Photographer Lisa S. Johnson captures the story behind rock’s most iconic axes owned by Page, Beck, Gibbons, and others—with commentary from the guitarists themselves.

Keith Richards: 1952 Gibson ES-350

"Mike [Cormier] told me that I'd be allowed to photograph one of Keith's guitars and one of Ronnie's. He said that the guitars had been handpicked by Keith and Ronnie, and that they were treasures never played onstage to keep from being damaged. The next afternoon's shoot went as well as I could have wished, and afterwards, Mike treated me to a backstage tour of the band's dressing rooms, each of which had its own name. Ronnie Wood's was called the Recovery Room, while Charlie Watts had opted for the Cotton Club. But Camp X-Ray, Keith's dressing room, was by far the coolest." -Lisa S. Johnson, 108 Rock Star Guitars


About fifteen years ago, Lisa S. Johnson was working as a technical sales representative for Kodak. In order to gain a greater knowledge of Kodak's product line, she bought her own professional grade camera equipment and began shooting still images in her spare time. As fate would have it, one night she found herself at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York, the Monday night court of one, Les Paul. The always-gracious Paul allowed Johnson to photograph his guitars, which, unbeknownst to either of them, sent Johnson on a quest that would span years and send her far and wide in search of guitar players old and new.

The culmination of that journey is available now. 108 Rock Star Guitars is a 396-page, leather-bound behemoth brimming with beautiful, elegant images of some of the most iconic and recognized instruments the world has ever known. The subjects who allowed their most prized possessions to be photographed by Johnson reads like a veritable who's who of rock guitar royalty. More than that though, Johnson's work is threaded with personal stories detailing her own epic adventure to discover and celebrate these wondrous instruments. It wasn't always easy, but it came out looking oh, so good.

x