Erotic fantasies, violent and white and black in the Eighties, decadent and dark at the beginning of the next decade, candidly voyeurs in this twenty-first century. Richard Kern : I started out taking photos of the people that I knew around me.
The earliest photos were of people in my film and the drug scene. Then there was a period of shooting girls from Alcoholics Anonymous when I got clean.
I never really asked people to model, bored girls would hear that I was shooting photos and volenteer to model. Over the years I continued to drift through different scenes, using the women I met to try out different styles.
Models came from the art scene in New York, the porn scene in LA. There was a long period where models came from American Apparal stores.
One girl models then tells her friends and they do it. I took lots of photos of models just standing there but eventually I got bored with that and began trying to show the models doing something that will identify them in the time period we are shooting in. Landscape Stories : Your artworks of your first period explore the fetish. The punk movement.
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Can you tell me more? Richard Kern : I was very influenced by the attitudes of the punk movement. My fantasy with a lot of my fanzines and movies from that time were if someone looked at them, their brain would somehow be messed up a little bit more and by doing this I was helping to destroy culture as it existed. These are the dreams of angry youth.
I believed in no rules and no law. Maybe Fingered was successful in this in that many people told me that after they watched it their sex lives changed.
Now I get upset if I see someone not pick up the dog poop their dog has done on the sidewalk. I get indignant when I see a bicycle going the wrong way on a one way street. Landscape Stories : Can you tell me about your wild youth in New York? My neighborhood was populated by abandoned buildings and drug dealers. My first apartment here was, I realized after I rented it, in a building that was controlled by a drug gang. Four apartments were used to cut up and package heroin and coke and three others were used as places where junkies lived and shot up in.
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Landscape Stories : Your artworks, of your first period, explore the fetish. Landscape Stories : You explore the power of relationships between spectacle and voyeur. We would get kicked out and Richard Kern would just say hold on we're almost done! Camera usage at the park also required some crazy permits so we kind of got in, did our thing, and dipped out real quick.
Our last shot of the day, and also most funny was at this shady 1-star motel south of nyack NY. We wanted something gritty, with some character.
We actually pulled up some hotel reviews and picked the one with the lowest ratings. We set up in the room and Richard started shooting immediately. After like an hour and a half we started packing up.
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I remember walking out with a handful of clothes and camera equipment and the hotel manager started freaking out. He kicked us out and started yelling at us for taking pictures. I guess it might have looked like we were doing something else other than a peels shoot I guess it might have looked like we were doing something else other than a peels shoot.