The New York Years 1975 – 1980

The New York Years 1975 – 1980

In 1975 I moved from Boston to New York City where I opened a bookstore on the Upper West Side, with my sister and then brother-in-law. It was a big responsibility and it took up a lot of my time, but I met a lot of people most of whom were aspiring to be someone else: waiters into actors, clerks into writers, salespeople into artists . . . all of them swirling around in the mess trying to survive.

New York then, was a huge melting pot of every culture: I photographed in Chinatown, Little Italy, at the St Patrick’s Day Parade and Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving and Central Park was teeming with life. . .  There were buskers, protesters politicians and plenty of cops everywhere, in 1980 there was the Democratic National Convention.

After I left the book shop, I kind of floundered around and worked in a few commercial studios, but they didn’t pay anything. So I did it just for the experience. I worked the graveyard shift in a photography lab making all the inter negatives (making positive slides into negative film) and in another lab as a stripper, someone who used red tape to mask out imperfections on negatives before they were printed. I had a few shows and a few pieces published. I even worked for the World Olympic Committee taking pictures of “Sam the Eagle”, who was the mascot of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, (see the photograph “Sam Ronald Ueberroth”).  Yet, what I felt most attracted to were people on the streets and photographing them when they didn’t know they were being photographed, in the midst of the moment. . .that is what I found particularly fascinating. In those days, I had no problem sticking my camera in their faces to get the shot I wanted. I photographed people I knew, like the photographs “Addis” or “Boyce” but most of the others were in the street and they were all candid, “caught in the moment” photographs. I shot a lot of models like the photographs “Mysterious” and “Shelly” but I didn’t get the same satisfaction that I got from roaming the streets.

I stayed in NYC until the end of 1980 and one of my last memories was the night of December 8th, 1980 when we learned of the death of John Lennon, it was sobering news, I was devastated. We couldn’t believe it and the out pouring of grief was obvious by the number of people that showed up outside of the Dakota, the apartment building that John and Yoko lived in, as seen in the Photographs “Thank You John”, “Imagine” and “The Dream is Over”. I can think of no better words, to express the way I feel about the body of work I have amassed, than to quote the John Lennon song “In My Life”.

“There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all”

The New York Years 1975 – 1980

Please click on photographs below to view full screen.

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