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If you’re the affectionate of actuality who pores over the credits of archetypal albums, you already apperceive the name. If you’re not, you’ve apparent the pictures. The name is Henry Diltz, and not alone was he the official columnist of Woodstock, he’s additionally taken the iconic images which adroitness the acclaimed covers of added than 80 albums from the ’60s on, including The Doors Morrison Hotel, James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James, the debut Crosby, Stills & Nash, Desperado by The Eagles, Jackson Browne’s admission and endless others.
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He’s additionally a allegorical musician, a accompanist who plays banjo, recorder, clarinet and guitar. He’s a founding affiliate of the Modern Folk Quartet (MFQ), a acclaimed folk accumulation formed in Hawaii in 1961. He toured with them throughout the country in the aboriginal Sixties and recorded several albums, including the famous distinct “This Could Be The Night,” produced by the abominable Phil Spector.
Just to canyon the time aback on the road, Henry, forth with his adolescent musicians, bought cameras. But none of them took to it like Henry, a accustomed artisan who delights in all forms of aesthetic expression. He reveled in his newfound adeptness to actualize these little pictures, which he could afresh about-face into slides and activity to “blow the minds of my friends.”
And aback abounding of his accompany were acclaimed musicians, he began to booty some of the best beautifully intimate, accustomed and 18-carat photos of these people–which akin the affectionate attributes of their music abundant added than the above accepted flat glam approach.
And so by blessed accident, and artlessly afterward his bliss, his music led him to become one of the arch photographers of his generation, allotment of a new academy of celebrity delineation which consistently afflicted the visuals absorbed to pop music as greatly as these musicians, his subjects, were alteration the appearance of pop music.
Born on September 6 in Kansas City, Missouri in 1938, his ancestor was a pilot for TWA, and his mother a stewardess, so the ancestors was consistently on the move. In WWII, his dad joined the Army Air Corp, and as a kid Henry was a archetypal army brat, active in altered regions every year, from Florida to Alabama, New York, Japan, and beyond.
In 1944, his ancestor died in a alike blast while testing a B-29 over Utah. His mother remarried a man alleged Duke, and Henry–known afresh as Tad–became Tad Duke. A few years afterwards he became Henry Diltz again.
He advised attitude at University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. While there he heard about West Point.
“Someone told me that accouchement of asleep soldiers could appear West Point for free,” he said on a brilliant Saturday morning in his North Hollywood home. “It’s absolute adamantine to get into West Point. So I ample I should apply. So abounding bodies told me what a appropriate attenuate befalling it was, I ample I should go there.”
So this man who would appear to visually ascertain hippies for the draft of the world, as able-bodied as acceptable one, abounding West Point and became a cadet. And he adored it.
“I admired West Point. I admired the aggressive cruise of it, the affectation and circumstance,” he said. “It was a fun bold and I was acceptable at it. It put me in abundant shape. I played 22 altered sports there. And I admired the parades, aback you put on the affected white pants, and the cross-belts with a assumption bowl in the middle. You had to brightness that assumption bowl to get it beautifully shining.
“I admired to advance with the burglarize and the bayonet and the big hat and gold buttons. You angle out in the acreage at dark and they’d comedy the Star Spangled Banner and shoot cannons over the Hudson River. I admired that continued gray bandage and the complete of the cannons bang and attractive bottomward the bandage and seeing all those breast-plates animated in the sun.”
But as abundant as these aggressive rituals annoyed him, he still athirst added than annihilation to comedy music. His adulation of folk music, of Pete Seeger and Bob Gibson primarily, both of whom played banjo, led him to appetite to accomplish his own music.
So aloft graduation, he headed beeline to Greenwich Village, area he purchased his aboriginal banjo. Like accepting his aboriginal camera, it would change his life.
To added his studies, he absitively to go, banjo in hand, to the University of Hawaii. “I capital to go about far away,” he said, “because I had gone to academy in Munich, Germany. So I admired the abstraction of Hawaii.”
Almost anon aloft arrival, as new accompany accustomed his agreeable aspirations, they all gave him the aforementioned name: Cyrus Faryar. A musician-poet and buyer of the allegorical Greensleeves Coffeehouse in Waikiki, he anon was Henry’s best friend.
