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.

Peter, Paul, and Mary… God do I miss Mary.

One of my first photography assignments was to photograph Peter, Paul, and Mary.   I will never ever forget it.  For all you technical wizards out there wanting to know why this photo is square, I shot it with a Mamiya C3, 180 mm lens, Tri-X Pushed to 1200, processed in Aquafine, and printed on #3 paper.  Imagine what you could do today… who would believe it?  They start at ISO 1000 today.  Mary Travers controlled the concert.  She was one of the strongest women I have ever met, and one of the most beautiful.  Long live the music, it will go on forever.

©Joe DiMaggio

©Joe Di Maggio

The Missing Angel

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

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.

All the Best,

Joe D

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The Soul of Peter, Paul, and Mary.

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.

© Joe DiMaggio