UPDATE DEC 26, 2013: The Ringo: Photograph book is sold out.
Ringo Starr’s limited-edition, signed book, Photograph, is at Amoeba Hollywood in VERY limited quantities now (only two available in-store) or for online purchase on Amoeba.com. Online orders will ship directly from the publisher with estimated arrival time of February 2014. It’s priced at $600, and each one is signed by Ringo and numbered. (Please note: Photograph book does not qualify for our Super Saturday store sale on December 14th due to its limited nature)
We were pleased to help Genesis Publications launch the book in Hollywood at a special event with Ringo. Below is a great recap of the event, written by Amoeba’s Greg Griffith:
“Every time I see your face it reminds me of the places we used to go,
But all I’ve got is a photograph and I realize you’re not coming back anymore…”
These are the lyrics to the 1973 song, “Photograph” which was co-authored by Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Not only is the tune itself one of Ringo’s most memorable and enduring as a solo artist, who could have guessed that 40 years later we would get to see, in person, the faces and places that were lamented in the song.
On Wednesday morning, October 23rd 2013, guests were treated to nearly two hours of walking down memory lane with Ringo Starr. The event took place at the Hollywood ArcLight Cinema on Sunset Boulevard as Ringo’s book, Photograph, was unveiled for the first time to the world by its iconic publisher of fine collectables, Genesis Publications, and co-sponsor Amoeba Music.
Upon entering the theater and as guests chose their pre-assigned seats in the arena, the first of many visual treasures before them was a row of 12 framed and lit original prints snapped, signed and numbered (only 25 copies each) by Starr on museum-quality easels.
The short introduction by Genesis co-founder Nick Roylance was that of a soft-spoken man obviously in love as a craftsperson should be, with the art and artifacts that his father brought to the world as founder of this independent English publishing house in 1974.
The movie screen backdrop was illuminated by a slide show presentation of pages from the book – early family photos including Ringo as a baby, some teddy boy posturing, scenes of Liverpool and the clubs where the Beatles first performed. The first nearly one-third of this 300-page book comprised photos and memorabilia archived by Ringo’s mother, Elsie Starkey, and considered “lost.” That is, as Ringo later explained, until quite recently, when the box housing these treasures was found in a nearby storage shed that had been ignored for eight years. As the rapt audience looked on in awe, the reverent quiet of the room was suddenly broken as Ringo announced from his seat in the audience, “Oh, that’s a good one.” Unseen pictures of The Beatles in their candid lives at home and on the road generated high emotion as we realized that none of these pictures had ever before been seen by the public.
The discussion portion of the 10:30 a.m. proceedings was hosted by music journalist Melinda Newman, who sat up front on a stool calling up special guests one at a time so that they may explain exactly how Ringo Starr had affected them in their respective careers. Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame) excitedly disclosed that as a drummer himself, “Ringo was everything!” and, “he’s the only one that can do what Ringo can do …” Black Crowe’s drummer Steve Gorman concurred, saying that Ringo is his pick for number one rock 'n' roll drummer of all time. “All I’ve done my entire career is either pay tribute to or rip-off Ringo Starr,” Gorman said.
Interspersed between the speakers were short video clips of Ringo explaining his love of music and of photography. Award-winning photographer Henry Diltz, who had a chance to work with Ringo for some album campaigns and is himself a subject of a two previous Genesis projects, said that he enjoys Ringo’s “fly on the wall” style of documentary photography.
The moment everyone was waiting for finally came when Ringo took his seat on the stool next to Newman. “I’ve never read an autobiography of anyone," he said. "They’re just too long.” This book would be his style of autobiography – an easily digestible snap shot gallery of his life including copies of the receipt for his first drum kit. On the Beatles and photography: “All of us had three things at all times – a drink, a cigarette, and a camera,” and, modestly, “I just took pictures of my friends.” As far as technique, he added, “I never took a drum lesson or a photography lesson … the important thing is to catch the moment and not worry about focus.”
Overcome by the enormity both in content and blow-up size of his creations on the movie screen, Ringo admitted when a photo of he and the late Harry Nilsson materialized, “my eyes are welling up… he was my best friend.”
We could have sat there well into the evening listening to the stories and watching the history unfold on the screen, but Ringo and his all-star band soon filed out to their rehearsal studio to practice for the late-afternoon private performance that some of the ticket-holders of that morning’s event would be lucky enough to attend.
“All I’ve got is a Photograph” indeed…
About Genesis Publications:
Since its inception, Genesis has been hand-crafting lush one-of-a-kind limited editions – many either in hand-bound leather or Indian silk and master printed on archival paper in Italy — of more than 100 signed and numbered retrospectives of many artists, including George Harrison, David Bowie, George Martin, Ravi Shankar, Keith Richards, Brian Wilson and many more.
Photos: Suzie Hollingworth