Inspiration From 35 Years Ago

New Brunwick Light_020620

It’s odd what sticks in my head. Or what serves as inspiration, even 35 years later.

Getting off the train in New Brunswick, NJ, at dusk the other week, I turned around and saw this scene. Pulled my Fuji X100T out of my pocket and had to take a quick snap.

The light, the colors, the wet deck, the early evening blue of the sky. It all spoke to me in the two seconds it took me turn around and take it in, quickly.

But why?

Actually, I think I know why. It so reminded me of another shot I’ve seen a lot, in my head at least. This one.


I knew the edges but couldn’t remember the particulars. I knew who shot it though – my buddy Joe McNally.

Not sure where he was in world this time  (Tokyo, it turned out), I pinged him and asked him to remind me. Within a few minutes, he got back to me.

“Georgia Tech guard Bruce Darymple in Harlem, for a story I shot for Sports Illustrated in November 1985.”

Then, in another text: “Kodachrome – 20mm, one Larsen softbox, Norman 200B to camera left, full green on light, 30 points of magenta Kodak wratten CC filter on lens.”

(How he remembers all this off the cuff, I have no idea.)

Of course! I was a HUGE college basketball fan – a huge basketball fan in general – back in the mid-1980s. I was in high school, playing point guard and my life was basketball. Played it, watched it, read about it. I would devour any Sports Illustrated (or SPORT magazine) article on basketball back then. Heck, I created my own book covers in high school from SI covers.

I certainly remember seeing that photo from that issue, a cover story that had Bruce and Mark Price at the main subjects: One a city kid, one a country kid. I probably read it a thousand times as I always wanted to shoot like Price. The image was stuck in my head from way back.

SI Cover 1985


Joe’s photo of Bruce ran as a double-truck in the issue, text at the top and bottom.


Joe shared this on Facebook and added: It was a one-light homage to Greg Heisler, and all that he taugh us about color and flash….it was getting late and this was the only train I had a crack at…Train came in, opened doors, shot a couple of frames, we were done. Kodachrome 64 slide film.

At the time,  of course, I never expected to actually MEET the guy who shot it (But I’m no longer surprised when I mention a photo I’ve loved to Joe ,and it turns out he shot it. Remind me to tell you a Bo Jackson story some time.)

But every time, I get off a train and see this type of scene, I remember’s Joe’s shot..which was an homage to Greg Heisler. After all this time, looking so many pictures from then until now,  my mind still clicked to this one from 35 years ago when I clicked the shutter to take my photo.

That said, my New Brunswick shot has my film noir sensibilities going for it, and I wish I could recreate it with a femme fatale and a mug in a fedora.

I’ll file it away. Maybe some day it’ll happen.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2020

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