Dennis Feldman’s Guide to Hollywood Boulevard’s Fantastic Weirdos, 1969–72
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Seen: Dennis Feldman Hollywood Boulevard

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“I photographed two bikers individually and then together. She was begging, and I said, ‘Is she with you? Is she anybody with you?’ One of the guys said, ‘She better be.’ I said, ‘Would you mind if i took her picture?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ and I went over and took her picture — she’s got so much feeling. There’s kind of depth to her, a sense of somebody who is very actively alive behind those eyes.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“Part of being a hippie was that suddenly you didn’t have to be buttoned down. There was a freedom to be silly. My father always tried to be dignified. He would never have dreamed of having people see him be silly. The Beatles were pretty silly. There were all kinds of freedoms opened up, just the freedom to be silly, it’s an absurd freedom, right? But not to have to be dignified … I was photographing a kind of liberation that I was aware of, but it’s much clearer in historical perspective.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“I was more interested here in the fact that their identities had so melded. There’s a series here of people who have kind of ‘twinned’ themselves — people merging identities, you know, people supporting each other's identities with these set styles …”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“This African-American couple is kind of mod cute, with matching lines. People are supporting each other’s identities, and they’re choosing together. There are a lot of different kinds, and they’re still choosing together.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“I’ve noticed there’s a lot of skin in this book, a lot of men exposing their chests, which you don’t see that much anymore. It’s a very sexualized move — it was a period of sexual liberation. There was a performance aspect, and an exposure aspect. An aspect of, we can show ourselves.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“I was really desperate to get these pictures, and to get every piece of detail I could as sharp and as full as I could. I believed in it, I really needed to do that.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“These were the icons in the imagination of America, and the heroes of the movies in a lot of cases ... or the villains.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“People were sweet, they were very generous with me in being who they were — you know, I did it right away, only a few shots. They really put it out there. They were really trying to be somebody who shows that.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“This guy struck me as an Elvis — totally struck me as an Elvis. The rock-and-roll archetype was really strong, and still is. He’s all in white. Something about the hair, the clothing. I don’t know what …”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“The way everybody holds their cigarette I find very significant.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“I was very conscious that everybody was an individual as well as a type. I had a very strong sense of their individuality as a person and of their universal struggle to be what they had chosen.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“I made this other book, American Images. I never had distribution for the book, so it didn’t get out much. I put the photo of the father and the kid with the camera on the front because i felt it was very personal to me: a kid with a camera around his neck, and the father with stars in his eyes.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“It’s clear to me that this mother has just taken her daughter to the hairdresser and giver her a full ... whatever that’s called ... this is a moment of initiation where this mother is saying: This is how a woman is. This is the first trip to the hairdresser. This is how you’re beautiful. This girl just seems to love her mother for doing that.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“That’s a package I’ve only seen in the movies, that kind of package. He looks like he just showed up, and these are archetypal moments, when you show up to the city with all your ambitions in a bag.”

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Photo: Dennis Feldman

“Coming to Hollywood Boulevard and leaving Hollywood Boulevard have struck me as being significant — a pattern of capitalism to come to the big city with all your hopes, and to have to leave the big city ... your star remains empty — they are not going to put your name on one of those stars.”

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