The Man Behind the Lens: Ross Halfin

While many photographers have worked with Soundgarden throughout the decades, no man has captured more iconic shots of our guys than the noble and artful Ross Halfin. His accomplishments are extraordinary, having worked with some of the most notorious musicians of our time, and for some of us, even before our time. That’s right; Ross has accumulated some of rock’s most iconic photos over the span of 40 years and each image preserves a moment in music history.  

His career began in the 70s working for Sound Magazine where he mostly hung around the punk scene shooting bands like The Clash, The Jam, and The Sex Pistols. If that doesn’t impress you, maybe his work with AC/DC, UFO, Rush, Journey, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and Black Sabbath might. Oh, not to mention Freddie Mercury, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Status Quo, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Van Halen, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta and, believe it or not, many more. Quite the impressive curriculum vitae, isn’t it?

Ross has taken both posed and candid shots of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Chris Cornell solo while on tour spanning from the 90s until the most recent ‘I am the Highway’ tribute show in 2019 immortalizing the legend that is Chris Cornell after his untimely passing. Since Ross spends much of his time behind the camera, we felt an appreciation post was long overdue. Who is this man that has gifted us with so many remarkable photographs of these bands we love so much?

Not only is Ross a gifted photographer, but he’s also a friend of the band and Chris Cornell in particular. After knowing each other for 30-some odd years, you can imagine how many unforgettable moments these two artists have shared. In many of Ross’s images of Chris, you can see that Chris’s smiles and expressions are genuinely authentic. There is no forced emotion in those photographs; they feel organic and honest. It’s obvious he was comfortable in front of the camera when Ross was behind it.

© Ross Halfin Photography

© Ross Halfin Photography

It’s nearly impossible to round up even a small percentage of the thousands of pictures Ross has taken of Chris and all of the bands, but what’s an appreciation post without a peek at some of the masterful photography Ross has given us? In an age where many pictures are ripped from various online sources and thrown up onto Pinterest without any credit, let’s all give some recognition to the man that has truly made his mark in the music world through his photographs.

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The most natural place to start is with his photographs of Soundgarden. From the 90s to now, each photograph has its own feeling, sealed with a memory.

All photos belong to ©Ross Halfin Photography


Chris Cornell’s solo career picked up in 1999 and never stopped. Even after his passing, we’ve been blessed with beautiful previously unreleased tracks. Ross was there to capture every hair phase, smile, guitar lick, and wave, and we are grateful for it.

All photos belong to ©Ross Halfin Photography


Audioslave came through the music scene like a freight train during a pivotal point in Chris Cornell’s life and career. This was a time before cell phones had advanced cameras, so many of us are left to rely on our memories from live shows. Thankfully, Ross has some wonderful captures from those years.

All photos belong to ©Ross Halfin Photography


The “I am the Highway” Chris Cornell tribute on 1/16/2019 was an emotional five-hour affair that took place at The Forum in Los Angeles. Who better to photograph such an event than someone who was a friend of Chris’s and could always capture him in his truest light?

All photos belong to ©Ross Halfin Photography


One of our favorite parts of Ross Halfin’s website is where he lists his diary entries. Like this one where he saw Chris perform at Albert Hall and took some beautiful shots of him while on his Higher Truth tour. Or the night before when Jimmy Page joined him in the audience. If you take some time to dig deeper into entries from previous years, you’ll notice he never forgets to wish Chris a happy birthday and supplements his post with some pictures that many of us have never seen before.


If you want to take a peek into Ross Halfin’s life, browse and soak in these entries. His thoughtful descriptions read like the fantasy rock ‘n roll life we all wish we could live and coupled with enchanting personal photos. Hopefully, at some point, we may see a complete Chris Cornell collection in the form of a photo box set or presentation like he did for Lemmy from Motörhead. Who knows what his vault holds? There are probably some real treasures in there.

Soundgarden fans have always cherished pictures of the band, collecting them, continually seeking out rare and never-before-seen images of the guys. Since Chris’s passing, these pictures seem to hold even more value now as we’ve lost such an irreplaceable part of music as a whole. That’s why we feel it’s important to praise the man behind the camera and give him some well-deserved recognition for all the photos he’s given us throughout 30 years of Chris’s career. Thank you, Ross Halfin, for your pictures and stories, and for sharing them with us.


Check out this video of Ross’s Sojourner: Travel Photography to see what he’s taking pictures of when he’s not rockin and rollin.

If you’ve ever wanted to own a signed original Ross Halfin print, they are for sale! You can also sport the same t-shirt as Chris, and show your support! Also, make sure to follow Ross Halfin on Instagram, where he frequently posts his photos, including many of Chris Cornell.

©Ross Halfin Photography

©Ross Halfin Photography