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Wine

Saying Good-Bye to the Wine Business

[Image to the right is of Duran Duran, when they had just landed in Portland, Maine, as they were beginning to start their first US tour.]

In 1993, I segued from a PR radio career and the radio stattion’s celebrity photographer into a PR wine career, where I also use my photography on an almost daily basis.

Although the wine business has been a lot of fun, and I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined, I’m beginning to yearn for radio and “those” stars, again. (My new stars are wine makers, wine grape growers, and wine company proprietors.)

Winemakers are stars, too, but they’re much more of the quiet type, given that they’re scientists much more than performing artists. Winemakers are much more reserved and contemplative. Their wine is their performance art, but having a camera chronicle what they’re doing – for most of them – is almost an intrusion into what has to get done. Rockers let your photograph when they’re performing…

[Image to the left is of Foreigner singing, “I Want to Know What Love is”]

[Image to the right is of Mark Andes from Heart]

When a winemaker’s preforming in a wine cellar, that’s just not the same performance art. They don’t find glamorous clothing to wear during the process… quite the opposite, actually. For the guys, they’re beards grow long and fuzzy during harvest – they’re best performance period. And, having a camera be part of what they’re doing means they have to slow down and “pose,” versus not even noticing that a camera’s clicking away. They’re almost polar opposites.

[Who doesn’t recognize Tina Turner?]

I have favorite people that I met. Tina’s definitely at the top of the list. One time, because the producers had allowed so many people back stage, a receiving line was formed. Because there were too people – I couldn’t photographer her. Instead, I got a series of on stage images, as we were given front row seats. (That was another perk of being in that “biz.”)

Because there were so many people, I knew she’d be rushed through the line, so I got at the end of it, knowing full well what I was doing. I needed more than a second, because my exchange student from Paris, Delphine Brouard, wanted me to tell her how much she loved her. This was just before Tina was moving to Europe, so I don’t know if this was why she stayed so long with me while we talked, or if it was just that we had an identical – melting into each other’s hands – hand shake. Tina’s warmth was overwhelming… almost.

[Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin performing solo, without his Led Zeppelin crew. We were back stage prior to his performance, and I have a series of back stage images, too.]

Our lives had many similar facets, and we found each other for a moment in time. Her handlers were nervous, because she had to get up on stage, but she was in control of her life, and she stayed as long as she could… we were locked in knowing smiles… and off she went to perform.

[Daryl Hall and John Oates came frequently to Portland. It reached the point where I could have the artists sign the image taken on the previous trip… Hall and Oates were part of that series.]

I never thought I’d want to return to those days, but there’s a lot to be said for the lifestyle that went with what I did… My husband Jose and I pretty much lived back stage when rockers came into Portland, Maine. I always had my camera, and they always let me photograph the moment. I was very privileged, meeting and enjoying many talented, high energy people.

[Cheap Trick opening for Heart]

I’ll never forget Ann Wilson of Heart saying to me, “It’s nice to see you again!” Although it was nice to see her… she was very dear… I also thought to myself, “I’ve been here too long.”

It was a defining moment, because I was always the one behind the lens, thinking I didn’t have a persona. But, now I was part of the Portland package?

[Steve Winwood]

I wasn’t wanting or needing an image in the process of what I was doing; so, if I was recognizable, I figured I’d stayed too long at the party.

As I reflected on moving to Northern California, I knew that this was going to provide an easy out, but I began to ease myself out of the back-stage pass life about six months before we actually moved. My restless spirit was wresting with wanting to remain out of the limelight and go find a “new thing” in the land of opportunity that California was known for being.

[ZZ Top]
Rock & Roll lights were a little too bright; but still a pretty fun time, I have to admit.

These images are some that I took during the 80s and early 90s. I love my portfolio, and that’s why I’ve decided it’s time to return to Radio and rock n’roll.

While everything above is true and correct, the part about leaving the wine business is an April Fool’s moment inspired by NorthBay Biz magazine asking about any pranks I’ve pulled! Since I couldn’t remember anything of note… I decided to pull one this year!

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