Cyrus had a alluring agreeableness which drew in artists, musicians and added Bohemian types. One such blazon was the late, abundant songwriter-author-cartoonist and womanizer, Shel Silverstein. He was the aboriginal to admire Cyrus, who was half-Persian and half-Welsh, in song, as Henry remembered: “It was alleged ‘An Arab’s Got a Appropriate To Sing The Blues.’ It had one line: ‘And I can’t ride my biscuit into bathrooms with enamel/ An Arab’s got a appropriate to sing the blues.’”
Singing at Greensleeves and added venues, little groups formed, and in this way the Modern Folk Quartet came to be, with Henry and Cyrus additional Jerry Yester and Chip Douglas.
In 1962 they larboard Hawaii to appear to Hollywood and accomplish their fortune. They were active about anon to Warner Bros, and abutting the drive of the folk bang afresh booming.
Between 1963 and 1966, the MFQ recorded several albums, and toured all about America, arena generally at the admirable Apple Gate in Manhattan, area they opened for comedians such as Bill Cosby and Woody Allen. These were still pre-hippie times, and admitting the MFQ sang folk music, they dressed in suits. “We were adult folk music,” he said with a laugh. “We had adult chords.”
Phil Spector, afresh attractive for a acceptable folk-rock accumulation to produce, apparent the MFQ, and began to benedict them for a flat project.
“For a accomplished summer we’d go to his house, sit about a piano and sing,” said Henry. “He’d acquaint us anniversary what to sing. And we’d sit and comedy our guitars and banjos, and he’d comedy his 12-string. Already we were arena The Cruise (a club on the Sunset Strip) and he came in with his 12-string, sat on a stool, and performed ‘Spanish Harlem’ and we accurate him.”
“At the end of that summer he said he begin the absolute song for us. We went into Gold Star Studios (in West Hollywood) with the ‘wall of sound. (The “wall of sound” refers to Spector’s flat appearance of application huge bands and abounding singers to actualize a badly abounding sound.)
“We did the clue in one day, and afresh the abutting day we did the singing. During the playback, Brian Wilson was there in the ascendancy room, in his bathrobe and slippers, and he’d aloof accept to it over and over and over. We could see him through the glass, but we didn’t go in there. We were in awe. He was our hero. He admired that song. Whenever he sits bottomward at a piano to play, to this day, he consistently plays that song.”
Phil Spector additionally acclimated Henry on banjo in added ‘wall of sound’ productions, including Ike & Tina Turner’s archetypal “River Deep Mountain High.”
“There were like eight guitar players,” he recalled, “six drummers, and me on banjo. Several drummers, consistently Hal Blaine. Big African beard drums. Tambourines, shakers, bang people. One time I sat bottomward and I was abutting to [guitar legend] Barnie Kessel.
“The songs had impossible chords I didn’t apperceive on banjo. But Phil would appoint Jerry Yester too, and he could comedy all those chords on guitar and would bulk them out for me, how to do them on banjo. I’d comedy these arpeggio parts, these abounding genitalia like a waterfall, so sparkly.”
Although Spector was a anatomic and affable man aback then, he banned to absolution any almanac that he wasn’t abiding would ability Number One on the Hit Parade, and so abundant to the abstruse agitation of the MFQ, absitively not to absolution the almanac they ample could be the big hit they were cat-and-mouse for.
Disillusioned, Cyrus absitively to acknowledgment to Hawaii, and the MFQ bankrupt up for the aboriginal time. This was 1966. Chip Douglas abutting the Turtles, Jerry Yester became a music producer, bearing The Association and afterwards Tom Waits and others, and Henry fell in adulation with photography.
Ten years afterwards the MFQ reunited to accomplish an album, and accept aback gotten calm about every ten years to accomplish a new one. Presently they accept an anthology of Hawaiian music in the can anon to be released, and a Japanese bout on the horizon.)
Though Henry was anon to be a austere pro photographer, his adulation was absolutely about art, and never with any ambition of authoritative money.
“I never anticipation of accomplishing it professionally,” he said.”I aloof admired accomplishing it! It was all about accelerate shows I’d accord for my friends. I’d appearance these slides and draft my friends’ minds. And already you do that, you appetite to do it afresh and again!”
“It wasn’t absolutely like photography, even. It was like a little beheld game. I capital to get the account to sing, to get the wow effect.”
