EYE ON THE SIXTIES: The Iconic Photography of Rowland Scherman
Our film is an intimate portrait of LIFE magazine photographer Rowland Scherman and the photojournalist process. It is also a piece of American history, documenting how one man’s photographic genius worked within one of the country’s most transformational eras-- the 1960’s. As the first photographer for the Peace Corps 1961-1962, the primary USIA photographer of the Civil Rights March on Washington, LIFE Magazine’s Special Assignment Photographer, personal photographer of President Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 Presidential campaign, LIFE’s Special Photographer for Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s Presidential Campaign, and Grammy Award Winner for Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Album Cover in 1967, Rowland Scherman used his camera to record a decade that was like no other.
In this documentary, Scherman’s candid recollections of the time combine with his breathtaking photographs, offering rare glimpses of major celebrities, politicians, and the monumental events of the day, including the dawning of the Peace Corps, the March on Washington, Dylan’s entrée at the Newport
Folk Festival, and Woodstock. We travel with Rowland Scherman to the recent 50th Anniversary event of the founding of the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C, to the site of the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, to the October chilled air where the 1969 Woodstock Festival was held, and to the hills of Truro, Massachusetts on Cape Cod where he moves today in a kind of peace, laced with humor, hope and reality.
Now in his 70’s, Scherman remains an adventurous, complex and creative soul, still capturing life through his camera’s lens. The film ends on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with him standing out of the crowd in a world that is now so changed-- so awash in personal cameras. He seems partly invisible, yet holding his own camera – one eye on the past and one on the future, and offering up one last bit of advice for those seeking creative adventure.
Appearing in the film are singer Judy Collins, noted former LIFE Washington Bureau Chief and PEOPLE magazine co-founder Richard B. Stolley, close personal friends of Scherman, and cameo appearances by commentator Bill Moyers and American Idol singer Siobhan Magnus.
The people of note captured in the historic photographs include President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, LBJ, Sargent and Eunice Shriver, Martin Luther King, Jr., The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Arthur Ashe, Barbara Walters, and others.
EYE ON THE SIXTIES is also an essay on the art of photography and how it has been influenced by technological change. It echoes the belief that the human ability to visualize, and to care is the artist’s best ally. While casting a fresh eye on both the tumult and triumph of the 60’s, the documentary enlightens and inspires through the example of one man, revealing that success depends upon your willingness to show up and to take a risk, to trust your talents, and to fulfill your sense of adventure while illuminating the accomplishments of others. As Rowland Scherman so assuredly states the photographic axiom of the day: “F8 and be there!”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
EYE ON THE SIXTIES has been completely shot and and we are now in the post-production phase for a one-hour broadcast version, as well a ninety-minute theatrical version. Kickstarter Funding will help us to provide finishing elements such as music and audio-mixing, but equally important-- it will greatly aid in the marketing effort, as there are real costs for distribution within public television. The documentary has been accepted for distribution by American Public Television of Boston, MA. The APT method is a reliable way to get wide-carriage nationally on public television stations especially for filmmakers who have a proven track record. Distribution costs include items such as insurance and closed-captioning requirements. We need to produce DVD copies of the show and also mount a theatrical release here on Cape Cod. Your contribution is key in helping us get the program to its intended audience.
In appreciation of your support we are proud to offer a variety of reward gifts including high quality prints of many of Rowland's beautiful iconic photographs that capture the extraordinary individuals and extraordinary events of the 1960's. See the images above and below and with descriptions to the right, and with links to our Facebook Rewards Page.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T REACH OUR GOAL
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects world wide. The way it works is that we must reach our funding goal before the campaign expires....or we do not get any of the dollars pledged.
Become part of this unique story by donating and by spreading the word to others. Share this link, "Like" us on FACEBOOK, Twitter it, email this Kickstarter link to your friends. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or to get more information.
Risks and challenges
Many people believe that making a film is the biggest challenge in the production process. An appropriate parallel is that of a intense mountain climb. Completing the actual film means getting to the top and planting the flag. But the reality is that you are only one-half there. Getting back down successfully means getting it broadcast, and out into the culture. This requires not only money, but also a considerable shift to a marketing mentality on many levels. At this point we are a few hundred feet from the creative top, with good footing, clear skies and plenty of light. The processes of planning, research, traveling to various cities, filming at various historic sites, interviews, researching, scanning historic negatives of Scherman's works at the National Archives, and primary editing and scoring have all taken place successfully.
This is not the first trip up and back on a project such as this for us. Our success rate in getting documentary projects to public television is two-for-two. Projects in 2001 and 2006 found their way to their audience via this same hard-fought and pragmatic route. It is really a matter of knowing the distributor, and most importantly the audience demographic.
It is important to stress this--our film concerns itself with a special generation with iconic events and people that are still quite relevant and in fact "legendary". Our approach is through the memories of an "everyman", albeit a very charming, resourceful, and talented shooter. It also involves one of the most popular avocations in the world-- photography, which has undergone a revolutionary change. Our protagonist, Rowland Scherman is arguably prolific, and his presence at important events is Forrest Gump-like. He has stories to tell, and he has never quit on his passions-- nor can we. The biggest creative challenge has been weaving those experiences, finding the most inspiring and thought-provoking, and putting them into form.
Critical to the success of this project is that the documentary broadcast be aligned with two upcoming, and very important anniversaries in 2013. They are the 50th year celebrations of both Bob Dylan's entrance to the folk scene at Newport, and the Civil Rights Movement's magnificent 1963 March On Washington. Our segment on the March alone-- for which Scherman was a lead photographer for the USIA (US Information Agency)-- is a major contribution to the memory of that day unlike any other ever seen, and one of the more powerful elements in our film. It is crucial that we raise the funds so that a story such as this can appear in the broadcast environment as these anniversaries approach. EYE ON THE SIXTIES celebrates key moments in American cultural history-- from the Kennedy Administration hopeful promise to the fading light on the Woodstock generation. It is done so in a personal, positive and powerful way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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