"Rolling Stone called me to shoot Rick James, and he had that big hit of an album, and he was at the Record Plant in Sausalito working on his next album. Rick James goes, 'Hey man, you the mothafucka from Rolling Stone?' I said, 'Yeah, that's me.' And so he said, 'Hey man, have some fucking breakfast.' And I see two or three scraggly pepperoni pizzas. So now he shoves the tray over. Well, his body was obscuring the ounce of blow that was on it. Oh-breakfast, yeah. Okay. So I had a fucking huge line, and we're shooting, and we shoot a little more. I said, 'Listen, what I want to do is take you to the Golden Gate Bridge, which is, like 10 minutes from here, and I want to shoot you under the Golden Gate Bridge, kinda looking up.' And he said, 'Naw man, no, we ain't leavin' this shit.' And I said, 'Well we can take a little with us. Hey, it's not going anywhere. You got your friends here.' To which he responded, 'That's what I mean, we ain't leavin' this shit.' And I said, 'Well I gotta have something-the studio stuff's good, but I got to have something with the water and everything.' And he said, 'You want water? Let's go across the street.' And I'm thinking 'Aww, fuck.' But sometimes you've got to do this-you've got to improvise. So we go across the street, and all of a sudden he jumped on this rock. He goes, 'Hey brotha, get this one!' And it looks like he's snorting a giant rock. And then he whips out a joint and fucking fires it up. So I've got other shots where he's handing me a big bomber. It was a great little session. There was a little sailboat in the background. It's so Rick James." -Michael Zagaris
Michael Zagaris, known as 'the Z-man', offers the performer's eye view in his photography. Zagaris became the Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin; not vicariously but actually. He donned the make-up and ran down the tunnel onto the stage. As an insider in those days, he took photographs of what was, not what one expected to see, and as an insider today he does the same thing for 21st century bands and artists. As team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers, a title he achieved in '73, and for the Oakland A's, Zagaris is sports' inside-out shooter. Ankles taped and knee pad-clad, he's the guy so familiar to the players that they see him as their own.