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A forgotten archive of photographs, taken at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair 40 years ago has been unearthed by UK-based limited edition publishers Genesis Publications. Taken by 17-year-old high school student Dan Garson, the archive has spent the last four decades in a basement, stored in a cardboard box. As well as images of the mud, rain, trampled fences, drugs, skinny dippers and eccentric festival goers that have made Woodstock so iconic, the archive features previously unseen shots of Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Ravi Shankar, Arlo Guthrie and The Band in performance. Rona Elliot, the former entertainment correspondent for NBC's Today Show, worked at Woodstock as a community relations officer and helped track down Dan Garson's archive and researched his story. RONA ELLIOT: Dan's remarkable photographs reveal an exceptional talent, fully formed at 17 years of age. His pictures provide a cohesive narrative of his own Woodstock experience. They demonstrate that he understood, perfectly, both where he was at that moment in time, and the culturally shifting spectacle he was recording. While Dan worked in the photo pit, shooting the musicians onstage, he separated himself from the other photographers. Rather than huddle together with the group, Dan stationed himself adjacent to the film crew. As a result, his images are both unfamiliar and fresh to the eye nearly 40 years after they were taken. Dan Garson's story is as remarkable as his photographs. In 1969 he was a high-school student with a passion for photography when he read a small article in his local paper, the New Haven Register, describing a forthcoming music and art fair in upstate New York. Taking a chance, he applied to the concert promoters for a press pass hoping to photograph the show for his high-school newspaper. Incredibly he received a reply from Rod Jacobsen, a member of the festival's publicity team, granting his request. He hitched a ride to the festival with a reporter from the New Haven Register, but soon found himself alone. In the first page of his notebook — to be printed alongside his photographs, he wrote: DAN GARSON: I arrived at the camping grounds Thursday, August 14. The place is just filled with acid heads, hippies, teeny-boppers and 'plain 'ole people' (just like me!). Several people offered me pills but I ignored them. Many girls seemed to be offering their bodies. I tried, and so far am successful in ignoring them. The stage, a huge mass of wood with towering lights along all sides, is still under rapid construction. After Woodstock Dan Garson moved to Toronto, Canada, to study film and eventually built a successful career as an editor and producer. Diagnosed with cancer in 1991, he passed away a year later. RONA ELLIOT: It is nothing short of a miracle that his photographs have survived the 40 years since. Having sat, unexamined, in a cardboard box in his parents' basement for decades, today's digital technology has allowed them to be restored to their rightful glory. The photographs are exclusively published in a new, limited edition, multimedia boxed set entitled Woodstock Experience, released by Genesis Publications on the 40th anniversary of the iconic festival, August 15, 2009. Dan Garson's photographs from the second part of a two-volume, limited edition boxed set. Volume One is the definitive oral history of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, in which nearly 70 contributors share memories of the iconic music festival. Contributors include David Crosby, John Sebastian, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, The Band and Ravi Shankar, as well as audience members, photographers, artists and Woodstock producers Artie Kornfeld and Joel Rosenman. Woodstock's Executive Producer, Michael Lang, is also the project's Executive Editor and, along with his own story, provides letters, notes, contracts and more from his personal archive. Woodstock Experience also includes loose-leaf essays, a specially pressed vinyl record featuring Santana and Jefferson Airplane live at Woodstock, a facsimile hand-drawn site map, a fine-art print by legendary artist Peter Max, and an original festival ticket with every set. This collection of artefacts is housed in a three-part folding box which features exclusive screen-printed art by leading artist Shepard Fairey — the man behind the Barack Obama 'Hope' posters. Only 1,000 copies of Woodstock Experience are available, each one signed by Michael Lang and Arlo Guthrie.
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