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WOODSTOCK, 40 YEARS LATER

Woodstock photos to be exhibited at Duncan Miller Gallery in Venice

August 09, 2009|Juliette Funes

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, an array of books, movies and concerts has sprung up nationwide. The festival's enduring appeal was very much aided by striking photography, and art galleries are now displaying many of those memorable images of peace, love and hippie culture.

One collection will be at the Duncan Miller Gallery in Venice, where never-before-seen vintage prints by Jim Marshall, Baron Wolman, Henry Diltz and Lisa Law will be on display from Saturday through Sept. 25. Images by Burk Uzzle are on view at the Laurence Miller Gallery in New York.

Wolman, an original staff member of Rolling Stone magazine, had an all-access pass and traversed the cow pastures to photograph the crowds near the stage, people bathing in the river and serene hippies dancing in the middle of the field, resulting in almost 40 rolls of film.

"Everywhere you turned, there was more interesting people and another interesting photograph," he said. "I was so fascinated by the people and the situation, much more so than the music," he said, adding that concertgoers looked like refugees.

Diltz was recruited by promoter Michael Lang, who paid him $500 to be the official photographer. He took thousands of pictures of the musical acts and behind-the-scenes moments.

When he wasn't shooting Jimi Hendrix and other performers, Diltz observed the peace and harmony of the communes and the massive crowd.

"The message to the world was, 'Look -- we're the peace and love generation. It can work,' " he said. But it wasn't pretty, he said. "There were sleeping bags and piles all over the place. . . . It looked like the aftermath of a big battle, although it was a peaceful battle."

Capturing the essence of love and peace, Uzzle's photograph of a young couple gently embracing under a blanket emerges as the most lasting image of Woodstock. Like the photo, the pair -- Nick and Bobbi Ercoline -- have stood the test of time and remain together 40 years after the mythic event.

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