I cannot tell you how amazing this project was to capture. It’s always nice to see your friends succeed wildly. After watching the care that Eric and Lindsay at Leon Gallery and Amy from John Denver’s estate took curating this collection, I am certain they all deserved every accolade their hard work has brought them. They were meticulous in choosing work that expressed the heart and soul of this explorer and his camera, and they presented everything with respect. They strove wholeheartedly to honor his untold wishes.
Witnessing this process also made John Denver real to me for the first time. As someone who had been famous before I’d even been born, someone who’d hung out with the Muppets for goodness sake, John Denver had always been more myth than man to me. But here were his envelopes of travel photos, little gummy packets that looked just like the photo envelopes we all used to get back from the photo lab. Here were piles of slides, just like the ones that sit in my grandparents’ closet. Sure, his envelopes said things like “China” and “USSR,” but those little bits of trash and treasure- all mixed up in boxes the way everyone’s life ends up mixed up in boxes- made him real. It was an honor, and Eric, Lindsay and Amy held the life expressed in these little gummy packets with reverence.
John Denver’s photography is much like his music. It has an honest ease and openness. It’s refreshing, expressing wonder without irony. I encourage you to take a trip down to Leon to experience it before the show closes on March 2nd.