Frank Lisciandro on Père Lachaise and Jim Morrison

Acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, writer and producer

Frank Lisciandro is a key figure in the history of The Doors. He worked as an editor on the Doors’ documentary, Feast of Friends, as a co-filmmaker on Jim Morrison’s film, HWY, and published three books:

Frank first met Jim Morrison in 1964 at the UCLA Film School. They subsequently became friends in 1967, and remained so until Jim’s death in 1971. As a photographer and intimate friend of Jim, Frank’s photographs are an unequalled visual portrait of Jim during those years.

For an in-depth discussion on Frank’s friendship with Jim, see this excellent interview by Steven P. Wheeler, The Calm Calculus Of Reason: A Conversation with Frank Lisciandro.

Recently, I had the fortunate opportunity to ask Frank about his thoughts on Père Lachaise and why he thinks Jim continues to fascinate after so many years.

I have not been to Père Lachaise for more than 15 years. I lived near Paris for awhile in the early 90s, and I would visit the grave once or twice a month accompanying friends or visitors. On some days, the setting was quiet and almost reverent. At other times, especially in early July, the scene at the grave was a circus. The often-unsocial behavior did nothing to honor Jim; and it robbed others of their moment to honor him.

Jim’s poetry and music will live on. Every few years a new wave of young fans discovers the music of The Doors and the words of Jim Morrison. They immediately recognize that Jim had pertinent things to say about the issues confronting young people as they mature and seek a path through a wilderness of contradictions and rules.

Once the literary/academic world accepts that James Douglas Morrison was one of the most important writers of his time, his published works will gain renewed interest. Fans and the curious will continue to arrive at Père Lachaise for years to come to visit the poet they studied in class.

Jim Morrison was unique in American culture: a singer, songwriter, performer, poet, and keen observer of the process of vision and art. The world will continue to celebrate him and enjoy his works.

I look forward to returning to Père Lachaise. And I hope to exhibit—in Paris and/or somewhere in France—my photographs of Jim Morrison and The Doors again. It has been almost 20 years since my work was last shown in France. If there’s a gallery, museum or festival ready to host a showing of my images documenting the last three years of the performer/poet’s life, I’m ready to participate. Frank Lisciandro, October 24, 2012

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