1992 – Chicago & Atlanta trip + Favorite ’92 photos
Alexander’s was a department store at the intersection of Routes 4 and 17 in Paramus, NJ, that was famous for a 200′ by 50′ mural by Stefan Knapp. The store had closed earlier in 1992, so I decided to take some pictures of it before it was disassembled into its original 280 panels and put into storage.
This is the main entrance to Holy Trinity Church in Hackensack, NJ, as seen from the side on a Spring day.
I was hired by Sony Japan to go on a mini-trip to Chicago and Atlanta with Sony publicists and Japanese journalists to shoot Public Enemy and Kris-Kross, respectively. I had never been to Chicago before (or since) and was only in Atlanta once before (the previous year with Sony to shoot Michael Bolton), so I wanted to get a little photo-flavor of these cities.
Unfortunately, my time in Chicago was limited (I was there for two days). I almost got to see/shoot a Mets/Cubs day game at Wrigley Field – which I would have loved – but then got a last-minute call to go with Sony, et al., to the University of Chicago for an impromptu afternoon press conference by Chuck D of Public Enemy.
Our hotel was very close to where Michigan Ave crosses the Chicago River, so I walked over there and got to shoot a rare sight: due to some repair work (I think), the road/bridge was in a raised position and blocked off by concrete barriers. I’m guessing it wasn’t a common occurrence, since there were people gathered at the periphery to watch the non-activity.
Using the fisheye lens, I was able to cram the whole scene, plus a lot of tall buildings into the shot. The crooked, illuminated STOP sign was the perfect centerpiece.
Having done the ground-level thing, I was determined to get to the nearby Hancock Center’s 94th-floor observatory the next day and got the fisheye shot of Lake Shore Drive, Oak Street Beach, the Gold Coast buildings and Lake Michigan. Fortunately, the weather cooperated both days and I’m lucky to have gotten what I did with so few shots (and little time to take them).
On to Atlanta!
Still in love with my fisheye, I was able to get a shot of the tall buildings surrounding me.
I’ve found online pictures of this entrance and it looks very straight/boxy, but the fisheye changed all that. When I shot this, my back was actually against the yellow pole you see at the top. And the guy standing near the door gives you some size perspective.
Inside, I THINK what this shot shows was in motion – kind of like a small production line, but for entertainment purposes.
If you come here, come here thirsty. There are soda dispensers giving free Coke soda of different flavors from all over the world and you feel compelled to try them all (well, at least I did).
A bit less-known in Atlanta than Coca-Cola is Tokyo Shapiro, which, to my surprise, did NOT feature any packets of oy sauce.
I live here. All the bricks on the roof and chimney damage were the result of an afternoon lightning strike. I was sitting in my living room on the other side of the wall right where the red X is when this happened.
It was pretty loud. Having my own door to the roof, I went out to see what happened. The bricks on the roof were still hot. In 2016, lightning hit the gray chimney, but on its non-visible right side. You’ll have to go to that year’s post for those pix/story.
These are my LONG-time friends, Frank and Elaine O’Toole. I was trying out a new long-exposure-painting-on-film lighting effect I came up with that involved someone dressed completely in flat black – including ski mask – who was standing behind them and moving a handful of Christmas tree lights in a circular motion. Pretty technical, huh?
I had an upcoming rooftop session scheduled with Dee Snider’s Widowmaker band and this was the test run………and this came out MUCH better. I love this shot!
On Halloween, I was busy with a project and didn’t want to be disturbed. I wasn’t.
What exotic place might this be? How about a puddle on my roof (and a blue filter on my fisheye lens)?
The historic facade of my building suffered a partial collapse in 2003 and is now flat because it was much cheaper to do that than to restore it, so this may be the best representation I have of it (and the reflection is a bonus).
Another ancient artifact is the TV antenna in the dark upper-right corner.
From my site:
I got this shot because a girl I didn’t know threw up on my sofa.
What, that’s not enough information for you? Oh, alright.
My friend brought her over for a shoot. She calmed her nerves with a little too much beer and later recycled it from the northern end onto my poor couch. She then asked me to shoot her wedding.
Make sense? Yeah – Sequitur City, right?
I got to the church early, liked the interior’s symmetry, put the fisheye lens on, and sat the camera on the floor.
So there you have it…………..from barfo to boffo.
This is one of my favorite pictures. My living room picture window faces a big municipal parking lot behind my building. Is there anything more boring than a picture of a parking lot? Yes! – taking that picture at night.
I have a Christmas Eve ritual unlike anyone else’s. On either side of my building is a church and both of them hold Christmas Eve services that begin at 8pm. Between 7:30 and 8, lots of cars pull into the central lot to park on the half that’s closest to their church.
Meanwhile, I’m 7 floors above them with my camera on a shortened tripod that’s perched on the window’s wide shelf. The camera’s shutter speed is maxed out at 30 seconds.
Did you ever see pictures of highways taken at night and all you see are solid streaks of red taillights or white headlights? Those are time exposures in which moving lights basically “paint” on the film while the shutter is open. That’s exactly what I’m doing here.
However, unlike a highway with a steady stream of cars and their lights, this is a lot more difficult because these cars are entering the lot sporadically and I have no idea where they’re going to park. When one car pulls in, I have to hit the shutter as soon as it does, because I’m hoping that it goes the length of the lot and turns one way or the other to park one lane closer to their church within those 30 seconds. That means that I’ll have a good shot in which white headlights turn into red taillights.
If the car parks right away in the central lane, I’ll have a short, boring, white light path.
This guesswork goes on fairly intensively for a half-hour and if I shot a full roll of 36, I’d be lucky to have 3 really good ones.
1992 was the first year I tried it and, although I’ve continued every year since, this shot from that initial year is by far the best I’ve ever gotten: two cars pulled in almost back-to-front, traversed the entire central lane and pulled into spaces in the opposite outer lanes (gotta love the semi-symmetry) – all within the 30 seconds and both providing nearly-perfect white-to red-transition (with some yellow sidelights connectivity).
It has been suggested that the car being driven on the side street maybe belonged to an atheist, but it’s clearly pulling into the parking lot. And what looks like a scratch in the upper left is actually light from the path of a plane that had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport in NYC.
And lest you think that I selectively hand-colored a black-and-white image to set off the car lights and the Peruvian restaurant in the background, take a look at what follows this pic. That’s the original 1992 slide. It took me a LOT of hours to remove all the other color, but I finished it in January, 2017, so it’s my 21st century makeover of my 20th century photo.
BTW – if you look closely, you can see some light glare in the original that reminds me that I never even opened the window to shoot that night. And if you’re wondering why the red taillights on the car on the right fade and then get brighter, the driver hit his brakes to park. It’s little less obvious in the car on the left.
And if you look REALLY closely, you might find midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building along the horizon that was curved by the fisheye lens.
I took this the day after the last concert I ever shot with the photo pass for the last band I ever shot. My last professional show was on October 9, 1992. I’ve done some fooling around since then with my little digital camera, but this turned out to be retirement day. That means all the hires and trips end here too, though I did get to take one special career-related trip in 1994 (see that year’s post).
Of course, I’ve been published ever since and just finished a string of four years in a row where my shots were used in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies – either in the program or onstage.
Now if only I could find someone with millions of dollars who wants a pretty cool music photography archive and who understands the value of full copyright………………..
You may have noticed my lack of a beard in the above photo – a rare occurrence (I’ve shaved it off twice since 1970).
I had a decent-looking photo taken in 1992, so if you’re tuning in from above, Mom, this one’s for you.