Back in the spring of 1965, we would spend a day walking around the streets of New York City taking pictures. I had a black body Nikon F with a 50mm f/1.4 (still have it, actually) and we were just some kids playing with cameras.
There was a totally different atmosphere on the streets back then. It was ok to point cameras at things. Of course, the ‘tiny’ Nikon F and 50mm, although giant compared to the rangefinder bodies of the time, was a lot more unobtrusive than todays larger bodies, battery grips and lenses. But still, people didn’t seem as threatened by it all. If they didn’t want their picture taken, they’d let you know: verbally, by putting their newspaper over their face or by turning away. There were some places where you couldn’t take pictures. For some reason, the subway was one of these. We never knew why but we tried not to get caught. People on the street were just as likely to ask you what you were taking pictures for and point out something they thought was interesting.
This is what happened with these ties. We were walking down Canal Street in Manhattan looking in windows, knocking at every door (so to speak). At that time, Canal Street was the surplus electronics market for the area. You could buy old radar microwave units, vacuum tubes the size of your head, printed circuit boards that were mostly hand soldered wires and stuff that you didn’t know what it was, and often, neither did the shop owners. We walked out of a store and a street vendor called out ‘Hey kid, take pictures of my ties!’. I looked over and there was this large cardboard box filled with about 100 of these ‘Chest Protector’ style ties, very similar to what was hanging in my father’s tie closet, although these were a bit more…er, colorful.
As we were shooting, he reached in, grabbed one and said “Look at this one!” This was it. Brightest tie in the box, probably the brightest thing short of the traffic lights for blocks around. We layed it out a bit and shot it, then we all laughed and I bought it and we all laughed again. I actually wore it when it was sort of in style (first wife never really appreciated my self proclaimed sense of humor) and I may still have it for all I know, buried amongst the stuff and crap that you collect despite yourself.
This was scanned from the original Ektachrome and the color was ‘restored’ in Photoshop and Lightroom. Wish I knew the exposure or f-stop but, hey guys, it was 45 years ago and the 70′s sort of got in the way. I’m happy I remember this, even if I’m making it all up. What do you remember from 45 years ago? Thought so!