The Doors Archive
With an intoxicating, genre-blending sound, provocative and uncompromising songs, and the mesmerizing power of singer Jim Morrison's poetry and presence, The Doors had a transformative impact not only on popular music but on popular culture.
The Doors' arrival on the rock scene in 1967 marked not only the start of a string of hit singles and albums that would become stone classics, but also of something much bigger - a new and deeper relationship between creators and audience. Refusing to be mere entertainers, the Los Angeles quartet relentlessly challenged, confronted and inspired their fans, leaping headfirst into the heart of darkness while other bands warbled about peace and love. Though they've had scores of imitators, there's never been another band quite like them. And 50 years after their debut album, The Doors' music and legacy are more influential than ever before.
About the photographers...
Paul Ferrara attended UCLA film school with Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison. In 1968, The Doors hired Paul to photograph the band and create their first official concert program. Paul then went onto work with the band shooting footage for their film “Feast of Friends”, and later Jim’s unreleased film “HWY”. Paul was also a musician, and The Doors contributed to Paul’s songs “One More Drink” and “Hopi”.
In 1967, Gloria Stavers was the editor in chief (and head photographer) of the influential teen magazine, “16 magazine”. When the Doors were going to be featured in the magazine, Gloria set up a photo shoot at her studio in New York. She photographed the band, then Jim stayed behind and she shot a solo reel of Jim. It was also rumored that Gloria and Jim were romantically involved.
Nettie Pena was a classmate and friend of Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison at UCLA film school in Los Angeles. As part of her 1966 student film project “Call It Collage”, Nettie went and photographed her friends and their new band “The Doors” at a local club called “The London Fog”. She used these photos and the audio she recorded in her student film.
In 1967, when The Doors were looking for someone to take their first real publicity shots, Bobby Klein was their first pick. He was young, hip, living in Laurel Canyon and was already known for shooting rock album covers. Bobby started out shooting the band on Venice Beach, the Venice Canals, and finished off the day with dinner at their favorite local spot, “The Lucky U”. He also photographed the band and their famous Sunset Strip billboard. Lastly, Bobby went with the band to San Francisco, photographed the band throughout the city and finished off with shots of the band performing at the Avalon Ballroom.
Davd Sygall was already a well known rock photographer when The Doors travelled to New York to play the Filmore East in 1968. His iconic shots of Jimi Hendrix made it easy to get front row seats to witness The Doors’ epic show at the Fillmore. He did not disappoint, capturing Jim at his prime at one of the premier venues in New York.
Jerry Hopkins was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine when he first met Jim Morrison. Jerry was assigned to write an article about Jim for RS and came to Los Angeles to interview Jim. Jerry was invited to attend a rehearsal where he took some candid shots of the band, after which he was to interview Jim. Jim made the interview as awkward as possible for Jerry when he insisted on doing the interview at one of Jim’s favorite strip clubs, “The Extension”, which happened to be right next door to The Doors’ rehearsal studio. Jim and Jerry hit it off so well that the Jim invited Jerry to travel with them to their upcoming gig in Mexico, where Jerry spent the week with the band photographing their every move.