Henry Diltz, Photographer

Henry Diltz was a member of The Modern Folk Quartet when he and his bandmates bought cheap cameras to help kill time on tour while not performing. He lived in California's Laurel Canyon with neighbors like Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell and members of The Byrds, The Eagles and Buffalo Springfield. His camera was pressed into service out of necessity when his friends first signed recording contracts and suddenly needed photos for album covers and publicity - on the cheap. A couple short years later folk music had gone electric, Henry had purchased a "real" camera and he was the only photographer hired by Woodstock Ventures to document the festival on their behalf.

I feel a deep connection to Henry because I was a musician just a few years younger studying songs written by the artists he was photographing. I looked at his pictures every day. As fate would have it, a few years after I attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival, I became friends with Henry's brother Tim who would hang out at the country studio we used up in Orange County NY. So one day I'm up in Tim's barn sharing a smoke and telling him how much I admire his brother's work when he reaches up into the sawdusted, cobwebbed rafters and pulls down these two rolled up photos and says - "Here's a couple shots Henry gave me years ago, would you like them?" I was dumbstruck and gratefully accepted them with a cough and a hug.

That's the kind of guy Tim is. Many years later I had him frame his brother's photos that were signed in 2009 when Henry hosted a book signing at his Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC. It's an honor to link to Henry's official website, where he represents and displays the work of dozens of photographers. The depth of the site is crazy!

This shot of Jackson Browne, which Henry probably developed and printed himself, is the larger of the two at 14x20. He's sitting barefoot on a brick patio step, young and unassuming, before fame. This print came down from the rafter with a good size tear you can see in the lower left. Henry commented (something like "Crap, this is torn") before he signed it with a dozen people looking on, 8/13/2009.


Here's another unpublished picture, an outtake from the photo shoot for Stephen Stills' self titled first album. It is very similar to the cover shot which opens a little wider to include a three foot red & orange giraffe (from some local fair's midway arcade) standing in the snow. That album, recorded in 1970, is outstanding - in part because two tracks feature rare guest guitar work by Stephen's good friend Jimi Hendrix.