Photographer Bruce Talamon captured black joy in the glory years of soul and funk. Now he’s getting his due | Los Angeles Times

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White had one name in mind for his memoir photos: Bruce Talamon. The photographer, who has nearly 40 years experience shooting feature film stills, began his career documenting R&B, soul and funk music’s golden age in the 1970s.

In 1979 and 1980, Talamon traveled with Earth, Wind & Fire, capturing shows, rehearsals and moments in between as the band toured Europe, Japan, South America and Egypt. That’s where Talamon took White’s favorite shot, a black and white photo of the musician walking toward the pyramids of Giza.

Herb Powell, who was helping to write the memoir, looked through Talamon’s pictures of the famed funk band and asked the question: “What else you got?”

A light bulb went off. Talamon began to reflect on his collection of images — of Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and many, many more — from the era. It was this eureka moment that led Talamon and his agent to pitch art-book publishers in New York. But they all passed.