Photo of the day

by claesgellerbrink

Leonard Cohen blowing smoke rings by Jim Wigler
Leonard Cohen blowing smoke rings by Jim Wigler

The smoke ring photograph of Leonard was taken in New York City in the 60′s. I lived at 377 Bleecker Street and Mary Martin, his manager at the time, lived beneath me. I had, a few year earlier, left the Austin Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts (an open psychiatric treatment center). One day I heard this awful singing and guitar strumming beneath me and I put the speakers of my stereo face down on the floor and played Mormon Tabernacle choir music. Mary immediately ran upstairs and confronted me. We instantly became friends. She was living with Bob Dylan’s cat, Lord. Through her, I met Leonard and Sheila Campion (who worked with Bob Krasner at The Realist) and the Zappas, Zalman Yanovsky and other 60′s rock luminaries. My father had just sent me a Nikon camera and a few lenses as I had expressed an interest in photography when I left the mental hospital. Mary asked me if I could take some pictures of Leonard, which I did. The first edition of “Spice Box of Earth” has one of my photographs on it, and I did a whole shoot for some German magazine, but they retained the negatives. The smoke ring picture was taken at Peter’s Pot Belly (or something like that) a coffee shop in our neighborhood. The shot was simply serendipitous. It wasn’t planned or anything, I was just taking pictures as he was smoking and talking. – Jim Wigler

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