This timeline (cynically) charts the evolution of observational documentary in America, from 1960 to the present. The first still is from Primary, a game-changing film about JFK and Hubert Humphrey’s life on the campaign trail. Its principal architects were producer/soundman Robert Drew and photographer/editors Ricky Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker, Terence McCartney-Fillgate, and Albert Maysles.
Fifty years later, four of those gentlemen are still making films, but sadly, Ricky Leacock recently passed away. Peter Schneider, an old friend of mine who co-owns Gotham Sound, a sound gear sales-and-rental house in NYC, asked me to write about Mr. Leacock for their blog, the Gotham Gazette. I was thrilled and flattered since their blog passionately promotes the values and standards of 60s and 70s New York City location filmmaking at its best.