Photographer Ethan Russell Recalls Shooting John Lennon And Yoko Ono

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Ethan Russell

She’s not the easiest person on the planet,” John Lennon photographer Ethan Russell shares of Yoko Ono in a new interview with Rolling Stone, “but I got to have such respect for the two of them for what they put up with.”

They were vilified,” Russell, who is releasing a new book of his photography, shares. “But she, in particular, was vilified for 40 years. They really loved each other, and you can see it.”

Ethan quit the photography game in 1978, beginning a new career directing films.

Despite the shift in medium, Russell is grateful to have worked as a photographer during the 1960s, an era he views as a pivotal point in popular music.

“I think it’s historically true and fair to say that it was this generation of people that brought the singer-songwriter into popular music,” he contends.

He then adds some parting advice to other would-be photographers.

When I was around them, I was very shy,” he confides. “I very seldom told them what to do. You get the most interesting pictures when the people are not engaged with having their picture taken. [Because] having your photograph taken — what the fuck is that?

You can order a copy of Russell’s book here.

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