Sunday, 14 February 2010

Marc Weinstein at Shea Stadium

Copyright The Philip Kamin Collection.

At the age of 16, Marc Weinstein was rummaging around in the basement of his grandparents' house. He found an old Argus C3 that belonged to his grandfather who had passed away. He later obtained a 2 1/4 camera. Marc was interested in the art and armed with his grandfather's treasure, he set out to try his hand at photography. Within a month, he took pictures of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and the daughters of President Lyndon Johnson at very close range. From that point, he was smitten by photography. As he relates: "I went from being a bookish introvert with no friends to an extrovert and minor celebrity."

As an avid fan of the group from England that was growing in popularity all over the world, Marc seized the opportunity in 1964 to photograph the Beatles from the front row in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 16 years old and had only been in photography for 6 months.

The following year, the Beatles were not going to play Baltimore but he was determined to see them again. A local radio station arranged a caravan of five Greyhound buses to New York City for the Beatles' Shea Stadium concert on August 15th. Marc got a ticket and took off with the fans for New York. On the trip, he sold over $200 worth of 3x5 prints from the year before at 50 cents a piece. Below, he tells the story of how he was able to accomplish his goal to photograph the Beatles once again.

"Once inside Shea, I had no intention of going to my seat. By that time, I had a year's experience at the Baltimore Civic Center photographing the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5 along with Sonny and Cher among others. I had perfected my 'method of operation'. Get there very early, wear a suit, and act like you belong. Once inside Shea, I immediately went down to the lower concourse where the dressing rooms, locker rooms, concession vendors were. I walked to every door and turned the knob, hoping it would take me somewhere. Where, I didn't know, but anywhere close to the field."

"Finally, after 20 minutes of working the lower concourse, a knob turned and the door opened. Fright? Panic? I can't quite recall except a sudden feeling took over telling me to 'take control'. When I turned that knob, it changed my life forever."

"There I was; having a phony press pass from the radio station, my 4-year-old Bar Mitzvah suit (it was my 'lucky suit' though the pants cuffs were 4 inches above my shoes), two empty camera bags, and 2 cameras."

"I paused, swung open the door and stepped in the room. It turned out to be a locker room full of NYC policemen for crowd control! Wow! What do I do? Turn and leave? No! I was determined to seize the opportunity. Boldly, I walked up to the first policeman and in my best fake British accent I said, 'Excuse me, Sir. I'm with the Beatles' entourage and I got separated from the group. Would you take me to the stage, please?' He looked at me, my 'press pass' and said, ' Sure. Follow me.' I stayed right behind him while he escorted me to the left field gate and told the guard at the gate, 'Let this guy out. He's with the band.' I thanked that policeman and with authority, walked through the gate out onto the grass that warm, August night."

"The moment I stepped out, my body was electrified like I had never felt before and have never felt since. The image of walking onto that empty field, taking in the crowd of 55,000 people, and spotting the stage at second base in front of me is all I can really remember. It was a moment frozen in time; forever in my mind. After a few feet, I became aware of shouts and screams from the stands. I think they thought I was Ringo because I have a big nose!"

"That same electrifying feeling still comes to me whenever I see the Fab Four in a film or even just hear any of their songs. I feel it and it always comes back. It was my moment frozen in time."

"For the duration of the concert, I took photos from different angles and different sides of the stage. At one point, the Beatles' staff photographer, Robert Whitaker ran out of film and I actually gave him one of my rolls! I only did it so I could make future connection with the Beatles. A couple of weeks later, I sent some shots to him at Nems Enterprises, Ltd reminding him of who I was. Instead of hearing back from him, I received a letter from Tony Barrow, the Beatles' publicist, and some autographed, promotional photos of the Beatles."
Copyright The Philip Kamin Collection.

"That was a nice gesture; however, I had the best gift I could ever want…my own art photography of the Beatles during the most exciting concert of their career; right at their side."
Copyright The Philip Kamin Collection.

Marc's 49 - 35mm images of the Fab Four were later acquired by professional photographer Phil Kamin and they are now up for auction - copyright included - by Legendary Auctions. The starting bid is $10.000 and you can start bidding from February 15th. Now get over there and take a look at some of the other shots!

1 comment:

Marcia Roses said...

Marc was my penpal in those days. I have a partial set of his shots myself, somehow kept save to this day. They are my favorite photos of the Beatles.
Marcia Roses