Joan Athey of Victoria is taking late photographer Gerry Dieter’s 1969 images of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in for peace to Japan this week to launch an exhibit entitled Give Peace a Chance. Arnold Lim/Black Press

Joan Athey of Victoria is taking late photographer Gerry Dieter’s 1969 images of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in for peace to Japan this week to launch an exhibit entitled Give Peace a Chance. Arnold Lim/Black Press

Late Victoria photographer’s Lennon bed-in pictures heading to Japan

Exhibit curator Joan Athey taking iconic images to busy section of Tokyo

Late photographer Gerry Dieter was rather modest about the pictures he took of The Beatles’ John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono during their bed-in for peace in Montreal in 1969.

The now-defunct Life Magazine, which assigned Dieter to shoot that event – it ultimately gained mythic status in the years since – bumped the photo feature for coverage of the escalating Vietnam War. The photographer kept the negatives and they sat stored away for decades.

Fast forward to 2004. Dieter had moved to Victoria previously and befriended Joan Athey through their shared love for music at Swans Pub. Athey gained a sense of how much the photographs meant to the lensman and helped him mount an exhibit that year.

“They’d really become a part of his soul and he didn’t want to let go of them,” she said. “He had also fallen on hard times and didn’t have the kind of income he might have otherwise.”

An employee of CBC at the time, Athey also had a pretty good idea of the value of the photos. She encouraged him to share them further with the public, especially given that the message of the bed-in was about peace, a subject near to Dieter’s heart.

The photographer died in Victoria on Dec. 9, 2005, one day after taking part in a spirited tribute to Lennon on the 35th anniversary of his death, at the Royal B.C. Museum.

This week Athey, who purchased the collection after Dieter died, is in Japan to help kick off the Give Peace a Chance exhibit of his photos, honouring a longtime wish of his. People in that country still revere The Beatles and appreciate Lennon’s efforts to bring about world peace.

“I am just thrilled that there is a place now where, for at least a few weeks, people can go and experience the love, the optimism, the vulnerability and in their hearts feel a little peace,” Athey said of the photos and the story they tell of Lennon and Ono’s relationship.

The exhibit will be displayed in the high-profile Space Hachikai gallery area at Tower Records near the busy Shibuya Station in Tokyo. It includes a virtual reality aspect that allows viewers to experience the viewpoint of John and Yoko in bed, and Athey also has one of Dieter’s cameras she believes took most of the images from the bed-in.

Show co-producer Kozu Fukuoka, an acclaimed photographer himself, said in a release that the Shibuya area is popular with young people, which means even more people will see the images and the message they inspire.

“We hope this exhibition will inspire the younger generation to think about peace and love,” he said. “The images appeal to everyone, not just Beatles fans.”

As for Athey, she doesn’t claim to have the recipe for bringing about world peace, but she’s willing to see what happens when her friend’s photo story of eight days in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel is told to a whole new generation.

Give Peace a Chance, not coincidentally, opens Dec. 8 and runs through Jan. 8.

editor@vicnews.com

Photography

Just Posted

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read