"no one's ever owned me. no one's ever going to own me. you can rent somebody, but you can't buy 'em."
I first learned about Burt’s full story and the photographer side to his history from Burt’s Buzz, a profession he was good at while working with Time/Life and The International Herald Tribune in the 60’s, taking iconic portraits and other moments in time while living in New York City. Then, he found his true calling. The cultivation and raising of bee communities, eventually turning it into a pure health staple in many homes as we know it and see on almost every counter or make up aisle all over the world. The problem with this phenomenon was, Burt was not comfortable being an office man or in the limelight for Burt’s Bees. He found his peace living off the grid in rural Maine. He lived his life his way with Rufus Golden & Pasha Golden as his canine companions and best friends. Gone at 80 years.
Burt shot an image of trash piled up on a nearby garbage barge in the forefront of the Statue of Liberty landscape. It was a catalyst for eco-consciousness in America. He was a freelance street story seeker. Shavitz shot an image of legend Malcom X during one of his speeches and another with poet-writer Allen Ginsberg. The image of the woman in the window was in his building and was the deciding factor to leave New York and head to Maine where he would live the rest of his life.
It is wonderful that Burt allowed all of us to peek into his life at 76 being such a private man. Take a look at the trailer for Burt’s Buzz. A pretty incredible story of a man who became one with nature after his birth in New York City. Catch it on Netflix. Filmmaker Jody Shapiro
"I had no desire to be a upper mobile rising yuppie with a trophy wife, a trophy house, a trophy car. I was not looking for any of those things, I already had what I wanted, I had a canoe, a pony, a camp, land, bees and knowledge and that was all I really needed" -Burt Shavitz