Monday, December 13, 2010

Baron Wolman

This week I had the pleasure of hearing from Baron Wolman, who contributed many key photographs to Ramparts. He took the Oakland 7 photo I discuss in the Ramparts book as well as two others, of Jann Wenner and Carol Doda, that actually appear (uncredited) in that book. Let this post be my first step toward full penance.

In his email, Baron writes, "I shot photos/covers for the magazine (and for Stermer) without ever much knowing of its origins and deliberately staying away from the theater you so well described."

In addition to forgiving my oversight, Baron told me he was Rolling Stone's first chief photographer. He also offered this valuable historical footnote.
At my urging Jann started a Rolling Stone look-alike paper called Earth Times. It was as close to environmental muckraking as Jann ever got but immediately suffered from advertisers, both potential and existing, becoming worried about the paper’s willingness to speak uncomfortable truths. Seeing the difficulty in keeping both papers going (we still had regular cash crises at the Stone), he handed it over to the staff, which tried valiantly to keep it going, but, well, you can imagine the rest. Earth Times drew from Ramparts in that I think it had some of the writers but equally in that it tried to educate the readers (and the People) about what could lie ahead if we didn’t start caring about the environment.

When Jann moved Rolling Stone from Brannan St. to Fourth Street, I took over the Rolling Stone editorial offices above Garret Press for the fashion magazine I helped start called Rags. We hired away many of Rolling Stone’s staff (including Jon Carroll and John Burks), borrowed some of Stone’s/Stermer’s design elements, and also printed on newsprint on Garret Press’ machines downstairs from the offices. We described Rags as “the Rolling Stone of fashion.”

Here's Baron's website. I hope it's OK that I cribbed one more photo for this post. Note his tasty photographs of the Grateful Dead. Could come in handy--this time with appropriate credit.

Many thanks, Baron.

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