1986 – Favorite photos of the year

Danny Fields is a legendary figure in the music industry. He was part of Andy Warhol’s original Factory gang, he did publicity for The Doors, he managed The Ramones and Iggy Pop, he wrote for trade publications, put out a couple of books (including one about his friend, Linda McCartney)……………..he even had an MTV show where he gave double-decker bus tours of musically-historic places around NYC.

I forgot to mention that he also edited music magazines. In this shot, he’s editing a bunch of my slides for Hard Rock magazine.

Danny was my favorite editor because unlike most other editors, he “got it”. When an editor “gets it”, he’ll pick out more of my “A” shots than my “B” ones (you wouldn’t believe some of the images that others selected that I had to switch out when they weren’t looking).

Danny picked “A” shots EVERY SINGLE TIME!! No other editor did that with my work.

The highest praise a photographer can give an editor: we shared an eye.

I’m proud to still be his friend.




Somewhat less legendary is this guy and the camera he invented – the decidedly non-legendary WinkMaster 3000.

Never before could pictures be taken with such ease. A simple wink activated the finger on the shutter button to take the picture.

One night – which, coincidentally, was Halloween night – I wore it to Madison Square Garden where I shot the Crackdown Concert.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say in advance of the show:



This is the ad for the show:

And here’s what the same New York Times writer had to say after the show:


But most importantly, here are a few of the stunning images I took with the amazing WinkMaster 3000:

Reluctantly, I DID take pictures with my other cameras and some of those can be found on bobleafe.com/ under “Crackdown Concert”.




Somewhere in Bergenfield, NJ:




Hands Across America! This photo is a recently-reworked version of the one on my site.

From my site:

Degraw Avenue, Teaneck, NJ

Wowee-Zowee! What excitement! What a waste of time!

For those of you born after the 1970’s, this event was supposed to be an unbroken human link from coast to coast to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness. Participants paid $10 to reserve a spot in line so they could hold hands with over 5 million people for 15 minutes at 3pm EDT on May 25.

I got a kick out of seeing all the hand-holders with cameras draped around their necks. How were they going to capture the big moment without breaking the chain and jumping out of line to get a shot like this?

And speaking of excitement, the Glenpointe Marriott Hotel (dark building in the center) sits at the biggest T-junction on the East Coast – where Route 80 begins/ends at I-95.

Be still, my heart.




From my site:

Giants Stadium, E. Rutherford, NJ

Photographed here at a non-football event, these girls were cheerleaders for the USFL’s New Jersey Generals…………..and the league STILL folded!

The Generals, of course were owned by a Mr. Donald J. Trump. For more on his USFL contributions:




From my site:

Teaneck, NJ 1986

I got an unusual call one night just before midnight from my mother………….’unusual’ because she was usually asleep by then.

‘Why aren’t you at the fire?’

‘What fire?’

‘The one down the street from you.’


Mom worked for the town and always had her Police/Fire scanner on. A food market on my street 2 blocks away was on fire. I had always wanted to shoot a fire, but am not the scanner/chaser type.

Here’s my one good color shot from that fire, since I shot mostly B&W that night. Next is the B&W that made it to the front page of the town paper.






This was the front porch door of the house I lived in for most of the 1980s – normally boring as hell, but not in the fall.




A few feet from that front door, I was hard at work taking this selfie (which maybe should be called a “feetie”).



From my site:

Brendan Byrne and Eliza Joy Phillips
Roseland, NJ

I was hired by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to go to the former New Jersey governor’s office and photograph the Honorary Chairman, for whom the Meadowlands Arena was originally named, with the CFF Poster Representative.

I arrived at his law offices and found him there with a sweet, beautiful little girl who was afflicted with this disease, though you couldn’t tell.

The photo was used in a CFF benefit auction program.




I went on the road to shoot Van Halen in Indianapolis with a friend who liked to drive. I took these two shots – probably on Route 80 – in either Ohio or Pennsylvania.

I think the rear end of the old Buick might have been the inspiration for the Wayfair sofa (below).








I got to shoot on the set of The Joe Franklin Show when a couple of Playboy bunnies I knew were interviewed on the show (one sang). Another one of them – who played Little Annie Fanny at the Playboy Empire Club in Manhattan – helped smooth out Joe’s makeup and then Joe posed for me.

I never put these pix on my site, so they’re exclusively here……….for now.






My career lifeblood:




On New Year’s Eve, 1986, I was at the Brendan Byrne Arena (later called the Continental Airlines Arena and then the Izod Center) to shoot Bon Jovi’s big show. There were lots of little sideshow things going on in the orchestra and I thought that this gentleman would be the one I’d want to remember. It’s not my best shot, but the smiling young ladies didn’t seem to mind.


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