But his adulation for capturing active visuals was infectious, and his accompany capital to see themselves in those abundant slide-shows. They additionally accustomed that Henry, a acquaintance and adolescent artisan who aggregate their adulation of smoker “God’s herb,” as Henry calls it, was a accomplished lot added fun to be photographed by the pro photographers they’d known. It was Henry’s amore and charm, as abundant as his abstruse and aesthetic accomplishment with a camera, that led him to become one of the abundant photographers of the Bedrock era.
When Neil Adolescent and Stephen Stills, afresh in Buffalo Springfield, asked him to appear forth to Redondo Beach one day to shoot some stills, Henry took the aboriginal of what became an aberrant alternation of amazing photographs, abounding of which were acclimated for the covers and central sleeves of archetypal albums.
His aboriginal able appointment was for his acquaintance John Sebastian’s bandage The Loving Spoonful. They paid for him to appear to New York, and he appropriately spent a summer demography photos of them. Because he was a acquaintance of these acclaimed folks, his photos were natural, unforced, and a abundant antitoxin to the affected flat glam afresh generally foisted aloft musicians.
Henry teamed up with art administrator Gary Burdon, who was accomplished at designing anthology art, as able-bodied as befitting up a chat with a accountable while Henry airtight away.
“Gary, who was alike added of acquaintance to everyone, fabricated these shoots happen,” Henry said, consistently blessed deflecting acclaim to others. “He was a absolute air-conditioned guy, he could allocution to anyone”
When it’s appropriate that description applies to him as well, he says, “Well, maybe now. But not then. I abstruse a lot from Gary.”
It was a blueprint that worked. Gary would advance a affable atmosphere, and Henry would acclaim breeze away. It’s a adjustment that led to abounding acclaimed photos of that allegorical Lady of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell.
It’s a assignment that has served him well, as he has photographed abounding of the best acclaimed bodies in the world. Henry was never an outsider; he consistently accustomed as a adolescent musician, one of the gang. “With acclaimed people, you’re either a acquaintance or a fan,” he explained.
“We were at Joni’s demography photos,” Henry said, “and she was talking to Gary, aptitude out the window and the lighting was just perfect. I took 30 or 40 admirable shots of her aptitude in the window. As he talked, I did my thing. And that was how we consistently did it , whether it was America or the Eagles or CSN. Gary would allocution and I would shoot.”
None of it was affected to carefully bottle celebrated visuals of bedrock and roll; all artlessly happened in the moment, generally by “accident,” as Henry says.
To shoot the awning of Morrison Hotel, for example, he and the bandage brainstormed about a abeyant title, aback keyboardist Ray Manzarek mentioned a brief auberge he saw abreast Skid Row in Downtown L.A. It was the Morrison Hotel, at 1246 S. Hope Street. They hopped in their cars and collection there; Henry accession aboriginal with Gary to photograph the old façade afore the bandage arrived. Because it was Henry abaft the lens, they were airy as ever, and a archetypal angel was created.
“Jim [Morrison] lived abaft his eyes,”said Henry, “and cipher absolutely knew what went on abaft those eyes. He was a poet–enigmatic, and bemused.”
Soon every bandage capital the affectionate of shots Henry Diltz was taking. Alike the Monkees, formed as an imitation-Beatles TV band, capital the Diltz touch, as Henry recalled:
“One day in 1967 I got a alarm from a guy allurement me to go bottomward to The Monkees’ TV appearance at Gower Gulch. He said they’d pay $300. And that’s what happened–I’d shoot, and afresh they’d booty the rolls of film, undeveloped. And kept them.
“To this day I don’t accept the rights to those. What happened is they acclimated to accept earlier guys cutting photos – like bi-weekly photographers – and the Monkees weren’t adequate with them, they weren’t’ hip, they weren’t allotment of the scene. So they brought me in.
“I’d go there in the morning, absorb the accomplished day. You couldn’t shoot aback they were shooting, because the bang would be audible. So I would shoot aback they were alarm the arena or lip-synching songs. I acclimated to adumbrate amid the ablaze stands account I knew they would never attending at those with cameras, so I was safe.”
Becoming the official columnist for Woodstock, admitting its attendant glory, was as adventitious as his added acclaimed forays. He accepted admitting he had no abstraction whatsoever what it would entail.
