the time I met the members of the Grateful Dead and joined the inner
core of their family of friends, I was deeply immersed in an alternative
culture made up of artists, underground radio disc jockeys, musicians,
coffee house bartenders, vagabonds, actors, poets, and improv comedians.
It all came together for all of us from the mid-'60's onward, in
North Beach and in the Haight, in the parks, and in the dance halls
and nightclubs, where we loudly celebrated life and friendship through
music, art, poetry, sharing, laughter, and largely indiscriminate
behavior of all kinds.
Since I'd already been photographing the events and people in my life for
years, it was mostly routine for me to take pictures during those special
years. This was especially true with the Dead, starting
with the early days when we were all just hanging out together and I
happened to have a camera with me much of the time. Even later on, during
the middle years of their success, gaining access to the Dead to take photos
wasn't too much of a huge deal. Of course, it helped a lot that I'd been around
"forever", but still,
it was casual and friendly. I just had to know when it was ok to take pictures
and when to put down the camera. I treasured the access I had and respected
the boundaries that were set, and I got some nice shots over the years. When
things got a little dicey as a result of the Dead's worldwide fame, I most often put
down the camera. Instead, I concentrated on my duties as their travel agent, or their
translator, or just on being a friend hanging out behind the scenes at gigs,
recording sessions, or other locations. But later on, it got more and more
difficult to take photos of the Dead and my other musician friends, and after a while, I just
The '70's brought many changes to my life, starting with a luminous trip to my birthplace, Paris, my first since I'd left there as a child.
I'll always treasure the memory of arriving at the Eiffel Tower
at dusk on the back of my good friend Milan Melvin's motorcycle.
We stared in awe at the City of Light, exhausted from an incredible
brain-rattling ride through many cobblestone-paved villages all
the way from France's northern coast, where we'd earlier led the
throng of cars coming off the Dover-Calais ferry with a proper Harley-Davidson