Alive with the Dead: A Fly on the Wall with a Camera

Susana Millman & Dennis McNally Book Signing & Oral Presentation
with musical guest Paul Kamm
The Center for the Arts presents
Saturday, December 10
4:00-4:30 – Meet & greet mixer with live music by Paul Kamm
4:30-5:00 – Stories and discussion with author Susana Millman and guest Dennis McNally
5:00-6:00 – Book signing

Alive with The Dead: A Fly on the Wall with a Camera


Welcome to the creation and completion of Alive with the Dead: A Fly on the Wall with a Camera, a compendium of Grateful Dead photos and stories.


Why another Grateful Dead photo book? Not only is a striking and beautifully produced compendium of Susana Millman’s photography in an 12” x 9” hardcover landscape format, but there is more to this story.


Susana Millman, Photographer


Alive represents 25 years of my photographic work with the Grateful Dead and their later shape-shifting incarnations, providing a visual history of them not only performing at a whole bunch of shows but also offstage, pursuing outside interests and activities, many of which not only did good for the world but brought together some strange and wonderful combinations of people. Of course it all starts with the band on stage, forever improvising from their rich oeuvre. The images in the book will offer a highly personal vision of the great time I had shooting the band, sharing my memories with you so that you can cherish them and your own! This book is a unique visual cross section of life around the Dead in the ‘middle age’ of the band when they were already rock stars, no longer the communal hippie family of the early days, but with their persona and influence rippling out steadily into the world to become the unique musical and cultural brand they remain today.


My photographic intention is to capture the essence of a moment and leave a visually evocative memory of the experience. I love to shoot live, and transcendent moments occur when I am at one with the rhythm of the subject. This is true not only with the major areas of my photographic experience, musicians – especially Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead – and dancers – especially the Mark Morris Dance Group – but also when shooting travel, interiors and installations and documenting events and conferences.


I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, attended Cornell and Columbia and traveled in South America before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. International travel (especially off the beaten track) is a strong passion and my more recent travels have included Asia (India, the Silk Route, Myanmar), East Africa and Mali.

Currently I am working on a digital photographic book of my life and times with the Grateful Dead. My photos have been published extensively in works about the Dead, including the authorized biography, “A Long Strange Trip,” “Grateful Dead:: The Illustrated Trip” and “Grateful Dead 365” as well as in “L’Allegro, Il Penseroso y Il Moderato” the definitive study of the Mark Morris work of that name.


In an additional way the Grateful Dead has blessed my life, in 1985 I met and married writer and historian Dennis McNally, the long time Dead publicist. I am involved with a variety of progressive local causes, and also work with two international programs which support literacy – Caravan to Class in Mali and in Myanmar. As I have watched my two grandsons, Julian and Elias, blossoming in elementary school, it is even more important to me to promote childhood education at home and worldwide.


My photographic heroes include Robert Frank, Sebastian Salgado, William Eggleston, Jim Marshall and Andres Gursky.

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