…scanned from my archive. 1969 - Fifty years ago I went to Woodstock

The photo above was taken in 1969 when I was 15.

The photo above was taken in 1969 when I was 15.

I arrived at the Woodstock Festival three days before it was scheduled to start. My friend Clifford and I actually had tickets for the festival, we were 14 and 15 years old respectively and ready for anything. Cliff’s mom was going to be driving to her country home near Bethel and she offered to drive us up, but the deal was we had to go up a few days early if we wanted the ride.

When we arrived, we found the few people already there doing the work of building and putting together the festival grounds. We somehow migrated to the area the Hog Farm had set up, they had a free kitchen that fed us and in return we helped build some concession stands and other structures around the area. They also gave us free hash breaks, which made the work a bit more pleasant.

Once the music started there were two options: cram yourself into the throngs of people sitting on the hill around the stage, or walk around and take in the scenery. I spent a lot of my time doing the latter. People would offer up a variety of drugs as I walked around, both the smoking kind and the pill kind. Sometimes they would just hand you a bottle, jug or goatskin canteen (a bota) filled presumably with wine, but often with some mescaline or other hallucinogen diluted in. Taking a sip was always an adventure, which I sometimes indulged but often didn’t. I suppose I would size up the offerer before making my decision.

The music was always there, whether you were looking directly at the stage or off somewhere in the rambles or over a hill or in one of the few unfortunate Porta-Pottys. I had seen many of the bands perform before, I was a regular at the Filmore East, usually as the result of my asking for free tickets from the parade of concert attendees filing into the theatre. But The Who, The Band, The Dead, were always a must see if I could. I had seen Hendrix a number of times, always magical, but I was long asleep by the time he played at sunrise.

I remember the one band everyone was talking about and anxiously awaiting was Crosby, Stills and Nash, it was to my knowledge one of, if not the first time they were playing together in front of a large crowd, and we were all looking forward to it. They were great, and it was to be the only time I would ever hear them perform.

The last night I ran into a girl I had met earlier in the summer on a bike trip to Nova Scotia. We gathered around some others who had found a dry spot on top of about 1000 Screw Magazines someone had given out. We all sat around a campfire on our Screw Magazine blankets talking about the last few days. Someone had also given out inflatable orange pup tents, which we blew up and then squeezed into for the night.

To this day I have no idea how I got back home to New York City. I remember walking a bit and then perhaps a bus, really not sure. Really doesn’t matter.

My memories of the whole event was that of a strange tableau of people and freaks, as we called ourselves then, having fun, being outrageous and loving and laughing with each other, all to the most amazing soundtrack every presented. I wish I remembered more of it, but as they say, if you say you remember Woodstock, you probably weren’t there.

Our photos are the trophies of our lives

Our photos are the trophies of our lives

For years my mother had old photos of myself and other family members and friends thumbtacked to a corkboard in her kitchen. When I moved my mother out of her home a few years ago I had to remove these up to 40-year-old photos that were now faded and yellow and had multiple tiny holes in them from the repeated thumbtacking. If one didn’t know better you might have thought that I and my other family members were victims of some terrible voodoo ritual. Maybe Mom did have some unresolved feelings she was expressing, but more likely they just kept falling down.

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…scanned from my archive. Posing at Grandpa’s studio

…scanned from my archive. Posing at Grandpa’s studio

I’ve mentioned many time that my Grandfather, Boris Lenoff, owned and ran a portrait studio on the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. It later moved to Ocean Parkway and probably closed sometime in the sixties when he sold off the entire inventory of cameras and photo files.

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Saving your family photo collection from devastating events

Saving your family photo collection from devastating events

I recently had a chance to visit the fire zone in Agoura and Malibu, this was the wildfire called the Woolsey Fire that scorched parts of LA and Ventura Counties in November of 2018. It burned almost 100k acres, destroyed over 1600 homes and killed three people. Almost 300,000 people had to evacuate their homes, and it was many days before they could return because of fallen power lines and the danger from falling trees and branches. Most were lucky to return to intact homes, but many were not.

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…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958

…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958

…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958. While growing up, there were always certain photos that seemed to be present, either in frames on the wall, taped to cabinets, stuck to the fridge or in one of the several photo albums lying around. My father and my mother’s father Boris, were usually the photographers of most of the family photos, so they aren’t present in as many of the family photos as other family members. Boris was a professional photographer, so like myself, he was usually much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

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Legacy Project - Mom, circa 1928

Legacy Project - Mom, circa 1928

…scanned from my archive. Mom, circa 1928. Mom just celebrated her 96th birthday last week. She’s here in LA, a long way from her Brighton Beach, Brooklyn roots, but she is close to her family, especially her grandson, and that is more important to her than geography. These are a couple of photos taken in her father’s photo studio which was located on the first floor of the apartment building she grew up in. The entrance to the building was on Brighton 4th street, but my grandfather’s studio was entered to directly from the Coney Island Boardwalk, just a hop, skip and a jump from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Before & After 40 year old print of my brother water skiing

Before & After 40 year old print of my brother water skiing

Scanning and restoring old color prints can be a tricky process. Trying to make it look brand new is not always possible or even desirable. We want to evoke and bring back the memories, not make it look like it was taken yesterday.

While it is not realistic to restore every print that you want scanned, the good ones, maybe the images you will want to print in an album or hang on the wall, are worth the time. I can scan hundred and thousands of your old prints quickly and inexpensively, and restore your favorite ones back to life. Learn more here...

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Don't run away from your photos!

Don't run away from your photos!

We are living in a constant state of digital acquisition and accumulation, and nowhere is that more evident than with our photos. Last year it was estimated that over one trillion photos were taken.

How many did you take? Now think about how many photos you will have in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? And what about video? Yikes!

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Before and After - A 100 year old print of my paternal Grandmother.

Before and After - A 100 year old print of my paternal Grandmother.

I have been scanning thousands of my old family prints. It is not very realistic to retouch and restore every print that I scan, but the good ones, maybe images I will want to print in an album, I will take some time and fix them up. It is very cool to see an old yellowed, faded and damaged print look like new (almost).

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