One of Rock and Roll's Most Iconic Photographers of All Time
Being in the right place at the right time can sometimes change the entire focus of one's life. That happened more than thirty years ago to Tom Gundelfinger O'Neal. He and his camera were present at the center of the whirlwind that was the Los Angeles rock and roll scene in the late '60s and early '70s. He had unlimited access to some of the most influential musicians of his time, and has the body of photography work to show for it.
Early on, with a profound fascination of all things creative, Tom immersed himself in the study of painting and design at the Chicago Institute and eventually trasitioned to photography. He found himself in great demand by several high profile rock and roll starts. Ironically, he applied both his photographic and graphic skills in the creation of over 80 album covers, including the iconic Deja Vu album cover with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Other notable groups Tom collaborated with were the Rolling Stones, Steppenwolf, Joni Mitchell, Poco, Crazy Horse, The Mamas and the Papas, B.B. King, and The Three Tenors. He developed relationships with entertainers that have created opportunities for many years to follow.
In the '70s Tom was hired by the Peace Corp with key shooting assignments in the Congo. From Africa he traveled to Paris and London where he absorbed the art scene. There he experimented with light and shadow, developing techniques that remain innovative and contemporary in the current artistic photography seen today.
Ready to have a more permanent location Tom returned to California and set up a studio on the Monterrey Peninsula. He continues to work with people, but also continues his passion for still-life, landscape and advertising photography. From the saturated color palette of Mexico to the ethereal hues and shadows of Venice, Tom revels in the process of creativity. In fact, his photos are simply a reflection of his unbridled approach to life. "Whether a still life or of people, each photography represents a burst of excitement," he says. Just like Tom at work. "I photographed over 65 rock and roll album covers. I was part of a small group of photographers who worked with record companies. Most of the time I was contacted by the record company or by the manager of the group, and some of the assignments came from seeing people socially."
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