new wave

It was the 80’s. Life was Good. (#3)

I hope when you are my age, you’ll be able to say – as I have been able to say:
We lived in freedom. Our lives were a statement, not an apology.

– [I can’t believe I’m voluntarily quoting] Ronald Reagan

“Old Daytona Beach” had so much more charm than today’s version. One could say the same about the subject of today’s photo, my lifelong friend, John.

“John” Ilford film & chemistry; Nikon Photomic FTN SLR; lots of cassette-taped music; Daytona Beach boardwalk (near the old clock tower); circa 1980.

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It was the 80’s. Life was Good. (#2)

There is so much I could say about Danny, but I don’t have all day to write this post. He was an innovator, to say the very least. He was creative, daring, delightfully outrageous, and above all else, Danny was true to himself. Our friendship began in the 10th grade at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Florida. That would have made it about 1977.

One summer afternoon in 1980, Danny put on his self-made MC Hammer pants (Note: MC Hammer didn’t design MC Hammer pants until the late 80’s) and white rubber boots and we headed downtown in my 1975 MG Midget convertible. We walked down the sidewalk enjoying people’s stares and as we passed an abandoned storefront, Danny reached out and tried the door. The photos that resulted were the first photos I ever captured that came with the feeling that I was really, truly creating something with my camera.

An illness took Danny much too soon. There was so much he and I shared that was fundamental to my view and experience of life. I miss him and still think of him often. I hope that in some way I am keeping his memory alive by sharing a few of these photos more than 30 years after we shared the fun and excitement of that afternoon.

“Danny” Ilford film and chemistry; Nikon camera; great friendship. Circa 1980.

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It was the 80’s. Life was Good. (#1)

I had just graduated from high school. The Reagan era, the punk movement in the UK, new wave, amazing and bad and amazingly bad hair styles, innovative clothing and jewelry (at that time, one or twelve safety pins through the ear was extremely extreme!), general civil unrest and a seemingly universal dissatisfaction with the status quo were wonderful creative influences for this kid with an SLR and a darkroom. I was fortunate to have friends that were equally creative in other ways, and who had no qualms about being in front of my camera.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the photos over the next several blog posts that I took of my two closest friends from that era. One (John) is still my best friend; he’s in the photo featured today. Perhaps you’ll recall I wrote about him once before in my tribute to my high school biology teacher, Mrs. Fagerberg. Sadly, the other friend (Danny) was taken from us not too many years after we made his photos.

John had moved to Daytona Beach a few months earlier, just a couple of hours drive away. On one of my first weekend visits to see him after he moved away, we listened to a lot of Gary Numan’s album Telekon and went down to the boardwalk to shoot these photos. From a historical perspective, the boardwalk no longer exists as you’ll see it in the photos taken that day.

I’m still accused of having “purple hair days.” For the record, I really thought it was a good color for me. It went well with the safety pins I’d pierced my ears with.

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“John” Ilford film and chemistry. That’s pretty much all I can tell you. Thanks to my dad for scanning the stack of negatives I handed him upon arrival for my recent trip to Florida.

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Do you remember the 80’s? Go on… please post a comment below and share a moment, favorite 80’s band or song.