McCartney Times

May Pang’s John Lennon photos on display at Narrows

May Pang’s John Lennon photos on display at Narrows

May Pang’s John Lennon photos on display at Narrows
August 05
09:24 2017

Photographer Deborah Feingold didn’t set out to chronicle decades of musical icons when she moved to New York in the 1970s. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Prince, Bono and Madonna are just a handful of the performers she’s captured over the years.Several years before Feingold’s career started taking off, May Pang was snapping photos of John Lennon, showing an intimate side of the former Beatle during the 18 months famously known as “The Lost Weekend.”Pang and Feingold will be at the Narrows on Wednesday, Aug. 9 for an opening reception for “Rock ‘n’ Roll Through Our Lenses,” an exhibit of their photos that will be on display through Sept. 1.The seeds of the collaborative exhibit started in the mid 1990s when People magazine hired Feingold to shoot a photo spread of Pang and Tony Visconti, her husband at the time. A few years ago, they met again when actor Alec Baldwin selected their photos to be a part of a show he curated for an online fine art music gallery’s pop-up exhibit. “I was honored to be a part of that scenario and the photo he chose of mine was one of John’s favorites,” said Pang in a phone interview last week.May Pang and Deborah Feingold will be at the Narrows Center for the Arts, 16 Anawan St., Fall River, on Wednesday, Aug. 9 t 6:30 p.m. for an opening reception for “Rock ‘n’ Roll Through Our Lenses,” exhibit.The image of Lennon wearing his favorite Irish knit sweater as they were taking a walk on a fall day is one of many Pang shot during their time together. When the Narrows reached out to her to do a show of her photos of Lennon, Pang said pairing up with Feingold for the exhibit was a natural choice. “I love her photos; I love her work…. I come from an intimate point of view,” she added.Feingold was equally excited about the prospect of merging their diverse perspectives for the exhibit. “May’s not a (professional) photographer and her pictures from that time period are more personal images; mine are posed and deliberate, hers are very special and taken under very different circumstances” said Feingold in a phone interview last week.One of Pang’s favorite shots, she said, is an image of Lennon sitting down looking through his legs at her. Pang with camera to her face, is reflected in Lennon’s glasses. Though he often didn’t like the way he looked in photos, Pang said Lennon really liked her eye. “When I started taking his photo, he said, ‘wow, I really like the way you capture me’,” recalled Pang. “I took a photo of him eating soup and he’s blowing his nose and looking at me like he’s saying ‘really?’… I had carte blanche.”She hopes those who go to the exhibit see the creative, fun-loving side of Lennon, the one she captured in her photos and the one she grew to love. “I want them to see the John that I knew, not what was written in the press,” she said in reference to reports at the time of Lennon’s booze-fueled antics with friends. Those times, she said, were rare. Most of the time, he was busy working on his music, collaborating with musician friends, and writing some songs with her, she said. “It was a very creative time,” she added of the period in which he produced the chart-topping album “Walls and Bridges,” with Lennon’s first solo No. 1 hit, “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” and another hit, ”#9 Dream.”Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, fixed Pang up with Lennon when they were going through a rough patch in the marriage. Pang, who had worked for Lennon as his assistant for three years, said Yoko suggested she date Lennon, never expecting they’d fall in love. “They were having problems and I had no desire to be in the middle of it when she sat me down and said, ’you should go out with him. And that was before my first cup of coffee,” recalled Pang. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘this is nuts’.”Looking back on the time she was with Lennon, Pang said she made sure Lennon spent time with his son, Julian, with whom he was estranged, and she fostered closure between Lennon and Julian’s mother, Cynthia, his first wife. In turn, Cynthia gave her tips on making blood pudding, the essential to Lennon’s favorite English breakfast. She played tambourine in the last jam session Lennon had with former band mate Paul McCartney and played with friends who would casually stop by including Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Keith Moon and Mick Jagger. “I’m most proud of the work we did during that time,” she said of Lennon’s hits.Several years later, Feingold was focusing her lens on Mick Jagger and musicians from just about every genre of music happening in the late 1970s, ’80s, ’90s and beyond. Feingold, who published a book of her photographic portraits of musicians called “Deborah Feingold: Music” a few years ago, said some of her favorites among thousands of images of musicians include Prince, Jagger and Keith Richards at the piano. Based in New York, Feingold’s work extends far beyond the realm of music into fashion, magazine covers and book publishing, to name a few.A graduate of Emerson College and

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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