About Fred Price
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio among the steel mills and rolling farmland. Everyone worked in “the mills” and grandpa Nemeth also had a farm. He would work the mills at night, the farm in the day.
Graduated high school in 1955, went into the army the same year, although a very poor soldiergot an honorable discharge in 1958. In the army got to Germany and became a jazz fan andbecause of that went to New York City. Was in Youngstown when Lester Young died in March1959 and was in New York when Billie Holiday died in July 1959. I briefly worked in the mills toget money for New York.
All I knew when I got to New York was, 1) I didn’t want to be in the army, and 2) I didn’t want towork in the steel mills.
An office job seemed paradise. It was the time of the beatniks, and I had a pad on East 6th st. between C & D. Later known asalphabet city. The neighborhood had poetry and jazz, annoying folk music and crappy art.I was in the notorious Cafe East which had made Daily News headlines when Ronnie “MauMau” Jackson got busted with marijuana and a copy of “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac in hisback pocket.
A fellow I casually know, Michael Chassid, a photographer, asked me what I did for a living. Isaid that I was a flunky on Wall Street. He asked if I liked my job. I said I hated it. He asked howwould I like a job in photography. Although my brother and I had a darkroom in what had beenthe coal bin after we got gas I said I dont know anything about photography. Developer, shortstop and fixer was everything I knew.
He said that was enough, there was a guy in his building that was a commercial photographer and he had an assistant who was so dumb that Michael said that he could get someone off the street who would be better. E.B. White said “Don’t go to New York unless you are prepared to be lucky.” I had never heard of White and found this out years later.
I met Dave Sussman and he hired me. I stayed 7 years. Dave was and is an excellent photographer who could do everything but make a good living. He taught me everything technical and some artistic stuff. I didn’t know many people in New York so among the things I could was to take classes at night. Stuyvesant High School, Washington Irving High School, Cooper Union, the New School. All within walking distance of my job and my apartment.
I also took lessons on my saxophone with the great Lee Konitz and attended the Michael Carver School of Art. I went to a lot of jazz clubs and belonged to the Marshall Chess club.
By 1972 Faye Chan and I were together, eventually got married. Together we photographed and printed, became road runners, back packers, took a trip around the world as budget travelers, became bakers, farmers, and inn keepers.
After our world trip we left Manhattan and moved to the Sullivan County Catskills. We became poultry farmers and opened a Bed and Breakfast where I had a Gallery. I was on the local public radio station where I was sometimes a jazz disc jockey, author interviewer, and free form radio guy. I had one show where I showed John Crawford, Ralston’s youngest son, the very fine sculpture. John and I have been friends since he was 13 or 14. I am friends will Neelon and Bob too, but closerwith Peggy. She has said that no one knew Ralston and his work than I did in those years.
The floods came we are now in the finger lakes region of New York and have no B & B or gallery. And no radio. I have been exhibiting since 1972 to now, sometimes with New York Galleries, and sometimes where I live. I do Straight photography and now some digital printing.