Melissa Mahoney breaks the mold as one of the only female photographers in a rock ‘n’ roll world.
As Aerosmith’s longtime photographer, Melissa Mahoney has captured the face of Boston’s rock royalty like no one else has, and in a male-dominated industry, no less. But when guitarist Joe Perry asked her to take a portrait of his family for his autobiography, Mahoney had the rare opportunity to reveal a much more intimate side of the rock legend. “I wasn’t going in to shoot your typical family portrait, because they’re not your typical family,” says Mahoney. “They’re rock and roll. They’re sexy. They’re a little bit dark and mysterious.” Taking what she describes as an “Annie Leibovitz approach,” Mahoney photographed the Perry clan in pairs and individually in their living room in Duxbury, Mass. When she got the perfect shot of each person, Mahoney then stitched together a master image in post-production. “Joe and Billie [Joe’s wife] and their whole family are the epitome of cool,” she says. “They are authentically, effortlessly cool. Billie is incredibly powerful and strong.” Beyond the mystique of Aerosmith, which just returned from a world tour, Mahoney also wanted to capture the Perrys’ tight bond. “Knowing them, being on the road with them, I’m inspired by them as a family unit,” she says. “They have such a solid family.” That strength, Mahoney says, emanates from the deep bond shared by Joe and Billie: “They’re definitely best friends and soul mates. And they’re definitely completely in love with each other.” Clearly, it shows.