery.[7]

Diltz is co-founder along with Peter Blachley and Rich Horowitz of the Morrison Hotel Gallery[8] in SoHo, New York City, and in West Hollywood. The galleries specialize in fine-art music photography, including his own works.[9]

Diltz is still active, including a role as contributing photographer to The Henry Rollins Show. He was among the 43 photographers invited to donate a print to "FOCUS: an auction of the finest photography to benefit City Harvest...." The fund-raiser was on September 18, 2008, supported City Harvest, a food collection bank in New York City.[10]

In 2023, Diltz received the lifetime achievement prize at the Abbey Road Music Photography Awards.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He has two children (Zoe Diltz Pratt and Nicholas Harrison Diltz) with Elizabeth Joy Grand Diltz.[citation needed]

Diltz lives in California. The archive in his bungalow in North Hollywood, California, holds some 800,000 photographs, alphabetized from "A" (for America) to "Z" (for Zappa).[citation needed]

In 1971, he and songwriter Jimmy Webb nearly died in a glider aircraft accident. Webb was piloting and Diltz was shooting 35mm motion picture film from the rear seat. Both suffered significant injuries. The film did not survive.[12]


Modern Folk Quartet[edit]

  • Road to Freedom / It Was a Very Good Year (9/1963)
  • The Love of a Clown / If All You Think (10/1964)
  • Every Minute of Every Day / That's Alright with Me (4/1965)
  • This Could Be the Night (11/1965)
  • Night Time Girl / Lifetime (3/1966)
  • Don't You Wonder / I Had a Dream Last Night (5/1968)


  • The Modern Folk Quartet (1963)
  • Changes (1964)


  1. ^ "Iconic Images From Rock And Roll Photographer Henry Diltz". www.WBUR.org. April 23, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  2. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (May 25, 2013). "Henry Diltz:caught in the Canyon". TheGuardian. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Mason, Anthony. "Capturing an era of rock nobility on film". CBS Interactive Inc. CBS News. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Lachno, James (April 7, 2014). "Henry Diltz Q & A: the story of Laurel Canyon and LA folk". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  5. ^ Densmore, John (1991). Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors. London: Bloomsbury, Arrow. p. 234. ISBN 0-09-993300-4.
  6. ^ "CALIFORNIA DREAMING - Photographs by Henry Diltz -". Genesis Publications. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  7. ^ "Morrison Hotel Gallery - Unpainted Faces - Henry Diltz (Soft Cover)". MorrisonHotelGallery.com. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "Morrison Hotel Gallery". www.MorrisonHotelGallery.com. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "Henry Diltz Photography - Rock N Roll Photographer". MorrisonHotelGallery.com. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  10. ^ FOCUS[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Henry Diltz: Rock's 'accidental photographer' wins lifetime achievement prize". BBC News. September 20, 2023. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  12. ^ Diltz, Henry (1996). Under the Covers: Interactive CD-ROM - The music, artists and stories behind the album covers you love. ISBN 1-57-707751-2.

External links[edit]