Earl Robinson, who wrote Ballad for Americans, was Lulow’s music teacher. Lulow had fallen in love with music and spent a lot of his time playing the guitar. His love for music didn’t dampen his early enthusiasm for photography. One of his earliest photography gigs was an assignment for his high school newspaper, taking photos of the ocean liner SS Île de France, while it was docked on Manhattan’s West Side.
Lulow remembers always looking for angles and images in the everyday world of The Village that was an extraordinary place to grow up. He had an eye for certain types of composition. One high school field trip took him to Pennsylvania Dutch country, which was far from the character, tone and temperament of New York City. The Amish people leading their simple lives in a stunning visual time warp was very different from his early recollection of running into rock stars like Bob Dylan. In those days Dylan was living on MacDougal Street, and regularly walked by the original site of Lulow’s school on Bleeker Street.
A continual feast of visual images was served up in Lulow’s own neighborhood, on the streets he walked every day. Aside from nightclubs, recording studios and musicians, the old tenements and brownstones were crammed full of an ethnic hodgepodge of people, who were among the second wave of immigrants who had come to America seeking a better way of life.
The Village also bordered Little Italy. Every September the festival of San Gennaro took over the neighborhood with its impassioned parade of gold, pomp, ornate vestments, and clouds of incense, coupled with loud music and the noisy street vendors hawking sausage and pepper wedges, cannoli and gelato. The texture, life and living color of going to school in The Village made his life an obstacle course as he navigated his way through the crush of the crowds on the narrow streets. He experienced being up close and personal with people from all walks of life. Even now, it’s an experience that stays with him and is at the root of what makes him capture the rhythm of light in photography.
Although Lulow went to school in The Village, he actually lived with his family in Stuyvesant Town on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This community of red brick, high rise apartment buildings tended to be a protective enclave for families. Kids played in Stuyvesant Town’s playgrounds, which were a lot safer than playing on the street. Lulow’s father, William V. Lulow, was a highly respected child psychiatrist who mentored many young physicians and was especially known for his mentorship of the prominent American psychiatrist James F. Masterson, M.D. (Masterson was known as a groundbreaking expert on narcissistic and borderline personality disorders.)
Judy Collins 2018 Judy Collins 1972