The name Henry Diltz may mean nothing to you. Yet Diltz’s camera captured a whole generation of Sixties rockers on film. He was the official photographer at Woodstock and the Monterey music festivals. Plus his images can be found on over 200 album covers, including the iconic Morrison Hotel album by The Doors and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young‘s first recording.
Diltz credits being a musician, prior to picking up a camera, is what enabled him to hang out with soon-to-be rock stars in Los Angeles’ famed Laurel Canyon, a hippie mecca to singers such as the Mamas and the Papas, Graham Nash, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson and Frank Zappa.
“There was just so much music there and a lot of camaraderie,” says Diltz. He credits many of the shots that were to make him famous were the result of “happy accidents”. His musician friends paid little attention to his shooting because “photography was not a big deal then.”
Talking with Diltz is like channeling a beloved, bygone era. He thinks Woodstock and the ’60s songs remain alive because that time was “like Camelot”. Diltz sees current times as alive with some of that same spirit. “It’s alive in ideals like Greenpeace and the environmental movement and it’s popping up again with Bernie (Sanders).”
He and iconic rock muse, Pattie Boyd (former wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton), are teaming up to present a special multi-media program, Behind the Lens: Up Close and Personal with Pattie Boyd and Henry Diltz. They begin a five–city tour this Thursday in Los Angeles, moving to Nashville on Sunday, then at Chicago’s City Winery on September 16 before heading east to New York City and ending in Fall River, Massachusetts on the 23rd. The tour is being presented by Morrison Hotel Gallery, a photo gallery in Soho and Los Angeles that features the work of 120 music photographers, including Diltz, a partner in the gallery.
Diltz says his segment will feature 100 of his slides (his archive contains 400,000 slides) and open with his tale of making his first $100 for a photograph of Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills. Boyd will also show her rock and fashion photography and tell stories.
Tickets for the Nashville, Chicago and New York dates are available at www.CityWinery.com. To view more of Diltz’s photos along with other music photographers, go to www.MorrisonHotelGallery.com