DARRYL PITT BIOGRAPHY
Darryl Pitt was an editorial photographer before becoming an artist manager and driving force behind the launch of the New Age music phenomenon. He also figured prominently in the popularization of meteorite collecting and is the Meteorite Chair of the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum (which features the five largest pieces of the Moon on Earth, acquisitions Pitt engineered).
Pitt was a co-producer of a Simon & Garfunkel tour and, more recently, the co-producer of the "Nearness of You" concerts in honor of Michael Brecker. With the artists Paul Simon, James Taylor and Hugh Jackman among others, Pitt helped to raise more than $5M to help fund the cancer research of Drs. Azra Raza and Siddhartha Mukherjee.
The principal of Depth of Field Management, Pitt represents 5-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves. Multi-Grammy winning drummer Antonio Sanchez and Korean vocalist Youn Sun Nah are also clients-the latter being a recent recipient of the highest cultural honor bestowed by the French government.
Pitt is the founder of the Macovich Collection of Meteorites, the world's foremost collection of aesthetic iron meteorites. Institutions that have acquired meteorites from Pitt include the Natural History Museum (London), the American Museum of Natural History (NYC), The Academy of Sciences (Beijing and Moscow) and the Smithsonian. Numerous luminaries have also acquired meteorites with a Macovich provenance.
In the late 80s when few seemed to care for aesthetically shaped meteorites, Pitt traveled the world searching for those rare specimens he felt were extraterrestrial objets d'art. In his effort to generate public interest in meteorites in the mid 90s, Pitt made select specimens available in the first natural history auctions. For the first time meteorites were photographed as abstract sculpture and the value of meteorites-among the rarest objects on Earth-shot skyward. For years the vast majority of meteorites offered at traditional auction houses had a Macovich imprimatur. Arts & Antiques magazine named a meteorite with a Macovich provenance one of its "100 Top Treasures of the Year", the first time a meteorite was so designated. More significantly, as a result of Pitt's efforts to popularize meteorites, meteorite research has enjoyed an unparalleled boon. The news of Pitt's auction sales became the catalyst for a legion of new meteorite hunters to scour the world's deserts for meteorites-resulting in the recovery of scores of scientifically invaluable meteorites including dozens of new specimens from the Moon and Mars.
In 1997 Pitt designed and created the first interplanetary collectible, the Mars Cube (1/10 carat of Mars rock sealed in a sterile vial suspended in a three-inch Lucite cube accompanied by a "Mars Owner's Manual"). Launched to great fanfare, thousands of units were sold.
When Pitt noticed something unusual in the most famous meteorite in the world (on display at the American Museum of Natural History), he reported his findings to scientists at UCLA. The research which subsequently ensued resulted in a 2015 cover story in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, the foremost scientific journal in the field (Vol 50, No 12; pp 1984-1994) and a reclassification of the meteorite itself. Pitt was named a co-author of the paper as an honorary acknowledgement by the cosmochemists conducting the research.
Seven years ago the founder of the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum, Dr. Lawrence Stifler, provided Pitt with a mandate to create an impressive meteorite collection. The result exceeded all expectations; the Museum opened in December 2019 to raves from The Boston Globe and The New York Times.
In the book The Art of Collecting Meteorites, legendary meteorite hunter Robert Haag stated, "There is no one who has done more to popularize meteorites than Darryl...except me!"
The son of a big band musician, Pitt was born in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan where he became a protege of the renowned art historian Rudolf Arnheim. He then moved to New York City to join the staff of Rolling Stone. Pitt's photographic work has appeared in scores of publications including Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune, Playboy, Der Spiegel and Paris Match. He was a tour photographer for Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bob Seger, Joni Mitchell and Diana Ross and for seven years was the official photographer of Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival. Album cover credits include releases by Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones and Herbie Hancock. While working in Montreux in 1981, Pitt met and later became the co-manager of Swiss multi-instrumentalist, Andreas Vollenweider, who then went on to sell 13 million albums in the process of ushering in the era of New Age instrumental music.
In 1984 Pitt became the manager of another photographic subject, Michael Brecker, a 15-time Grammy winner widely considered the most influential saxophonist since Coltrane. With Pitt's support, Brecker commenced his solo recording career, and the two worked closely until Brecker's death in 2007. In 2000, nearly twenty years after having taken the photos for her debut album, Pitt became the manager of Dianne Reeves, the preeminent jazz vocalist in the world.
Pitt ended his career as a freelance photographer upon becoming Brecker's manager. Decades later, when in Los Angeles accompanying Reeves during the filming of her singing in George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck", Pitt learned Brecker was seriously ill. Saddened by the news he decided to drive to Death Valley, but a record rainfall in Death Valley resulted in it being blanketed with wildflowers. Brecker wanted Pitt to send him his pics of the phenomenon but Pitt demurred as he felt they were mediocre. Upon Brecker's first hospitalization, he asked Pitt for flower photos for the walls, and Pitt acceded-not with images from Death Valley, but from a single community garden on New York City's Upper West Side. The notion of "one garden" was inspired by an exchange Pitt had with Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit. When Pitt marveled at Elswit's never-ending creativity on the set of "GN&GL", Elswit responded,
"One of the great challenges and delights is to try to discover new possibilities when we think they don't exist-and not just on a cramped movie set, but in life."
As Brecker was confined to a hospital room, Pitt confined himself to a single garden. 14 years have gone by and Pitt can still be found in this garden. His images have received much acclaim and in 2019 he commenced posting on Instagram [@onefloweratatime].
DR. STEVEN PITT
Pitt is the brother of Dr. Steve Pitt, a nationally renowned forensic psychiatrist. In 2010 Steve was hired to evaluate a spouse in a divorce proceeding. He advised the court that without psychiatric treatment, the husband would "continue to unravel...become increasingly paranoid...and pose an even greater risk for perpetrating violence." The defendant never received treatment and in 2018 he executed Steve and five other imaginary tormentors before ending his own life.
Darryl Pitt hopes to honor the memory of his beloved brother and other victims of all strains of violence by trying to provide in his life more music, beauty, wonder, kindness, humor and love.
Here is a funny story about Darryl Pitt's brother Steve, as told by one of Steve's high school friends. (The upshot to this tale is that the friend telling the story went on to become enormously successful.)