ROXBURY, Mass. — Charles Daniels has had a camera in his hand since he was 12-years-old on his family’s farm in rural Alabama.
“When I first became interested in having the little basic brownie camera. And but, anything that would give me an image I was into, you know?” says Daniels.
And boy did it take him places! He was on stage with Steven Tyler and Aerosmith, backstage with Keith Moon and Pete Townsend, and Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones. After moving with his family to Roxbury, he found his niche in the Bohemian scene of Harvard Square in the 1960s and rock clubs hosting then up and coming artists like Van Morrison.
“I had the advantage to see how people were reacting to what was happening at that time. And in some cases, some of the bands people who were just like, totally freaking out and never seen anything like what was starting to happen with the band, you know, the whole, you know, electric everything.”
Daniels got more than 50 years of rock and roll and Boston history on film. There’s just one catch - he was caught up taking the pictures but kept putting off developing them.
Some of Daniels’ photos have been published, but the film was expensive then, and it’s even more expensive now. So much of his film is still “in the can” -- 3,000 rolls and counting, over 40,000 images, and you never know what you’re gonna get.
“There’s an intimacy to his pictures that not every rock photographer has. And also, a lot of one role that we developed last year that was just like a roll of 36 images. And then he managed to make it to what we think is the Boston Garden, where the WHO was playing,” says his longtime partner Susan Berstler.
She and her friends are hoping to raise $30,000 to develop all of Daniels’ films, organize his life’s work, and preserve history.
“It’s complicated developing a film that’s more than 50 years old. There’s, you know, there are chemical processes. He has over 100 rolls, a Kodachrome, which you can’t develop anymore. So they’ve come up with alternative ways to try to do that.”
“I think it would be amazing just because I’ve done some interesting things and hung out with some great people who are different in different ways.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise $30,000. Time is of the essence here. Daniels has a rare blood disorder, and his loved ones want to see his work completed with this last step.
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