For years, famous photographer Pedro Guerrero spent a significant amount of time here in Mineral Point. He was a gentle, unassuming presence. Most people who encountered him had no idea he was world-renowned, most notably for his iconic images of Frank Lloyd Wright.
This weekend we all can learn about Pedro’s work and life as PBS will air “American Masters: Pedro Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey.”
The connection between Pedro Guerrero and Mineral Point is a special one. (The photo below of Pedro and his wife Dixie is by Rick Harris.)
As Pedro’s wife Dixie explains “we loved Mineral Point from the moment we set eyes on it together in the early 1990’s. Back when Bobbi Jo’s was an ice cream parlor, we would get a root beer float and just sit in Library Park imagining what it would be like to live in Mineral Point. We just loved the atmosphere, the history, and especially the people.”
As their visits became more frequent and longer in duration, they made friends in town. “Diana Johnston and Tom Kelly were our first local friends. Pete (Dixie calls Pedro “Pete”) loved spending time with them and in the last year of his life they both made places for him in their studios so he could work on his newest art form — mobiles made out of rusty metal.”
In 2012, the Brewery Pottery hosted a show of Pedro’s rusty metal sculptures for the August 4 gallery night. The place was mobbed. (The photo below is by Gary Knowles.)
Pedro died just five weeks later at the age of 95. Here’s a link to the obituary that ran in The New York Times. Diana Johnston reflected, “Pedro was one the most amazing people I have ever known. He was brilliant, funny, charming and extremely talented. Spending time with him was the best lesson in how to live life to the fullest.”
After Pedro died, Dixie knew that Mineral Point would be her home, and it is. She reports that she “couldn’t be happier anywhere else. I know he would be pleased.”
Dixie added that the photograph at the top of the post of her and Pedro on the bench in Library Park was taken by Rick Harris who happened to be walking by when Dixie asked him to take the picture. Rick said “sure and added that he was a really good
photographer. I told him Pete was a good photographer too. But I didn’t tell him who Pete was until after Rick snapped the photo, which we laugh about now. I was very touched when Rick added Pete and me to the mural at the candy store. (See mural segment below.) I will also admit that Pete tried to carve our initials into one of the benches at the park, but he really couldn’t do it. Still, if you look very close, there is a very faint ‘P’ and ‘D’ on one of them.“
The PBS documentary “American Masters: Pedro Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey” makes its national television debut this weekend on PBS stations. Here is a link to the local listings and if you click here you can watch the trailer.
– Contributed by Lisa Hay, with input from Dixie Guerrero