Publisher: TBW Books
Publication Date: 2017
Binding: Hard cover
Signed: Signed by Mike Mandel
Edition: 1st Edition
illustrations (23 duotone and 4 color)
8.5 x 10.5 in
Created during the artist's time as a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Boardwalk Minus Forty was one of Mandel's first serious forays into what he jokingly refers to as "real photographs." Known later for his conceptual bodies of work, most notably Evidence, created with fellow artist Larry Sultan in the late 1970's and now regarded by many as one of photography’s most influential photo books, Boardwalk is a rare look back at the foundation the artist was building all along.
“My girlfriend, and later first wife, Alison and I lived always within a few blocks of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk amusement park in the early 70s. We’d often go down and play frisbee at low tide in front of the Boardwalk, it was a great backdrop, especially at dusk when the lights would come on. In the 70s it was an amusement park that was barely making it. It had (has) a great old wooden frame roller coaster. People from the San Jose area would drive over the hill, Highway 17, to get there, but I’d say the draw was more for the beach than the dilapidated amusement park. I enjoyed the crowds. I could easily camouflage myself and make pictures of the social interactions. Often though, I’d ask to take a portrait, and I’d find that the way people presented themselves to be photographed was just as interesting as the photographs that I made while I was invisible.
One of the themes that piqued my interest were the forty year old mothers who were there with their ten year old kids, and who wore bikinis that in an attempt to look twenty-five. And all that big hair! I felt a little like Lartigue, who as a child in early 1900s photographed the odd looking women in all their grandiose beach paraphernalia at Villerville Beach west of Paris. At the Santa Cruz beach in the 70s everyone was nearly naked and somehow that was all just fine. The Boardwalk was part of my neighborhood. It’s where I’d hang around to practice making pictures, I made lot of pictures of women. They were sexy, or were dressed or undressed like they were trying to be. The family portraits, the young lovers, the kids playing games, it was all a great show and I enjoyed capturing those moments.”
Mike Mandel, in a letter to Sandra Phillips, 2016