Born To Shoot: A Q&A with Photographer Debra L. Rothenberg

For as long as we can remember, everyone around us has loved Bruce Springsteen.

As children, we remember grown adults drooling over his 1984 concert appearances.

We still laugh at the time when an editor — so excited for a story about Bruce — accidentally sent a reporter to one of his sold-out shows a day early.

Even last week, our friend played us a list of Bruce covers that he compiled himself.

Some of us don’t get Bruce but we definitely understand why people like him and call him “The Boss.”

The musician plays energetic shows, pens strong lyrics, and crafts all-American sounds that pulse forward with a raw elegance and a rock-n-tonk spirit.

One of Bruce’s biggest fans is photographer Debra L. Rothenberg, who for the past 32 years has snapped images of the revered musician playing the smallest of clubs and the biggest of arenas.

Her latest photo book — Bruce Springsteen In Focus Photographs 1980-2013 — captures over 200 of The Boss’s best moments.

Said Rothenberg: “When he is sliding across stage, jumping up in the air, wailing his guitar, totally absorbed in his music—those are the shots I like to capture that freeze his peformances in time and make you feel as if you were there.”


Photos of a musical icon. Captured by a pro. Available October 1st.

Without further ado . . .

The NewsWhistle Q&A with Debra L. Rothenberg

Name: Debra L Rothenberg

Date of Interview: Summer 2013

Age (if you want to give it up): 51

Birthplace: New Jersey

Current town: NYC

Occupation: Photographer

1. What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?

Double root canal. OUCH!

2. What’s your favorite movie? And why?

MANY! But the 1968 Planet of the Apes was what made me decide to be a photographer. I thought it was visually a beautiful movie. It was after seeing this movie that I decided I wanted to make movies, and even wrote to the director, Franklin J. Schaffner (and he wrote back!) A few years later, after hearing “for every 1 who makes it, 10,000 don’t” I decided still photography would be the next best thing. Lately, “Seeking a Friend For the End of the World” is my favorite movie. Funny, sad, quirky.

3. What’s the biggest risk you took in life?

Quitting a staff job of 12 years in 1999 and moving to NYC. I knew no one personally or professionally, had only $13k from the sale of my car (which is good for 5 months in NYC) and no portfolio. Best thing I ever did!

4. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

I am very shy.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

Follow your dreams. Never quit, never give up your dream. Take it as far as you can. The sky is your limit. That was from my best friend – my mother.

6. Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?

Paul Rudd. Great actor, great man. Plus he is really handsome.

7. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?

My first book, Bruce Springsteen In Focus Photographs 1980-2013 will be released on October 1.


8. Oh, and some bonus curve questions . . . What are some tips for people who want to look like rock stars in their photos? We’ve heard everything from lean in to the camera to twist your body at an angle. Suggestions?

Have me shoot it!


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