There comes a time when my words are just not important . The last time I saw Toshi Seeger was June 9th at the Strawberry Festival in Beacon. She looked absolutely beautiful next Pete’s side as she’s been for almost 70 years.
I did not know Toshi but respected her. In an interview on Thursday Pete Seeger called his wife of almost 70 years “the brains of the family” and said it was she who figured out how to turn his artistic concepts into a commercial successes. “I’d get an idea and wouldn’t know how to make it work, and she’d figured out how to make it work,” he said.
My dear friend Jerry Beaver who is the director of the Black Bear Film Festival and owner of the Milford Theatre, after a Pete Seeger concert at his Theatre came across a piece of rolled up paper with words on it by Toshi, which he believed belonged to Pete. He knew how much I loved Pete and gave me this piece of paper on loan to be used for a future blog. When he gave it to me he did not know it would be used for my blog tribute to Toshi Seeger. I am posting it for the world to see.
To all the ships at sea, I remember the first time that JoAnne photographed Richie Havens at a great club called My Father’s Place. What was so outrageously cool about clubs like that is that you could be literally five feet from a superstar. So for the cost of a beer, a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee, life was great; at least before the no photograph rules. I remember I was so jealous; I was in California and she was with Richie. Richie invited JoAnne and her friend into the dressing room, signed some autographs, and was just plain Richie, which means he was just a great guy with a great attitude; never a prima donna. Super voice and super guitar.
To all the ships at sea, there are certain consistencies or better we call them truths in life. For me, one of these truths is to always to seek the advice of the elder of the village. I presume that this has been the way of the world from time immemorial, and here you see Dylan Michael communicating with our dear friend Richie Havens, discussing whether to use a pick or not. I think the conversation progressed to lyrics and Woodstock; I was personally not privileged to the conversation. I made the photo and moved on. There is one thing that never ceases to amaze me; how important photography is in all of our lives. I totally forgot about this photo, but while doing some research on Pete Seeger, I stumbled across Dylan with Richie. Canon F1, Fujichrome, about 1/90, bounce flash, 50mm lens. Pick an aperture; I don’t remember. Sing in peace, Richie. You’re probably sitting on a solid gold stool. Great times of our lives, suspended in photography.
This is extremely difficult for me to write. We have been photographing Richie Haven’s on and off over the years for a long time. We stopped counting the number of concerts a long time ago. Richie on stage was one of the greatest performers of our time. Back stage he was a just a regular guy. The last time he called me he asked permission to use three of my photos in a new book. I will have a follow up blog and a tribute to Richie in a few months. Sing in Peace Brother…
I spoke with a NASA scientist a few years back and we were discussing radio telescopes and he explained to me that a note played or sung will go on for infinity so I know Richie’s music will continue on…
I remember the first time I heard the words, “Photo” and “Hills and Valleys”. It was at TIME magazine end of year party. A great up and coming assistants decided to quit. When I asked him why, he said too many hills, too many valleys. The valleys are just too deep. I’m gonna take a 9-5 job. Suffice it to say, I was totally shocked. He was poised to be a staffer in a few years. Well we all make decisions we have to live with. The last 2 weeks I’ve been in a valley. This morning I went to the gym and watched the sun come up. It was glorious. I closed my eyes and I could still see every bit of that sunrise. My iPhone was playing an angel, Mary Travers. The combination of her voice, my eyes shut tight and that sunrise, I got out of the valley and onto Kilimanjaro. It’s amazing how music and photography really go together. No sooner I said that- I went looking for this Mary Travers photo which will be the first photo in my new book. The problem is I can’t find the negative and I’ve been looking for it for about ten years. I made a litho print and hand colored it…not my strong suit. That’s all I have for you today guys. The moral of this story is take real good care of your originals, make sure they’re put away properly so you’ll be able to retrieve them when you’re getting ready to do your memoirs.
Last night I was pleasantly surprised to see my old friend Pete Seeger looking young and vibrant. I met Pete for the first time in 66— oops, I’m only 29— somebody’s not telling the truth. There is an expression that is overused, and that expression is “he or she is one-of-a -kind.” Let me be perfectly clear; there is only one Pete Seeger, and there will never be a second. He is truly one of the greatest human beings God put on this earth. At 93, he sounds like he’s 53.
To all the ships at sea, get a glass of wine, a beer, or cup of coffee, and sit down and listen to a a little bit of Pete Seeger’s music. By the way, he’s got a new book coming out and I certainly will be purchasing one
Every person’s life is marked with milestones. One of my milestones at age 18 was photographing a folk group by the name of Peter, Paul, and Mary. It was one of their early performances. I was totally blown away by the music and mesmerized by Mary Travers. She was a blonde with a beautiful frame, beautiful hair, and a great voice. It just doesn’t get better than that at age 18. On September 16, 2009 the world lost one of the most beautiful people that God put on this planet. I loved her then, and I love her today. All of my original negatives are somewhere in photo limbo. I have been looking for them for a long time. Eventually, I will find them. I am posting this particular photo, which was an original black and white and then made into an orthochromatic print on a textured matt paper which I painted over a very long time ago. The original black and white hung over Mary’s couch for many years. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, I will do another tribute to Mary when I find my original negatives.