Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tanya, Lamont, Ill. 1996
By 1996, I had already been pigeonholed as a fetish photographer and was eager to do erotic work which relied less on fetishistic textures and more on earthly elements. Tanya was a cool-looking girl I knew from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was just one of the many artists I met during the early hipster years of Chicago's Wicker Park in the mid-to-late 1980s.
I had wanted to go out into the country to do a shoot, so Tonya and I headed west from the shores of Lake Michigan. We got off the highway at some random exit and ended up in Lamont, Illinois. The town sounded like one of those small towns in a Tom Waits song. Going less than a mile, we discovered photography-location heaven in the form of an old car graveyard. We pulled over, and I excitedly grabbed my Mamiya from the backseat. While tearing through the thick humid air seeking something particularly pleasing to my visual aesthetic, we tried our best not to overturn flooded hubcaps which provided nurturing housing for colonies of blood-thirsty mosquitoes. Our flesh was hot, moist, and tasty that day so we had to act fast to avoid being eaten alive. We shot some random poses next to some wrecked out Buicks and then wandered deeper into the automotive wasteland. As we edged our way further in, the vegetation grew thicker and the cars got older. We soon could not forage any deeper and decided to trek back to my modern car (a 1989 Mitsubishi Mirage) where the comforts of AC awaited us. Before getting back in the car however, I noticed reflective puddles of water in the road and did a few more shots. Once in the car, we counted the number of mosquito attacks we had on our bodies and decided to head back to the big city.
At the time, I was very proud of this photo series but was disappointed that fans of my work were not appreciative of the images simply because of the lack of a fetish-oriented theme. I didn't care though. The art of photography has always been my first passion with subject matter running a distant second. I'm glad to say now that more and more people are enjoying my non-fetish and street photography. When people can appreciate my work from a non-sexual perspective, then I feel good as a photographer.
To see the rest of the series, click HERE