Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Night Life Ain't No Good Life, But It's My Life

If you've been following along you'll recall that, when I'm not photographing fires or... otherwise... working (making money), I've been preparing for a talk I'll be giving on Monday evening at the Apple Store in New York (SoHo). I've been looking at pictures trying to locate originals to scan, things I remembered shooting and would like to show. As a byproduct of my search I've found a few things that I'm not going to show but, because I'm weak, I scanned them anyway. This image is one of my favorites from the distant past.

Twenty five years ago I was living in a castle-shaped apartment building on the corner of Union Street and Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn's "Park Slope" neighborhood. Rumor has it that the building I lived in was the farmer's house (I guess when it was all farmland around there?) but I tend toward disbelief.

Anyway, I lived on the top floor and across the landing was another artist, Stephanie Jaffe, who worked in glass. Stephie also had a line of fantasy doll lamps called Night Life Night Lights and, being that I lived across the landing, you can guess who was tapped to do the photography for her advertising.

I don't remember the exact idea but it was as if the lamp... with four Barbie doll legs and an animal head (all glass), a few bits of fur, some toole and a lightbulb... was a real creature out for a night on the town. Stephie and I and my assistant, Keith Megay (who still remembers this shoot as a highlight of his career despite the fact that he's gone on to much bigger and better things) went down to Spring Street in SoHo and set this up.

I'd scouted the location earlier and arranged a permit. The shoot was tricky because it had to be in the evening, the light had to light-up and we didn't want to see any wire... and there was no budget for retouching. It took us a relatively long time to get the angle, set the camera and wire this thing so the wire wouldn't show. Well, almost two hours and a quarter mile of zipcord later, the lamp was lit and the shoot was underway.

The whole time we were making a spectacle of ourselves crawling around on the sidewalk, gaffers taping wire in the gutter, etc, etc, we drew very little attention. As soon as the light went down and I started shooting a couple of cops arrived to shut us down. Keith had the permit and nipped that in the bud right away. The result, above.

Night Life Night Light - Nikon F, 85/1.2 Nikkor lens, Kodachrome Type A film


Blogger Joe P. said...

I forgot to mention that Stephie was so successful with this project that the lamps were featured in the window at Saks Fifth Avenue!!

8:03 AM  

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