With the imminent release of the CSNY 1974 box set so carefully assembled by Graham Nash, it is time to acknowledge a Brit we have been lucky to have over here for over 45 years. And why would we do this on a primarily visual arts blog?
First of all, because Nash is a consummate photographer himself who helped promote a revolutionary technique for producing high quality prints. Secondly, he is a consummate collector of vintage photographs, and while I won't tell you what, when or why…he is a collector who I once OUTBID on an image on eBay. IN your FACE Graham! It was a decade ago, and I felt rich for a day!
Since Graham Nash had the loving respect for David Crosby (a personal hero of mine) to stick with him during the dope days is not only laudable, it is a model on how to provide loving respect to troubled friends. He more than anyone has kept the band (or brand) CSNY alive for decades. His autobiography Wild Tales is funny, honest and essential reading. He has compiled box sets of Stephen Stills, David Crosby, his own and now the band which are beautiful reminders of what astounding talents they are…maybe if another hero, the cantankerous Neil Young, were to turn him loose in the vault, he could do it for him too.
For his political activities and beliefs alone, I have admired the man my entire adult life. Remember the Occupy movement on Wall Street? Crosby and Nash were there. Anti-nuke, pro-environment, anti-war, right on immigration…those of you who did not live through the Vietnam War or Richard Nixon's reign can not appreciate how important Nash and his partners were to us back then. I was marching when OHIO came out. Dylan and the Beatles helped create the revolution but it was CSNY who really provided the movement soundtrack, and the 1974 tour was as much celebration and vindication as it was a stadium tour. After ten murderous years, American troops left Vietnam the year before…and when I see the photo above, the cover on the new box set, that is what comes to my mind. Not the greatest assemblage of popular musicians of my generation, but the end of the war. CSNY helped bring that war to an end in ways we have never fully acknowledged, and they have all kept that positive force alive since, whether together or apart.
Mr. Nash sold a large portion of his antique photography collection at Sotheby's in 1990 and it broke records for vintage pictures. Today, even the catalog is prized. The lot of 400 pictures raised $2.4 million dollars, and some of the funds went to a museum. Among the works were a portrait by Diane Arbus, who Nash helped push into world recognition with the sale, the Paul Outerbridge Self-Portrait which was published on the cover, and an iconic Ansel Adams photo.
He has published his own work as well, some in Eye to Eye which is available here.
Nash editions, which once utilized the IRIS Graphic Printer he first purchased (which now resides in the Smithsonian) is HERE. The company produces high quality photograph prints. An affiliate Nash project Manuscript Originals produces prints as well, including this original John Lee Hooker drawing…seldom will you see an artist so perfectly capture his own sound visually.
I have never had the opportunity to thank Mr. Nash in person for allowing me to enjoy his work virtually my entire life, from the magical night I enjoyed a pin-drop perfect concert in Central Michigan performed by Mr. Crosby and Mr. Nash in 1971 to the box set I have ordered and await. There was a time when the quartet was the greatest band in the country. Some of the photos here were cribbed from the promotional clip on Youtube.
Art and Photography Books and Ebooks by Jim Linderman are available HERE.