MANHATTAN, NY—Joel Bernstein, Henry Diltz and Graham Nash helped launch the newly redone Roxy Hotel, formerly the Tribeca Grand, for a photo presentation of their work in conjunction with the Morrison Hotel Gallery as they took on the legends and lore of Laurel Canyon, intertwining a tapestry of stories and images that define an era along the way.
Henry Diltz met Graham Nash on a photo shoot for his first band The Hollies in 1965 in Greenwich Village. Nash met Mama Cass through a chance encounter with a 15-year-old after a TV taping. Nash then met Crosby and Stills at Cass’ house. Bernstein met Joni Mitchell at a coffee house in Philadelphia when he was 16 and later on met Nash, who was dating Mitchell at the time, at her Carnegie Hall appearance. He then met Diltz on a photo shoot in Mitchell’s backyard at Laurel Canyon, completing the circle.
Besides their stellar chops behind the lens, they’re musicians as well. Bernstein played with Neil Young at Live Aid and on various Crosby/Nash albums. Diltz was a member of the Modern Folk Quartet and Graham continues to rock out as a member of CSN (Crosby, Stills and Nash).
Each photographer told the tales behind their striking images that often overlapped from one to the other. Diltz talked about the famous first CSN album cover and how they realized the day after the shoot that they were photographed in the wrong order. They then returned the next day to reshoot only to find the tiny house and beat up sofa was gone having been bulldozed overnight.
Graham Nash’s candid takes of bandmates Stephen Stills (who Nash called a genius for playing all the instruments on their first album) and girlfriend Judy Collins canoodling in Sag Harbor, Long Island, and Neil Young (who he called an “intense mother f**ker), are ones that could only have been taken by a dear friend.
Joel Bernstein’s shots of Neil Young at his ranch, backstage and walking the streets of Greenwich Village (that made the album cover of After The Gold Rush) show the Canadian singer-songwriter at ease, and you can tell why Bernstein’s one incredibly nice, smart and easygoing dude.
From photographer to guitar tech for Young and Dylan, and now archivist (who corrected Nash on more than a few dates discussed) working for the CSNY camp, it’s been a long, strange trip. 2014’s CSNY 1974 box set included a shot of Bernstein’s of the foursome onstage that was later colorized for the box set.
The photographers signed photos and answered fans’ questions afterwards. It was a beautiful moment. Big thanks to Dawn and Kiva at Press House Publicity as well as Peter Blachley of Morrison Hotel Gallery for another incredible event.
For more on the gallery, check out morrisonhotelgallery.com.