Henry Diltz has been unveiled as the winner of the Icon Award at the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards (MPAs) 2023.
Diltz follows Eric Johnson to become the second winner of the Icon Award at the MPAs.
Born in Kansas City, the 84-year-old is based in California and started his music industry career playing in the Modern Folk Quartet in the 1960s before moving into photography.
He has shot more than 250 album covers, including the sleeve of The Doors’ Morrison Hotel, and has photographed the likes of Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, The Monkees and more.
He was the official photographer for the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Woodstock Music festival in 1969, 1994 and 1999 and continues to shoot festivals, most recently this year’s Glastonbury and Coachella.
"Life is an amazing thing to me, especially the visual aspect of it!” said Diltz. “I continue to take pictures all day long because I love everything I see. I guess I have a ‘Framing Jones’. It is wonderful to be honoured for the thing I love doing the most! I also think music is an amazing part of life and so I am happy to help put a face to the sound of so many of my dear friends.”
Music is an amazing part of life and so I am happy to help put a face to the sound of so many of my dear friends
His work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and on the cover of Life magazine in 1971 with a photo of Paul and Linda McCartney.
Alongside the MPA win, Diltz has also been honoured at The Grammys, the Lucie Awards and the International Photography Hall Of Fame.
Abbey Road Studios’ managing director Sally Davies said: “An extraordinary photographer and storyteller, Henry’s work defined an era of music history with some of the most intimate, natural and genuine moments in rock iconography. We are thrilled to honour his lifetime contribution to the art of music photography with the Icon Award 2023.”
Photographer Rankin, lead judge for the MPAs, said: “Henry Diltz’s incredible photographs have been part of culture for over 50 years now. Yet they still feel as modern and emotive as when they were first taken. You may not know that he was the one that took them, but you’ll feel his passion for music and people within every image. When I look at his pictures, I feel like I am travelling back into an incredible moment in music history, and I have Henry’s eye to help me experience the magic and wonder of that time. Bravo Henry, you are a well-deserved winner of this year‘s Icon award”.
Taking place on September 21 at Abbey Road Studios, the MPAs 2023 recognises music images from 2022 across six open categories, with the shortlists to be announced in the coming weeks. Including Diltz’s award, there are also four invited categories, with nominees and winners chosen by the official judging panel, which features Cat Burns, Mae Muller and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, among others.