The legendary music photographer passed away yesterday. He was my instructor for environmental portraiture at the Academy of Art College, San Francisco in 1978. A one of a kind, truly great photographer as iconic and larger than life as any of the musicians he photographed (video). He will be missed. R.I.P.
Damage from the 1906 earthquake on Union Street, San Francisco. Twisted cable car tracks between Steiner and Pierce Streets.
Janis Joplin's redwood-studded home at the time of her death in 1970. The hard-living rocker died at age 27 from a drug overdose in a Los Angeles hotel room. She had lived in the wood-shingled, creekside house less than two years.
There were sightings of Doors' singer Jim Morrison and singer Kris Kristofferson, who wrote "Me and Bobby McGee" which became a Joplin hit after she died. Nearly 40 years later, there are still remnants of Joplin's short stay in the house, including a small bar made from redwood burl and wall paneling made by the carpenter who did much of the striking artistic woodwork that was featured in the interior of The Trident restaurant, a popular Sausalito watering hole during the 1970s. There's also a 4-foot-high dog door next to the front door that Joplin had installed for her St. Bernard. A bathroom includes a tiled sunken bath and shower below a skylight that looks out into the towering redwoods. Joplin's pool table still stands in the family room.
"She loved Marin; she bought a house in Larkspur in Baltimore Canyon. That’s when she had the Full Tilt Boogie Band and met Kris Kristofferson, who was not famous at all. We’d sit around and sing country music in her house and then we’d go out and ride in her Porsche. The three of us would ride in that car together through downtown San Rafael. Janis, Kris, and me, driving down the street, waving. It was like the procession of the Queen. Everybody knew who Janis was. Nobody really knew who I was or Kris but we had a really fun time." (Sam Andrew of Big Brother & the Holding Company)
Lotta's Fountain was a gift to the city of San Francisco in 1875 by Lotta Crabtree, wealthy actress and entertainer. It survived the earthquake and fire in 1906 and on a crystal clear Christmas Eve in 1910, at the corner of Market and Kearny, famous Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini climbed a stage platform in a sparkling white gown, surrounded by a throng of an estimated two to three-hundred thousand San Franciscans, and serenaded the city she loved.
Original 1906 postcard showing ruins of 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The Mechanics Monument (Donahue Labor Statue) still stands today. I was ticked to find graffiti on the statue and the homeless sleeping around it.
Two sweet Ebay finds. On the left....An original Civil War era tax-stamped carte de visite portrait photo of Ella J. Young, taken by photographers Pine & Bell of Troy, Rensselaer County, New York. This has the then-required internal revenue tax stamp to pay for the Civil War. The stamp is initialed by the photography studio (P&B). This photo was taken between August 1864 and August 1866, but as she is obviously a "tween" here, this photo was probably taken in 1864 or early 1865. She was born in 1853 so she was probably 11 or 12 in this photo. A life-long resident of the city from a prominent family, Ella was the daughter of Troy dentist Orange R. Young & Maria Bardwell, attended the Troy Seminary for 4 years, and married prominent businessman Stephen H. Williamson, who had a large livery stable and horse/vehicle rental business in downtown Troy. Sepia toned albumen print carte de visite 2 1/2"x 4".
Photo on the right is also a carte de visite sepia toned albumen print c.1870... 2 1/2" x 4". taken by the New York Gallery studio of photographer J.H.Peters in San Francisco.
Stereoview card of Telegraph Hill as seen from Nob Hill. I saw this image in the book "Earthquake Days" and found an original card on Ebay. These are original photographic prints mounted on cardboard. Stereoview photographs are taken by a camera with two lenses, which takes two separate photos about 2.5" apart, which is approximately the distance between our eyes. The photos appear identical , but in fact are both slightly different. When viewed with a stereoviewer, the two views assimilate into one, and the brain percieves the image in 3D. Stereographs (and magic lantern slide shows) were very popular at the turn of the century. 3 1/2" x 7" , H.C.White Co. 1906.
Magic lantern slide showing the destruction of City Hall. 3 1/4" x 4" Underwood & Underwood Co. 1906. Another Ebay find. Basically, a photographic lantern slide is a positive print of a photograph on a glass slide. Lantern slides were “matted” by a piece of opaque paper laid on the slide, which both masked out edges or parts of the image not wanted in the frame. Finally, a second slide of glass was laid atop the glass slide with the positive print and these two pieces of glass were bound firmly together by pasting a strip of paper around the edges. The sandwiched glass plates held the matte or mask in place and also protected the positive photographic print from dust and scratches.The final slide was then ready to be viewed in a lantern slide projector.
© Joseph Greco