Bruce Springsteen Through the Decades: See Never-Before-Published Photos by Janet Macoska

Photographer Janet Macoska gives a glimpse into the rocker's life in her 2021 book Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland

01 of 10

The Photo Book

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

When rock photographer Janet Macoska began working on her photo book, Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland, during the pandemic, she came across images of The Boss she'd never seen before.

"I did a deep dive into my negatives and found images that I had never printed—that I probably never even looked at," said Macoska, who photographed the rocker for decades. "Because the way we worked back in the day, I was shooting shows every night."

Last year, she shared some never-before-published photos featured in her photo book with PEOPLE, as well as some iconic shots. Her tome Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland was published by ACC Art Books in 2021.

Buy It: Amazon

02 of 10

Cleveland, Ohio, February 1974

Bruce Springsteen
Janet Macoska/ACC Art Books

"Nobody in the audience really knows him. They just started playing his music on the radio here," Macoska remembered of that first show. "He opens up for an English guitar band. Everybody in the audience wants to see the English guitar band, and here's this kind of beatnik-looking guy from New Jersey. I'm captivated."

03 of 10

Richfield, Ohio, October 1980

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

Macoska has captured many rockers over the years, including David Bowie. She explained that Bruce Springsteen brings a different energy to the stage.

"He's real. Everything about him is authentic and real, and that's how his audience sees him, feels him," she said. "He gives you everything. He'll give you his last ounce of breath."

04 of 10

Richfield, Ohio, October 1980

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

Macoska has been capturing The Boss on stage since 1974. Her technique hasn't changed, even though she's switched from film to digital photography.

"The closer you can get to the stage is the best," Macoska said. "Because you're not just reading light reflecting off a person. You're reading their energy."

05 of 10

Richfield, Ohio, July 1984

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

Macoska only met Bruce Springsteen once, in part, she believes, because performing took so much effort.

"Bruce would be very elusive [after a show]," she explained. "I think because of the toll his body took, for three hours of performance. I know he travels with massage therapists and trainers."

06 of 10

Richfield, Ohio, July 1984

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

The night Macoska met Springsteen backstage, "he came out and hung out with us," she said. "He was just normal. Normal, hanging out, having a beer."

07 of 10

Cleveland, Ohio, August 1985

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

When Macoska photographed Springsteen in 1985, he'd transformed.

"He was this whole new Bruce. It's like, wait a minute. This is superhero Bruce," she said. "He spent all his time getting buff and working out. It got me excited about photographing Bruce Springsteen again."

08 of 10

Cleveland, Ohio, August 1985

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

Not only was Springsteen different in appearance, he brought new energy to the stage. "He kind of recreated himself, with the Born in the USA tour," she said, "and if anybody could get more energetic and more powerful on stage, he certainly did."

The crowd who came to see him at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the summer of 1985 matched him in intensity. The photo book documents Springsteen's special connection to the people in and around Cleveland, who loved his music since he first debuted on the radio in the '70s. For that show, 80,000 fans came out in force.

"All those people, including way, way, way up in nosebleed heaven, all the way up there, staring at him. They were all staring at him, and watching his every move, and listening to every note," Macoska remembered. "Everybody looking at that shot knows it's Bruce, because Bruce has one of the most famous butts in all of rock and roll history."

09 of 10

Cleveland, Ohio, February 2016

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

Macoska has been a Bruce Springsteen fan for as long as she's been photographing him.

"I see him as a storyteller," she said, "and when he sings a song I just kind of figure, it's autobiographical, that it's Bruce."

10 of 10

Cleveland, Ohio, February 2016

Bruce Springsteen photo book
Janet Macoska

With her photo book, Macoska wants to give fans a sense of what Bruce Springsteen is like on stage — not just what he sounds like on the radio or on SoundCloud.

"I grew up when Life magazine was around. What I was attracted to was telling stories with photos," she said. "This book is going to appeal to a lot of people who have been to Bruce Springsteen shows, as well as those that haven't."

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