Rae Anne “Raeanne” Rubenstein was an American photographer who focused mainly on portraiture. She is famous for her one-of-the-kind photographs of the art-and-rock scene in the late 1960s. After that, she achieved success in photographing the country music world.
Raeanne Rubenstein became well-known in New York where she worked with such celebrities as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Muhammad Ali, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, and Andy Warhol who later became her friend. Also, Rubenstein published several books and collaborated with People, Time, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, CBS, and HBO.
One of the best portrait photographers was born on Staten Island. Her father, Isidore, was an owner of the Tudor Furniture Company and her mother, Sylvia, was an elementary school teacher. She studied at Curtis High School and then moved to the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
After graduating in 1967, Raeanne Rubenstein started her artistic path by shooting portraits of the stars who were interviewed by her friend Lita Eliscu. Thus, Raeanne met Andy Warhol with whom she worked over the next decade. Andy took Rubenstein under his wing and introduced her to many stars at his Factory venue.
Thanks to Bonnie Garner, Raeanne had permanent access to East Fillmore. There she managed to document many rock acts performed by Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Lou Reed, Joe Cocker, Pink Floyd, Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
Raeanne Rubenstein visited Nashville in 1975. There she was blown away by some personalities of country music. This resulted in a creative collaboration with Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
Rubenstein became extremely popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Miniature but brave and persistent, she managed to earn her place in the media world. At that time, she worked with such celebrities as Muhammad Ali, Abby Hoffman, Rodney Dangerfield, The Beatles and Dustin Hoffman.
Rubenstein’s works usually depicted these iconic photos in unusual, extraordinary and spontaneous situations rather than just formal portraits. Her ground-breaking and attention-grabbing photographs led to her recognition.
In 1998, Raeanne moved to Nashville where she founded the celebrity magazine Dish.
In 1999, she released her book Gone Country: Portraits of Country Music’s New Stars. In this book, she has documented such country music performers as John Anderson, Steve Earle, Martina McBride, Wynonna, Shania Twain, Toby Keith, Faith Hill, K.T. Oslin, Dwight Yoakam, LeAnn Rimes, Steve Wariner, Pam Tillis, Travis Tritt, Rodney Crowell, Tim McGraw and Billy Ray Cyrus.
In 2009, Raeanne started to attend Watkins Film School. Since then, she became a producer and director of 10 short films. Moreover, some of them won prestigious awards at film festivals.
In 2011, Raeanne Rubenstein was a guest speaker in the Frist Art Museum where she presented her early works. This photo show was named “Andy, the Factory and Me.” In 2013, she organized her “Jewish Comedians” photo exhibition at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. Also, Raeanne was a celebrity guest in other no less popular venues.
In 2015, the award-winning photographer made her debut in the series featuring “sky portraits”. This photo exhibition depicts the magnificence of the sky throughout the changing seasons. In her works, Raeanne Rubenstein tells us that we should appreciate each moment when we are out in nature. The images taken throughout one year demonstrate the beautiful sky at different times of the year. Only steel and glass that have appeared in the pictures remind us about the presence of mankind.
Raeanne Rubenstein passed away in Nashville on November 30, 2019. She was 74. In the last years of her life, she suffered from Alzheimer’s. Now her works are exhibited in Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Also, a lot of her photos were featured in the Ken Burns Country Music documentary miniseries on PBS in 2019.