Rock Photographer’s Iconic Work Getting Gallery Setting

June 5, 2009
By: Ed Condran Burlington County Times Sometimes, bartering is better than accepting cash for a job. When Mark Weiss was 14 and mowing lawns in Central Jersey, one of his clients offered him a 35mm camera if he would cut his grass for an entire season. "I didn't know anything about photography," says Weiss, "but I agreed to the deal." Great move since the camera was the gateway to a lucrative and satisfying career as a rock photographer. Weiss has worked with sonic luminaries such as Ozzy Osbourne, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera, and he made his mark shooting icons such as Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Paul McCartney.
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Now, after 33 years as a well-respected rock shutterbug, Weiss, who lives in Sandy Hook, right along the Central Jersey shore, will have his first gallery show. Weiss' provocative, dramatic and sometimes amusing work will be on display through June 27 at Resorts Atlantic City. The "Boogie Nights" Pop and Rock Gallery, which complements the casino's retro nightclub, will feature an array of Weiss' shots, his first album cover, Twisted Sister's "Stay Hungry," and outtakes from Bon Jovi's breakthrough album, Slippery When Wet. "These shots were just pictures to some, but to many, they are memories," Jon Bon Jovi has said. Weiss, who has shot for Circus and Us among many other publications, recalls his first encounter with Bon Jovi in 1985. "Jon said, 'I can't believe you're shooting (Bon Jovi),' " Weiss says. "He said, 'I love your stuff.' I must have made it if you're shooting me.' I told him, 'Someday, you'll tell me to get that camera out of my face.' "Weiss certainly paid his dues before he reached the upper echelon of rock photography. "I went through a lot before I was actually shooting people in the studio," he says. Indeed. He smuggled his camera into shows and shot from the crowd. Photos from an Aerosmith/Ted Nugent gig at Giants Stadium during the late '70s helped Weiss score a gig with Circus. "At that time, Aerosmith wasn't letting anyone shoot them," says Weiss. "They were at their peak, but they were also so strung out that they didn't issue photo passes. I gave Circus my photos and they really liked them and one thing led to another."Weiss kept building on his success. He shot Peter Frampton at the rock star's home at the height of his career. Weiss began working for the notorious Osbourne after suggesting that the former Black Sabbath frontman dress in a pink tutu and cowboy boots for a photo shoot. "That was for a shoot designed for Ozzy as the most athletic," Weiss says. "I came up with something funny and it worked. It ended up on the cover of Circus and Ozzy took me under his wing." While shooting Osbourne and Black Sabbath at Live Aid at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium 24 years ago, Osbourne ran into actor Jack Nicholson. "He had the trailer next to Sabbath and so I introduced myself and asked if I could take a few shots and he said, 'Sure.' " Weiss has simple advice for fledgling photographers. "All you have to do is stay with it," he says. "You just wait for the right moment. I don't think photography is a genius sort of thing. expired domains But I love it. Photography has been great to me." The work of Mark Weiss will be on display at the Boogie Nights Rock & Pop Art Gallery at Resorts Atlantic City, 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City. The gallery will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight every Saturday night through June 27. It also will be open from July 3, 4 and 5. Hours are 2 p.m. to midnight July 3 and 4 and noon to 6 p.m. July 5. Admission: free. Originals and prints will be available for purchase. Information: 800-336-6378.    

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