World-renowned Anthem photographer David Spindel is the last known photographer to capture John Lennon and Yoko Ono during the “Double Fantasy” recording sessions.
He will auction photographs from his personal archive via R&R Auctions Company of Massachusetts. The auction preview goes online Oct. 22, opens for bidding on Nov. 11 and closes on Nov. 21 at rrauction.com.
In one photograph, Lennon and Ono, wearing sunglasses, measures 20 inches by 24 inches. Bearing original signatures from Lennon and Ono, this photograph was personalized to Spindel in 1980. Valued at $10,000, it is accompanied by a letter of provenance signed by Spindel.
“It was over 40 years ago,” Spindel said. “I went to visit John and Yoko Ono after having photographed them at what was (believed to be) the last recording session of the ‘Double Fantasy’ album. I showed them enlarged contact sheets of all the photographs I had taken the night before.
“After they viewed the images, I asked if it was not an inconvenience, would they autograph a special photograph that I had taken of them. Needless to say, they did, and John even drew one of his caricatures.”
“Strawberry Fields” is also a Spindel original. At 16 inches by 20 inches, the color photograph is a Lennon collage portrait signed by Spindel.
With rare color satin finish, it is one of two prints made featuring a portrait of Lennon wearing sunglasses, superimposed over a strawberry background. In fine condition, the photograph, valued at $1,000, is also accompanied by a letter of provenance signed by Spindel.
“After hearing of John’s passing, I wanted to create a special photograph in his memory,” Spindel said. “I created this particular photo (‘Strawberry Fields’) and I chose not to make this print available until now. This is one of two 16-inch by 20-inch prints that I had planned on using for a few exhibits. I’m keeping one of the prints for my private collection and I’ve decided to make the other one available to one very lucky bidder to enjoy.”
Finally, he is offering a leatherbound photo chronicle of a Lennon and Ono “Double Fantasy” session. The album of 36 photographs is one of three created by Spindel and it measures 12.5 inches by 11.75 inches. They were taken in the fall of 1980 and developed by him in his New York City dark room during the early 1980s.
The images — which are accompanied by a letter of provenance, too — show Lennon singing, strumming his acoustic guitar, and working at the mixing console. It is worth $8,000.
“I only produced three albums,” he said. “I have this one and I gave one to Yoko to show my appreciation for having the opportunity and honor to photograph her and John. It was one of the greatest highlights of my 60-plus years as a photographer.”
The third album was sold privately many years ago.
“I either give things away or I sell them,” she said. “I sent one to Yoko as a gift because I appreciated that they paid me extremely well. I have the negatives and my kids know exactly where they are.”
Spindel grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and has an older brother and two younger sisters. His father was a hardworking pharmacist and his mother an ardent schoolteacher. Spindel enjoyed photography as a hobby in high school and then decided to pursue his craft more seriously at Rochester Institute of Technology. He studied with Minor White, Ralph Hattersley, Dr. Richard Zakia and Robert Bagby and graduated in 1964.
Post-graduation, he worked as an assistant for several photographers in New York City, including Tosh Matsumoto, who insisted and inspired him to open his own New York City studio in 1970. He was soon in demand by leading advertising agencies. The work poured in, and his reputation grew steadily.
Assignments for Major League Baseball were the catalyst for the next body of work that evolved as Spindel’s signature style. He went on to receive numerous high-profile assignments for movie posters such as “Platoon” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” and then created numerous baseball posters and related mass market products that sell worldwide and were featured at The National Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was commissioned for limited edition projects with the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto. His charitable work includes projects with Berra and Rizzuto.
Amid his still life work, Spindel has developed his Rebus photographs, which caught the attention of American publishing companies. Following worldwide recognition for his baseball memorabilia photography, Abbeville Press signed Spindel to an eight-book publishing contract for the Major League Memories Series.
Spindel continues to produce a wide variety of creative products featuring his signature-style photography. He has been featured on a wide variety of TV shows and interviewed by numerous publications promoting his work including LENNONYC/PBS, VH-1 and various morning TV shows. His photographs and limited editions, which decorate corporate offices of numerous baseball stadiums, are on exhibit in galleries internationally, featured at private auction, and are available for private sale. His work continues to be licensed for a myriad of products worldwide.