Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hitch Hikers Can Be Good For Business

I was driving home from a shoot at some Miami Beach hotel or another, heading west across the 79th Street Causeway, when I picked up a hitch-hiker, a young guy with shoulder length blonde hair looking a bit scruffy by the standards of the day. I was wearing a suit and tie, but my 1961 VolksWagen Microbus was brightly painted enough to set him at ease. Billy Robins turned out to be the lead singer for a local rock group, Fantasy. A couple of nights later I was at Thee Image where they were playing and I shot some black and white pictures of the few groups that were playing that night, passed out a bunch of my cards, and met the rest of Fantasy's members. Greg Kimple was the drummer, Billy's brother Bobby played lead guitar, and I can't remember the names of the rest of them at this point.

The following week I gave them some contact sheets and got an order for a bunch of 8x10's. They were all excited. It seemed that Liberty Records was interested in signing them. Within a month I got a call from a guy by the name of Wayne somethingoranother. He was producing the album and wanted to discuss my shooting the photos for the cover. The front was mostly a drawing with four little high contrast photos of the guys in the group. The cover opened up to give you a 12"x 24" centerfold. I shot the group sitting cross legged on the beach at sunrise using 120 Ektachrome in my Minolta Autocord.

Everybody seemed happy with the photos, and soon Wayne was on the phone again. Ike and Tina Turner were playing at the Newport Hotel in Sunny Isles. We set up a half day shoot and we hit five or six locations while being driven around in a stretch limo. These photos were taken in Greynold's Park, again using the Minolta Autocord.

I was looking forward to a lot more work, as lots of groups go through Miami, but Wayne and Liberty Records soon parted ways and he was my only contact there. Fantasy broke up, although that first album was fairly succesful. Thee Image closed down. Liberty merged with United Artists. I did manage to make some good contacts with several publications which resulted in my photographing a few rock festivals and lots of concerts.


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