Few people exemplify the American spirit with more heart and conviction than Bruce Springsteen. The iconic singer, songwriter, and spokesperson for the common man is bigger than life, yet remains an intensely private man. But award-winning photographer Debra Rothenberg is one of the lucky few who have had a close-up view of Springsteen for nearly four decades, and she’s collected the best of her deep portfolio for Bruce Springsteen in Focus 1980-2012.
Like Springsteen, Rothenberg was born and raised in New Jersey, so she was in the right place at the right time to witness the incubation and birth of an American musical legend. Rothenberg has been photographing the singer for 32 years, ever since she first took notice of the energetic upstart when he was just beginning on the New Jersey stages of the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, as well as less-than-stellar joints like Rum Runner in Sea Bright and Cheers in Long Branch. An early devotee, the young photographer documented everything — on stage and off — and became a trusted ally with an insider’s view.
The book is more than just a walk down memory lane; it displays the dynamic power of The Boss’ message, charisma, and the sweat equity he pours into every performance. It’s an unparalleled collection of memorable and iconic Springsteen photography from a perspective only a true “Jersey Girl” could offer.
“On weekends, I listened to Bruce and dreamed,” says Rothenberg, who has worked as a concert photographer for the New York Daily News since 1999. “I brought my camera everywhere. My life was breathing, photography and Bruce Springsteen. Nothing else mattered. Bruce’s music brought me to another world — another planet, actually. A place where I knew who I was and where I wanted to be: the Jersey Shore. If you have a dream, follow it. Keep pushing to make it a reality. I am living proof that dreams do come true.”
Rothenberg’s photos of Springsteen have been exhibited in galleries and published in top magazines around the world, including Rolling Stone, People, Us Weekly, Q Magazine, Time and Newsweek. A wall of Rothenberg's photos is on permanent display at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. “When it comes to photographers that have documented the career of Bruce Springsteen on the Jersey Shore, Debra Rothenberg has few peers,” says Robert Santelli, Executive Director of the Grammy Museum and fellow Jersey Shore native who has authored books on The Boss.
The 200-page hardback edition contains 276 photos chronicling Springsteen from “The River” tour to “The Wrecking Ball” tour, and many haunts in-between. Costing just $33, it’s a virtual treasure trove of Springsteen moments from four different decades of concert tours in national and international arenas and stadiums and, especially, in his own backyard.