Short Encounters

I was born at the corner of West Grand Blvd. and Fort Street in Detroit right by the Ambassador Bridge in 1948. I’ve lived in and around Detroit my whole life. Meeting people was never a problem for me.

In February 1964 I kicked off my photographic career by taking pictures of the first American performances of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show right off my TV. Since then the entertainment industry has been very dear to me.

These short ‘encounter stories’ are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them.

Encounter – Tommy Bolin, Deep Purple

Tommy Bolin photo credit: Pinterest

I was running for an elevator at the Michigan Inn in Southfield, as the door was closing. The guy inside stuck his hand out to stop the door for me. I entered to find Tommy Bolin inside. He and I were the only ones in the lift. Both of us were headed to a party in the top floor ballroom and both of us were late! The party was given by Atlantic Records promotion man Ronnie (The Counter) Counts. Tommy was to meet and greet radio and record store people and I was there to shoot photos of the event.

Tommy was fresh out of England where he had joined Deep Purple for a short stint as lead guitar after their great guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left to start a new group: Rainbow. That’s when Tommy decided to go solo and make an album of his own songs.

We were in the middle of the activity taking photos and talking with the various luminaries at the party, drinking free beer and eating nice catered food, when Tommy told Ronnie it was time for him to go. This could be of no promotional help for his album ‘Teaser’ which was just out and the single from it ‘People People’ was starting to hit. The Counter asked me to help out and keep Tommy from leaving. I told Tommy to leave so early would be NFG and probably hurt the Detroit market for him and his new release. Luckily he agreed. ‘The Helper’ well, that’s just one of my names.

Encounter – Jennifer on radio

Jennifer on the radio at Wayne State University

I was wearing my Bob Seger hat when I walked into the bar next to my new hotel in Madison Heights, Michigan. The first time I went there I met an enchanting girl who was tending the bar, her name was Christina. On my next visit there I met another very nice girl named Jennifer who was waiting on tables. She told me her sister said I was in the music business, which Christina had found out from me through conversation. Jennifer asked me if I would let her interview me on her radio show at Wayne State University because of my involvement in Detroit’s music bizz. I said I would love to. During the interview at WAYN I shot some pics of Jennifer behind the mic and in and around the radio booth. When we finished she told me she needed to get an internship at a commercial radio station to compliment her studies in the communication classes she was taking. I told her I would look into it for her.

That evening I called my friend Jim Ryan who is the morning man at WCSX. I asked him if he needed an intern for his show, he was startled! He said: “how did you know”? His morning intern quit the same day. I told him I had a friend who was looking to do an internship. I mentioned her qualifications and praised her just enough to have him tell me to have her call him the next day. I thought about it for a second then sent to his cell phone one of the pics I had taken of the very pretty Jennifer. He called me back in less than a minute and said: “give her my cell phone number”. That worked! Got her a gig on big time radio!

Encounter – Models

Amber 2004

Sitting in my office at our studio in Clawson, Michigan our photo assistant Tim came in and said there was a girl at the front desk sent by Rika, a modeling agent at The Talent Shop to see me. Rika occasionally sent girls to me to photograph for their composites (a printed sheet composed of photos of a model) so the agency could get them work. A few minutes later in walked Amber, at that time in my life the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I was overtaken, overwhelmed, and just blown away! We talked for a minute then set a date and time for her to return to the studio to shoot some photos of her. I called Rika later and thanked her.

Amber and I became friends, drove around town together, watched movies together then when she moved to Florida I visited as often as I could. When she got married and moved to Texas we were in communication via the Internet.

To this day, twenty-two years later Amber is still at the top of my favorite subjects list. Haven’t seen her in years but so what? I still have photos of her that I can look at whenever I want to.

This short story is one of many that are kinda similar in a photographer’s life. I’m glad of that!

George Clinton on Boy George

Funk 'em, just to see the look on their face

George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic

In the mid-80s I was asked by the Capitol Records rep to go with him and George Clinton out to WCHB radio to take some photos of George and the stations’ program director Wade Briggs. We were in a limo with George sitting up front with Robbie the driver, I was in the back of the car with the promotion man. The radio was on and Culture Club’s hit song Time Clock Of The Heart came on. George turned it way up, turned around to us and said: “Man this Mutherfuc@er can sing”!


Encounter – Karen

Karen and I at the Detroit Historical Museum show of my work.

Just after the book Travelin’ Man came out in 2009, a book Gary Graff and I wrote on my time on the road with Bob Seger. I was at a library in Monroe, Michigan giving a talk on the book when Karen Appling came up to me and asked if I could fix my closed eyes in a photograph she and I had taken at the book release party a month earlier. I said sure! This turned into a friendship that to date hasn’t faded one bit! The two of us have made memories that only Bob Seger fans could get to and that’s a stretch because we are so much more than just fans of a rock star.

There is a display of my photographic work at the Detroit Historical Museum consisting of the images from my aforementioned book Travelin’ Man. The party to open the display was the day before Bob Seger Day in Michigan (March 15). I was very happy at what the museum people had put together, they made it look so cool.

The next week my friend Karen and I went to see it, again I was thrilled to see my work in the Historical Museum of my hometown!



Tom Weschler
Tom Weschler
Tom Weschler is a professional photographer known for his photography of entertainment and music bands and singers. He studied at Oakland University and taught photography at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Tom was Bob Seger’s road manager and photographer in the 1960s and 1970s. Weschler published a book named Travelin’ Man, a photo collection on Bob Seger’s career, which includes a foreword by John Mellencamp and an afterword by Kid Rock. A new book of Tom’s is soon to be released, In the Blink of an Eye: Photographs 1964 -2014, as well as future books on music, art, and fashion models. He is also currrently working on two movie projects.

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