His acquaintance Chip Monck, a lighting designer, afresh active in Woodstock, New York, alleged him in 1969 and said, “Henry, we’re gonna accept a big appearance here. You should come.” Henry told him he couldn’t allow it. Monck was the MC of Woodstock; his announcements from date are preserved in the cine and almanac album.
The abutting day Woodstock ambassador Michael Lang alleged Henry. “Chip said we charge you,” he said. “I’m sending you a ticket.”
Henry accustomed at Woodstock–which took abode on Max Yasgur’s acreage in Bethel, New York–three abounding weeks afore the concert would commence. Not alone did he never advanced the ambit of what Woodstock would be, he had so abundant fun active with and photographing the admirable adolescent bodies advancing for the appearance in this abundant ambience that he wasn’t cerebration ahead.
“I forgot there was alike gonna be a show,” he said. “I was active photographing all these hippie girls bringing cafeteria and the hippie carpenters nailing planks. It was a abundant little village.”
When bags began absorption in and sitting in advanced of the behemothic stage, he bent on to what was happening. And admired it.
“[Woodstock] was an amazing event,” he remembered. “I saw it from onstage and backstage, so I could see the flurry and the bustle of it all. Bodies active about aggravating to accumulate it going, get the abutting act out there, because we have 400,000 people out there waiting! And it got crazy, you couldn’t drive anymore, the anchorage were all full.
“I had a little rooming abode a mile bottomward the alley but I couldn’t go home afterwards the aboriginal day because bodies anchored their cars on both abandon of this little country road, so there wasn’t any allowance for anyone to drive bottomward the alley anymore.”
Although he came to admit that Woodstock was way added all-inclusive than anyone could accept planned, he had no abstraction of its absolute admeasurement until he saw a bi-weekly photo.
“It was an aeriform view,” he said, “and we were blown away! That’s us? From area we stood it was like a giant sea of people. It went for as far as your eye could see in every direction, a hell of a lot of people.”
Despite the allegorical expressions of chargeless adulation blooming there, Henry focused on the job at hand.
“I was agilely active photographing aggregate that would happen,” he said. “It was like a feeding frenzy–you attending about and there’s John Sebastian backstage in his tie-dies arena and singing and there’s appealing girls dancing and there’s Adroitness Slick and the Jefferson Airplane sitting on the bend of the date in the afternoon sun, and do you booty all of that or do you booty photos of Joe Cocker, who is onstage performing?”
Henry, which the apple came to know, did a adept job of attention the visuals of Woodstock–all the color, the energy, the music–visuals which went a continued way in establishing for the apple the appearance of the “Woodstock nation,” as it was known.
Henry was already a acquaintance with Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and David Crosby, who performed at Woodstock with Neil Young. Aback they were forming, they’d generally accomplish at people’s parties and astonish their accompany with their amazing harmonies on the Beatles’ “Blackbird” as able-bodied as their own songs. Henry would be there snapping shots, so aback the time came to shoot a awning for their eponymous debut, they jumped in a car with Henry and Gary to seek out some locations for an anthology awning shot.
Like about all of Henry’s acclaimed photos, this iconic photo happened afresh by accident, aback they apparent an old alone abode off on La Cienega on Palm in West Hollywood, which had an old couch in front. It became one of his best acclaimed photographs ever.
“When I took this photo,” recalled Henry, “I wasn’t abiding it would be the absolute photo, but I knew it was absolute acceptable to me, the three of them on a couch. It abounding the anatomy so accurately and was so balanced. It’s all a bulk of mathematics and symmetrics so that it’s balanced.”
The acclaimed awning of James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James was additionally accidental. Although the awkward photos assume to accept appear from a photo affair at a pastoral Massachusetts farm, in actuality they’re the artefact of an afternoon affair in Burbank with Henry.
“[James’s manager] Peter Asher asked me to appear to his house,” Henry said, “to booty atramentous & white promo shots. But the ablaze wasn’t acceptable there, so I appropriate we go to Cyrus’ abode – he lived them at the Acreage on Barham Boulevard [no best standing, it was anchored on the arena abaft what is now the Oakwood Apartments] . There were sheds and barns there, and I adulation cutting about barns, because there’s that old asperous wood. And the way the ablaze comes in the windows is so good.
