Westporters know Tish Fried as director of the Write Yourself Free writing workshop. But she’s also the daughter of Lawrence Fried.
The award-winning photojournalist covered political, social and cultural events for publications like the New York Times, Newsweek, Saturday Evening Post, Vogue, Collier’s and Parade.
Tish and her sister, Lauren Wendle, are moving their father’s long career of work to Connecticut. Here, they’ll begin the long process of preserving and archiving over 200 boxes of negatives, slides and original prints.
There’s another Westport connection. Fried shot several stories in Westport — including geese on the Saugatuck River, to illustrate a piece on a local writer.
Well, sort of. The day of the assignment, they weren’t there. So Fried photographed geese on a pond in Tarrytown, where he lived. The subject of the story noticed the difference (and was not pleased).
On his way to the airport, Fried often stopped in Westport to pick up journalist Ed Kiester. They traveled together to the world’s hot spots.
“This is a historic collection,” Tish Fried says. “It includes presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon, and all the Kennedys.”
After a guard smashed Fried’s camera at the Moscow airport, he was offered an official apology. He refused it — and instead asked permission for a rare trans-Siberian trip.
In 1960 he received an Overseas Press Club Photography Award for his 50,000-mile exploration of life in that isolated territory.
Fried made 3 trips to Viet Nam. He turned against the war when a marine offered to take a particular hill, because it would make a good picture.
Fried was on the campaign trail with Bobby Kennedy for 2 weeks. One image became a Newsweek cover — and the one Kennedy chose for his book, “To Seek A Newer World.” Fried’s photo of the RFK funeral is in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
Fried also photographed Chiang Kai-shek, Willem de Kooning, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder and Meryl Streep.
For years, Tish and her sister have fielded requests for images. Locating the proper ones is tough.
“Having an archivist help us organize the material is a dream come true,” Tish says. Westport Arts Center board member Michael Loeb helped fund the research.
The early part of the process is going well. Tish and Lauren constantly find amazing images. One is an Andy Warhol selfie: The artist took Fried’s camera and shot pictures of himself.
The sisters recently discovered a 2-week shoot of Louis Armstrong on tour, and a photo of Bob Dylan posing with Zsa Zsa Gabor — at Mick Jagger’s birthday party.
More discoveries await. Tish Fried is a writer — but it’s almost like she’s in her father’s darkroom, waiting for the next exciting new image to appear.
(To learn more about Lawrence Fried’s archives, email firstname.lastname@example.org)