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Book of never-before-seen John Lennon photos next month
May Pang met John Lennon when she worked for the Beatles' management company in the early 1970's. She got to know him well when she served as Lennon and Yoko Ono's personal assistant after that. But her life with Lennon began when Ono asked May to "keep John company" during a break in their marriage. Although hesitant at first, Pang eventually became John Lennon's girlfriend during what is often referred to as a "lost weekend." In later years, the official Lennon camp had suggested that May's time with John was a blip on the screen; a time when Lennon was stymied creatively, unhappy and estranged from his family and bandmates. But Pang's wonderful photos, many of which appear in this book for the first time, tell a different story.
A new book, Instamatic Karma, Photographs of John Lennon, by May Pang, showcases these never-before-seen photos of John Lennon during his time with May.
They show a relaxed and playful Lennon--eating Chinese food at their East 52nd Street apartment, swimming in Long Island, spending Christmas and a trip to Disneyland with son Julian and hanging out with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney--and a creative and productive Lennon working on his album "Walls and Bridges" and rehearsing his band for the "Rock'n'Roll" album.
A native of New York's Spanish Harlem, May Pang grew up loving music. Her very first job was at the Beatles' management company, ABKCO Industries. While working at ABKCO, John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York City and hired May as their personal assistant. As exciting as this was, little did she know what fate had in store. One day in June 1973, Yoko approached her and explained that she and John needed a break from each other. Yoko had also decided that May would be his 'ideal companion.'
So began an 18-month relationship that had become known misleadingly as "Lennon's Lost Weekend." During this period, however, John Lennon was actually the most productive and successful in his post-Beatles career. After Lennon's tragic death in 1980, a lot of myths and misconceptions began surfacing about John and May's time together. In 1983, she decided to set the record straight with her memoir, Loving John.
She eventually married record producer Tony Visconti and has two children. Today, May is a full-time single mom, but her heart is still in rock n' roll. She is currently a photographer, artist and Feng Shui jewelry and furniture designer. She lives in New York.
Pang's images span color and black & white, prints and more candid Polaroids, and paint a nimble, effortless and innocent portrait of both a romance and a fascinating time in John Lennon's life. The captions Pang has written to accompany her photos are rich with detail and make this book truly exceptional.
Instamatic Karma, Photographs of John Lennon, will be in stores on March 6, 2008.
• Instamatic Karma, Photographs of John Lennon, by May Pang
Published January 18, 2008