Non LP B-side: Walking Heads
Long ago and far far away on the isle of Manhattan four American youths wandered the gritty streets in search of something. Could have been spring. Could have been summer—some time in the early eighties. Regardless—we were a band of friends looking for a phenomenon, and looking for amusement.
Maybe a little backstory is needed. I have been a photographer since I was in junior high school. In the time since I had photographed a lot of bands playing live in New York and New Jersey. I’m not quite sure how I landed it—but–I has become a staff photographer for a very arty New York City music magazine: “Non LP B-side”. I had a few things published in several of the issues over the course of time I was shooting for them. Hell … I was even on the masthead of the mag under photographers. Awesome!
So here we were, my friend Geoff Hoover, his good friend John Shoenburg (visiting from Missouri), my then girlfriend, Dorothy Orant, and yours truly wandering the streets of NYC having a wonderful time. John and I both had our 35mm SLRs with us that day. I had my camera—not only to take photos of us “yoots” messing’ about—but also because I was on a Non LP B-side assignment. I was tasked to photograph people who were wearing the latest audio gear, and music phenomenon: The Walkman. The Walkman and all its third party copycat clones had taken the world by storm. The Walkman was a revolutionary product at the time. A personal, portable, music device with headphones that could play back all your store bought cassette tape “albums” and all your personal “mix tapes” on the go. It was the iPod of its day. And the mix tape was the precursor to the iPod playlist. But rather than using RAM the Walkman used cassette tapes (image below).
As we walked around I had taken some candid photos of people wearing Walkmans. We also walked the outskirts of Central Park, where I chatted up a guy on his bike (wearing a Walkman) with his girl, and asked if I could photograph them. It was sweet. Wish I knew who they were. I may or may not have gotten their info at the time. And little did I know until many years later, John photographed me taking the phots of this couple.
But one of my F. A. V. E. photos was of mannequin heads in a discount electronics store. It was perfect! Even if I do say so myself. Even though the original photo was in black and white, there was something futuristic and telling about these chiseled featured, starkly made up, heads. I still love this photo even today. I think it was the impetus to my life-long fascination with mannequins in store windows. I’ve shot quite a few in my time, and still do.
Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan.Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan.
Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan.