From my House to All of the World… Merry Christmas, from Austin, Texas!
I love Births most of all. I’ve learned that they’re the Big Pay Off. It’s easy for everyone to see the significance of a Death; Births are more of a gamble…an act of faith…a ray of Hope… (I’ve “cleaned up” unnecessary detail for modesty’s sake…I just thought I’d say that, since I normally don’t alter images once they’ve been shot.) I love this shot. The overexposed newborn hand is a symbol of Life itself…almost as good as Michaelangelo’s central panel in the Sistine chapel ….Wow.
Back in 1973, Mary Traverse (my first wife and later the mother of my three fine sons) and I moved out to “the country” to get “back to the land”. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had lots of energy and very good intentions. So, we tilled a big garden, bought some chickens and turkeys and got as self sufficient as we could. The house in the background was one of just two on top of a large hill that surveyed miles of empty fields and space–way off in the distance the only other house we could see was the house where they filmed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre–and we really got to know Texas. I love this shot because it conjures up all those feelings of new beginnings, and Spring. When I look at this shot, I literally and figuratively feel those seeds of potentiality in midair; 31 years later I know what they grew into… What an amazing gift Life can be.
In ’78 Tom Waits mixed poetry and theater in a rock setting. This particular show was talked about in Austin, an appreciative, artistic venue/city, for years. Tom Waits is probably the best Rock Poet we have. He takes his role seriously, to all of our benefit. Personally, I just love this shot. It’s one of my all time favorites.
As I was digging through old slides, I ran across this wonderful shot. He seems so….full of life…and I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that he died this last year. I still remember him as he was when I shot him 24 years ago…young and somewhat pudgy…not at all the serious, stark, gaunt figure he was in that last year. It makes one reflect on the impermanent, temporal nature of existence. (At least it does, for me.) Which brings up my self imposed Mission Statement: Immortalize it All! Leave behind Coherant Images That Tell The Story of Life and All I Got To See…. I’m 55 now. I figure I’ve still got 20-30 years of cogniscent story telling….
People are always asking me what my favorite show/performer/artist is or was. It’s a good question, as I’ve seen just about everyone (no, I won’t drop names) since I started going to concerts in 1964…and have been privileged to photograph so many world class musicians since 1971 or so. Of course, the question and answer are totally subjective. So much comes into play; venue. mood or state of mind of the viewer, how good the artist was that particular show, and the incredible momentary fleeting nature of That Particular Moment… In that context, and framing, let me introduce Leonard Cohen. Leonard Cohen’s show on Season 14 (out of 30) was one of my 5 all time favorite shows, and my all time favorite ACL from 26 years of covering that particular gig. And to make it extra special, Leonard hisownself saw this photo and made it the cover of his Leonard Cohen Live album. He’s stopped touring now, but if he ever starts up again, don’t miss Leonard. He does more, with practically no singing voice, than anyone I’ve ever heard. He’s World Class. See for yourself, if you get the chance.
When I was but a child of 23, I had the good fortune of going to a Rolling Stones show. It was my first, and I was very excited. This being 1972, no one said a thing about having a camera, and no one said a thing when I went down to the front row center before the show and took the best seat (my ticket was for faaaar away). Security was almost nonexistant then, and no one told me to leave. I got to shoot Mick from the closest seat in the house. I only had a 50mm lens on an old (even then)Canon AT, and slow Kodachrome 64; and oh, yes, a roll of color infrared film. So, here’s what Jagger looks like in unfiltered infrared. The point of this story is that when I showed these shots to people, they wanted prints, and they threw money at me to get them…and I realized I might be able to make a living doing this. It was so crazy it worked…