“[James] was cutting a dejected work-shirt. He was aptitude adjoin stuff, we were talking, but not too much. I didn’t absolutely apperceive his music then–nobody did.
“When he leaned on that post, that looked perfect, and I took a few atramentous & whites, and I said, ‘Wait a minute, James, I wanna get a few blush shots,’ and accomplished bottomward in my bag for my added camera. I aloof did that because I capital to put that in my accelerate show, so I took bisected a dozen blush shots. And those were the ones they used.”
One of the few exceptions to Henry’s blessed draft adjustment was the cutting of The Eagles’ Desperado, for which Gary envisioned the attending of an old Western movie.
“They told us it would be a cowboy record,” Henry remembered.”So Gary got some cowboy clothes from Western Costumes and some guns. We attempt it at an old apparition agronomical out in Agoura. As usual, I aloof attempt aggregate that happened. Gary said, “Shoot aggregate you can. Film’s the cheapest part.” And as The Eagles played cowboys and affected to accept a gun fight, Henry bent it all, assuming there’s absolutely no affectionate of photography he can’t do.
Though mostly associated with California artists, he’s additionally attempt abounding artists whose music was fabricated far from the Golden State, such as Paul McCartney. Henry knew Linda McCartney aback both were photographers in New York, above-mentioned to her marrying Paul. One day sin 1969 she called.
“She asked me to shoot some pictures of Paul and her,” remembered Henry, “for the songbook for Ram. She said she couldn’t booty photos of both of them, so I spent the day with them in Malibu demography photos of them and their family, their kids.
“At the end of the day I did a atramentous & white account of aloof the two of them. And they admired it so abundant they rushed it off to Life magazine for a cover. I didn’t apperceive it was gonna be a cover; I’d aloof been cutting all day. Life had capital to use a Beatles picture, but it was a adventure on Paul, and Paul capital the photo to be aloof of him, account he had aloof gone solo. And they had one added day to get a bigger photo. So Linda didn’t acquaint me, but she got what she wanted.”
These days, in accession to booty new photos, he’s affairs a lot of his archetypal ones. With Peter Blachley and Rich Horowitz, he’s opened several Morrison Auberge photo galleries about the country, which advertise fine-art prints of his own assignment and that of added bedrock photographers.
The aboriginal arcade was in the Soho area of New York, and the additional in one-half of the above CBGBs club in the Bowery. He’s additionally had Morrison Auberge Galleries in Hollywood and La Jolla, with affairs to accessible more.
He lives these canicule in a quiet adjacency of North Hollywood in a home abounding with athenaeum of slides and photos, as magazines and blur companies and added alarm from about the apple defective some of his acclaimed photos. These canicule he has administration to advice him with this best difficult aspect of his assignment – the archiving and administration of his work.
He’s additionally created abounding abundant books, best afresh an amazing collector’s account book created by Genesis Publishing in the UK, California Dreaming, of which a bound bulk of active editions were created. Acclimated copies on Amazon are actuality awash for upwards of $1200.
Henry’s photos are additionally broadcast beautifully through Harvey Kubernik’s archetypal book of Laurel Canyon history, Canyon of Dreams.
And with the acclaimed biographer Dave Zimmer, Henry created Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Biography.
Henry Diltz, in his beheld campaign into the affection of the music, preserved the bewitched ability of this abundant capricious American era. And although the musicians who created that music accept aged, their music is clear by time, the spirit perseveres, and those abundant photos by Henry Diltz remain.
Yet Henry isn’t one anytime to draft on his laurels. He stills looks with admiration at his arresting career.
“It’s funny how I got into photography. I didn’t go to photo academy or study. It fell into my hands. I became one after alike absent to be. And I still adulation it as abundant as ever.”
Though he started demography photos with blur cameras, and anticipation at one time he’d never change, he’s collapsed in adulation with the absolute abeyant of agenda photography. Not alone does he use able archetypal Canon SLRs, he additionally loves Canon’s tiny but amazingly high-quality Powershots.
“These little camera are amazing,” he said. “It’s a abracadabra little thing. I booty hundreds of pictures every day. I booty added now than I anytime did.”
For added advice on Henry and his work: www.morrisonhotelgallery.com
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