Deadheads from near and far came to meet Bob Minkin, a well-known photographer of the Grateful Dead and other great bands, who was in Oyster Bay on July 14 to sell and sign copies of his new book, “Just Bobby “. The event took place at the Bahr Gallery, which sells psychedelic posters and is owned and operated by Oyster Bay Cove resident Ted Bahr.
Minkin, 63, has had a long association with the Dead, falling in love with their music when he was young. By age 15, he said, he would find ways to attend concerts to see his favorite bands, including the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix and especially the Dead.
“I grew up in Brooklyn and really stumbled onto the music scene in 1972, when I was 13,” Minkin recalls. “I immersed myself in this world, the world of high, music and hanging out with friends.”
His ticket into the world of psychedelic rock took an unexpected form: photography. He first took photos at concerts as a hobby, but in 1977 he was hired to shoot photos for Dead by Relix magazine, known at the time as Dead Relix, one of only publications focusing on the hallucinogenic sound and vibes of the Dead.
Through his work, he became closer to the band members’ friends, who introduced them to Minkin. Over the course of a decade and a half, he would take many intimate photos of them, on stage and off. Then, in 2013, Minkin published a collection of his photos in “Live Dead: The Grateful Dead Photographed.”
“I realized that I’m like a memory keeper for a lot of people, because I’m 63, and a lot of those fans are my age and older,” Minkin explained. “In many cases, people don’t really remember a lot of details. They’re vaguely aware of the memories from the shows, but when they get the book and look at the pictures, it brings them back right away.
The book was a success, and Minkin has published three more since, including his two most recent, “Just Jerry”, in 2019, and “Just Bobby”, in April this year, his Jerry photo collections. Garcia and Bob Weir. He brought these books with him to the Bahr Gallery.
The gallery has been open since 2018 and features collections of posters from some of the most famous bands of the era, including, besides the Dead, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many more. The current exhibition is titled “The British Invasion” and focuses on the many British bands that became huge hits in America in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Ted Bahr has been a huge fan of The Dead for many years, and when he heard about Minkin’s latest book, he contacted him about a gallery signing. They settled on July 14, since Minkin would already be in town for the Dead & Company concerts at CitiField.
About 60 Deadheads from all over Long Island gathered at the gallery last Thursday. Jeff Mattson, lead guitarist for the cover band Dead Dark Star Orchestra was in attendance, as was Beau Carino, owner of Long Island’s only death-themed bar, Beau’s Bar in Greenlawn.
“With Covid coming to an end, hopefully, people are realizing again how important it is to be able to come together physically again,” Bahr said. “It was one of those events, and it’s one of those places where it happens, and so I think that’s what makes it even more special.”
Attendees were thrilled to have the chance to swap stories with Minkin and expressed their joy with the venue, highlighting its importance as a preserver of 60s and 70s music culture.
“These really aren’t posters, they’re works of art, and each one has a hidden meaning,” said Jonathan Silberstein. “It’s a time capsule from a short period, 1966 to 1974, and Ted has a really nice collection here.”