“The New Yorker Magazine” “Talk of the Town”: Thirty Years Ago

For those of you that know me at all you’re already well aware of my life as a photographer pre-weddings. For two decades I had the special privilege of working as an advertising, magazine and catalog photographer with studios in NYC. I absolutely loved working in the magazine industry. In fact, for a while, I even considered applying for a job as an editorial assistant. Writing is such a fantastic career, especially if you have aspirations to work from home one day. That being said photography has always been my true calling in life. Over the years, many of my subjects happened to have been little kids, some of them very little in ads for diapers and related baby products, more than once flying through space either as angels or astronauts (don’t ask). But certainly there was a reputation that proceeded me of someone who, together with stylists and baby wranglers, could be counted on for “getting the shot” when it came to little ones.

The other thing I’ll add to this story is to point out that as a “commercial” photographer it was always (and remains) a pretty cool thing to be assigned photography for a magazine cover and over the years I’d had my photographs featured on the covers of Time, US News and World Report, Child Magazine and others. So when the editors of what was then known as “American Photographer” asked me if I’d take on the cover assignment for their August 1983 issue on photographing babies I thought, hehe this is right up my alley. The twist, the art director and editors’ vision was of a sea of naked babies, the more the better (something that would never “ever” be requested for the cover of an American magazine in 2013-my how times have changed). So the “models” were booked (“send me ALL your babies), the call was made to the one and only baby wrangler extraordinaire and long time friend Ms. Joyce Whalen and the shoot date was set.

While in our hearts Joyce and I probably both knew that this was going to be the ultimate challenging assignment we, of course, said “bring it on”. The editor of “American Photographer” knew perhaps even better than we did what lay ahead and in anticipation of the day asked his friend, writer William McKibben, to come observe the shoot. Well, it turns out Mr. McKibben was not just any writer, but the wonderful weekly story teller of “The Talk of the Town” feature in none other than “The New Yorker Magazine”. So thirty years ago this week, June 13th, 1983 (the same year Liz and I were married) this wild and crazy story was told, and while I won’t pretend that it tells the tale of a master child photographer showing off his well honed skills, being featured in “The New Yorker” to this day remains for me as special as seeing one of my photographs on the cover of “Time”.