Joe Rock was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland in 1948, moving with his parents to Australia in 1955. He joined the RAF in 1970 where he was an aerial photography operator for five years. From 1979 to 2001 he was a Senior Photographer at the University of Edinburgh and he continues to work as photographer and cultural historian. Besides his own research and curatorial work on the Greek Revival architect, Thomas Hamilton, and the Victorian photographer, Thomas Vernon Begbie, he has provided photographic contributions to many art history publications. His series of photographs taken in Greyfriars Churchyard was commissioned by Mrs Eleanor Robertson.