|Artist/Photographer Gary Nicamin|
Every time the Holidays come around I tend to get melancholy. You think of old friends, old times, and of singing Auld Lang Syne. I think of the good old days. A psychologist friend of mine tells me it’s normal. I was working with a new intern today and noticed he was removing some digital dust from a photograph of a dear friend of mine, who passed away. My friend’s name was Gary Nicamin. He lived in Hollywood, Los Angeles While I’m feeling in the mood, let me tell you about Gary. He was one hell of an amazing artist. I met Gary in 1970 and he was the photographer for Chicago, The Beach Boys, Blood Sweat and Tears, and The Turtles. He photographed all of the great sixties and seventies bands. He was also a full blown art director and master of cut and paste. When I had an artistic technical problem I always went to Gary. He also could answer any rock and roll trivia question you could think of. Gary wore a long Raccoon coat, drove a car that was originally a taxi, and had a penchant for colorful bowling shoes (he had a closet full) which he wore all the time. At a time when everybody seemed to be stoned on something, Gary NEVER drank or did any type of recreational or prescription drugs. His only drug of choice was Pepsi Cola. When he wanted to get really high he would eat a chocolate chip cookie. I could spend a long time telling you stories about Gary. So for purposes of this blog we’ll call this Gary Episode One.
Here’s the story behind the photo; It was approximately a little after 5 AM in the morning. Gary was in his bedroom and I was sleeping on the couch in his studio. I always stayed with Gary whenever I was on assignment in L.A., and in those days it was at least several times a year – usually more. Anyway, I heard sirens screaming, so I got up looked out the window and it seemed like the building next door was on fire. I ran into Gary’s bedroom – he was sitting there reading the LA times and watching the local news. I said “Gary I think the building next door is on fire.” He said”calm down it’s an abandoned building that is being used as a crack house.” He non-chalently, mentioned that it caught on fire frequently. He led me to the window and we climbed through to get a better view. I obviously took the opportunity to make this environmental portrait of Gary. Notice the bowling shoes, one of his trade marks. I loved Gary and I sure as hell miss him. A true renaissance man.