FILL THE FRAME The First Chapter – Peter Paul & Mary

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

PETER, PAUL and MARY

In 1969, a new singing group was performing at a Long Island ice skating rink, a trio, actually – Peter, Paul and Mary. I phoned the local newspaper and asked for a press credential.  I was turned down. I called another paper; same story.  Then I called a weekly, uh, newspaper, containing mostly supermarket coupons, and they said they’d love to give me a credential — if they had any.  Make one up, I was told, which I did, subsequently proceeding to bluff my way into the concert.  I had a Mamiya C220 camera by then, and an ancient, beat up Leica 3-C.  I loaded both with Tri-X black and white film, and as show time approached I managed to work my way onto one wing of the stage.  I had loved Peter, Paul and Mary from the start.  Mary Travers was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.  That hair, those eyes . . . and her voice was from heaven. The moments approaching her opening note were counting down, and I was trembling.  Then, during the sound check, Mary and her partners walked by, and she said, “Who the fuck is doing the sound here?  It sounds like shit.”  I think I grew up at that moment.  I’d heard those words before, just not from a goddess.  Looking back, my photos of the concert were of average quality, except for one shot of Mary, alone on a stool.  I sent her a copy.  Several years later, during one of her TV interviews, there it was, on the sofa behind her head.  More than 40 years have passed since then, and I’ve never stopped looking for the negatives.

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