Bubi Heilemann

Wolfgang “Bubi” Heilemann was born in 1942. As a young adult he graduated from photography school in the town of Hanover, Germany. His skill with the camera, combined with a strong interest in music, led to a career as a photographer and editor at a large number of magazines.

Bubi Heilemann is perhaps most famous for his years at the German pop music magazine Bravo, for which he started photographing in 1968. He subsequently went on to function as photo editor, photographer and vice editor in chief at the magazine.

During the 1970s Bubi Heilemann photographed each and every major pop and rock star of the times for Bravo. He was especially active as a photographer of ABBA, who were incredibly popular in Germany. Bubi was there from the very beginning of the group’s international career, taking pictures of the group in Brighton, England, in April 1974, when they won the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’. And he continued covering ABBA regularly up until the end of 1980, when he had eye surgery that forced him to give up his work as a photographer.

Bubi Heilemann’s ABBA pictures have been published innumerable times all over the world, in magazines, books, record sleeves and CD booklets. During the group’s heyday, his pictures even appeared on the single sleeve for ‘Summer Night City’. One of his most famous photo sessions with ABBA took place in February 1976, when he had brought four large letters that made up the word “ABBA” to the studio. The first “B” in ABBA was turned back to front, just for fun, marking the first time that the group had been associated with that spelling of their name. Later in the year, designer Rune Söderqvist created the official ABBA logo with the backwards “B”.

Bubi’s ABBA pictures have been collected in two different books: ABBA: Eine Karriere in Bildern (Achterban AG, 2001) and ABBA: Photographs 1974–1980 (Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2004). His vast archive of pictures is distributed via Interstar Media Service (www.rockfoto.de). Today, Bubi Heilemann is the CEO of the karaoke company Der Karaoke Spezialist (www.karaoke.de).