Friday, May 15, 2009

Words on a Portrait - "Bobby"

A while back I thought it would be a good idea to bring the followers of this project and blog a bit more information on the individuals that have been the subject of portraits thus far and a bit of history on the photos that were chosen for remediation.
Thus, as the first installment to "Words on a Portrait", I am please to introduce you to Bobby Grossman, a photographer whose body of work is one of the most important documents of the punk rock, new wave/no wave scene of the seventies and eighties.
Here is what he had to say:

Immediately after graduation from college in 1976 I moved back to New York. I rented an apartment at the Chelsea Hotel for a year or so and then moved down to Union Square. Up the block from me was the bank, my photo lab, Max's Kansas City, Andy Warhol's Factory and my new friend Chris Von Wangenheim.

My college room mate relocated from to Chicago and worked as Chris' assistant up until Chris' untimely death.

Some times on my way about my morning routine I would stop in on Chris and Nick and everyone to say HI and witness their planning for the afternoons photo shoot.

I might have phoned ahead first and brought along morning McDonalds and coffee too.

It was not uncommon for me to sit in a chair in front of the seemless and play "high fash-un model" as I began to wake up.

The routine was that to prepare for a days work a text roll or two was needed to indicate the levels for exposure and test the lights and color saturation or whatever. I'm not too techinquely knowledgeable but a few rolls were shot and then taken to Dugal color labs up the block off Fifth Avenue.

So freshly (or not) rolled outta bed with Greek coffee cup or Egg McMuffin in hand I would proceed to hold up fingers as Chris would begin the test rolls with the strobes flashing away.
Thumbs up or down, one, two (peace sign) etc.- get it...

When the test was complete we would walk the film up the block maybe get more coffee and the NY Post and wait for the results.

So here I am with my VOGUE cover shot. When worlds collide, PUNK rock and high-fash-un. This is 1980 so the rest is history.

I learned a lot from Chris. Like many others he is gone but his test portraits live on (in his memory.)

Fashion- turn to the turn to the right... Gabba gabba hey etc.

Bobby's work is currently on exhibition at the MINA Gallery through July 14th, 2009.

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