IN MY OWN WORDS
In my Own Words I was born on Christmas in 1955 to Al and Lidia. Al was a NYC Police Officer who worked the Brooklyn beat (and later at the police building) and Lidia was a Holiday-on-Ice skater from Argentina. They met backstage at Madison Square Garden.
When I was 5, I was asked by the ladies at the Marjhong table to get Carvel in Coney Island and I had the money stolen from me by 5 kids and was left crying on the boardwalk. When President Kennedy died, I was 7 and was outside PS247. At 8, I wrote a letter to president Johnson about the Vietnam War and received a formal letter of reply. When I was ten, I kissed a girl named Nori in the back of a car and she complained to my friend that I was a bad kisser. At 11 I had a consultation with a plastic surgeon about the possibility of having a nose job.
My two brothers, Ted and Cory looked up to me when I was young . At 13, I went to an art camp in maine which my mother paid for by working there. Ted’s nickname in camp was Ted ”my brother’s the greatest” Nahoum. I took my first flight at the age of fifteen (to Detroit, Michigan: Eastern Airlines). At sixteen, I was a boxer at the P..A.l gym on 52 St and 10th Ave. I used to take the subway from Brooklyn and flirt with the hookers on 8th Ave on the way. At 17, my closest friend, Jon Silverman was paralyzed neck down for life in a water accident. At 18, I was a camera salesman at Alexander’s Dept Store in Brooklyn (I use to wear an orange blazer which I still have). I would steal cameras by having my friend, Jimmy Kokoruda, buy a 99 cent lens cleaner and I would then throw cameras in the bag and staple it. We used the cameras for scenic photos. Jimmy later died of a cocaine heart attack.
I sold type-writers door to door, sold t shirts, pressed silk screens onto t-shirts, was a lifeguard, sharpened ice skates in Prospect Park, taught deaf children how to swim, was a clerk in a bookstore, worked in a supermarket at the checkout counter, served ice cream at Baskin Robbins, sold pot, counted tickets at movie theaters, collected surveys for the movie theater industry to try to squash cable television, taught waterskiing, was a camp counselor, pressed garments in a sweat shop, was a taxi driver, photographed bar mitzvahs(my first one was at the Copacabana and the film didn’t come out ) worked as a salesman in a gift shop on 42 St, cleaned toilets, did laundry and ran errands for many photographers and film makers. At 19, my father made me take the Fireman’s test at Erasmus Hall high school and one of the questions was: “It is 4:30. What time will it be in half an hour?”……I passed.
At 21, I was a lifeguard in Brooklyn when I became a 3rd photo assistant. At the end of my first catalogue shoot, Patty Hanson kissed me on the lips and said thank you and I knew this business was for me. I later sat behind her and Keith Richards at a heavyweigh t fight at MSG and reminded her of the story and the influence the episode had on my career.
I then worked as an assistant for Herb Ritts. My first shoot with him he got stuck in Milan, Italy because of an airplane strike and used me to unravel his shoot. The second shoot he used me to set the f-stop and kept asking, ”are you sure it’s the right f-stop Ken??” In 1977, I was pulled into Studio 55 by Steve Rubel while assisting Klaus Lucka on the street.
I went to American University to study politics on a 1/4 swimming scholarship but my parents couldn’t afford it after I lost my scholarship. Qualudes and swimming don’t mix. I then attended the New School to study photography but didn’t finish. I went to Brooklyn College to study film and again didn’t finish.
In 1981 I got yelled out by Ron Harris for laying down his lines of coke in an asymmetrical pattern. I wasn't the user, that was my job! I went on to produce “Aerobisize” (an erotic aerobic dance video) with him. While he was occupied I started to shoot his projects: from Orson Welles(when he was big and fat and bored in an armchair) to campaigns for advertisers such as Wendy’s and Northrup. In 1982 I photographed fighter jets for Northrop flown by Chuck Yeager. I then moved back to New York and couldn’t get work. I had a girlfriend that would get jealous whenever I photographed girls so I started taking pictures of half naked boys. Andy Warhol loved the photos and used me in Interview Magazine to shoot naked photos of sons of celebrities. Andy would peer down at me from the balcony of the old Union Carbide building on 31st and tell Gale Love, the editor, how much he liked my pictures.
I did complete stories for Interview on Hell’s Angels and other characters:, Indians, Meronite farmers, etc.
In 1988, after doing David Johansen’s album cover for Buster Poindexter, I was hired to direct my first film: the Hot Hot Hot “ music video. In 1990 I started going out with Steffi Graf and shooting all her campaigns. She ended up buying the entire tower of the police building where my father once worked.
In a film shoot in India I brought two trunks of Evian water, saltine crackers, peanut butter and jelly, and a bunch of tuna fish cans and I still got an ameba. I became the official Death Row photographer and I did all the final films and photos of Tupac before his death. I also photographed Dale Earnhardt, Jam Master Jay, Lionel Hampton, and Johnny Cash. I opened Edge Films in 1986 after moving to Soho. I’ve also hosted two Super Saturday benefits in my house in Southampton to help raise $700,000 for ovarian cancer, and I’m still picking up glasses in the bushes.
Since then I have filmed campaigns for…..and photographed these celebrities…. And worked for these magazines….