As I learned more and more about photography, I began to appreciate the work and philosophy of Alexey Brodovitch, influential art director of Harper’s Bazaar magazine (1934–58).Brodovitch believed less in genres of photography than in good pictures.Even Boston and Chicago had 50,000 watt stations that featured a healthy diet of country music. I didn’t know all of this when I started photographing the obscure long-forgotten beer joints and music parks, and the never-remembered people who patronized them. I didn’t want the music, and the people who made it, to disappear. And sometimes for low-paying magazines and clients.
That’s what my history teachers, Jesse Lemisch (at University of Chicago) and E. Thompson (at University of Warwick), taught me to do.
These cultures and places might vanish, but it is a historian’s righteous duty to make sure that they leave a trace.
“Even if you make bad pictures,” he said, “you’ll have a good time.” Thank you for that, Harry.
It was very much with these ideas in mind that was born.
I didn’t know there’s be a plethora of scholars, formal and informal, to do what I set out to do—much better and more thoroughly, it turns out. I’m not humble bragging when I say others did it better. Few of them had investors and marketing teams to direct their careers. He told stories about work, friends, cars, and sports. His favorite story was the one about selling a lady two left shoes.