After years struggling in recovery, Tighe shares with us a celebrity goldmine from the past
Sometimes, a photograph captures a moment so personal, it reveals a truth no other moment can–even if it’s only true for that moment. Michael Tighe’s life is a string of these moments, resulting in some of the most striking photographs of celebrities PotatoMike has ever seen.
Famous people we thought we knew look more like us–and yet more extraordinary–than we ever thought. It’s almost inconceivable to see such private moments in the life of someone we’ve never met. These images cause an unusual ache, a yearning only slightly definable, an ache of melancholic nostalgia. Even the staged images drip with exclusive realness.
Vulnerable, alone, playful, authentic, moments we save for loved ones, almost uncomfortably intimate–these photographs are sometimes voyeuristic, sometimes accidentally honest, always moving.
How can one man get so many amazing images? Tighe has spent much of his life in rarefied air, but he didn’t start out that way. As a teenager, Michael wrote letters (yeah, like with a pen on paper) to artists and entertainers all over New York City–30 to 40 per week. His scrappy approach eventually paid off when Al Herschfeld, artist Frank Stella and “Candid Camera’s" Allen Funt. By the age of 19, Tighe got his first gig with New York magazine. That’s when all the fame got going. Andy Warhol called, then Allen Ginsberg. Suddenly Tighe shot into the world of notoriety, gaining some of his own. But fate laid traps all around. “To keep things interesting, I started shooting heroin,” says Tighe. “I made a mess of my life, I lost everything.” Perhaps Michael Tighe’s own personal struggle has earned him the compassion to scrutinize without judgement, to love unconditionally.
But for him, heroin led Michael to a dark and long road and ultimately the hole in his arm became a point of critical mass, a black hole that dragged everything–including photography–into it. Heroin is no stranger to casualties. But Michael was lucky. And now he finds himself recovering and with an unbelievable cache of truly exceptional photographs. Many that have never been seen–until recently. And we are proud to offer them at PotatoMike.