“I AM IN LOVE WITH ASBURY PARK AND THIS IS MY WAY OF TELLING THE WORLD”: PHOTOG MIKE BLACK
Area photographer Mike Black has been at most every event of note in our city for decades, capturing the moments with his camera. His images of Bruce Springsteen on stage in town have been seen around the world.
Recently, he released his first collection of stellar images in a 2012 calendar which benefits many great local charities and celebrates our city’s architecture and moments through the years. I spoke with Black last week.
TBP: What are some of the images you are most well-known for?
Black: The biggest thing I’ve done with photography was a time lapse video the day of the blizzard last year. I set up my camera to take a photo every five minutes for twenty hours. The video captures my deck getting swallowed up in snow.
The video went viral with over one million views the day it was published. It was shown on every television network. Even the BBC called to ask if they could show it worldwide.
Between television and internet, the video has been seen by tens of millions. Put ‘Mike Black Blizzard video’ into Google and you’ll find it. (Or click here)
I was also published in Rolling Stone for the first time in 2011 when Bruce Springsteen played The Wonder Bar during the summer.
TBP: You have met and photographed Springsteen several times.
Black: Once, we talked about the Big Bang theory. I’m a science teacher, and he mentions in concert video that the evidence for the Big Bang was discovered in New Jersey at Bell Labs. I told him how cool it was to be able to reference the Big Bang and Bruce Springsteen in the same sentence. He really liked that.
TBP: That’s fantastic. What inspired you to make the 2012 calendar, which has sold hundreds already?
Black: I had all these photos of Asbury, and wasn’t doing much with them, and I’m a fan of calendars, which may sound weird but I am, so I contacted a graphic designer, who took my photos and did the rest.
When you’re in love you want to tell the world. Carl Sagan told me that’s why he teaches science. That is why I made the calendar. I’m in love with Asbury Park, and this is my way of telling the world.
TBP: The colors are so striking and vibrant in the calendar images. Is there a special technique you used?
Black: A few photos use a process called High Dynamic Range, which gives some of the photos a ‘surreal’ look.
TBP: Your passion comes through in every photo. And the “June” image is your favorite as well as mine. What is the story with that image?
Black: It shows 20,000 to 40,000 people on the beach in 1988 during a WNEW Memorial Day Friday concert.
People were there the night before and the next day Asbury Park was filled with more people than I’ve ever seen. I was DJ-ing at WHTG FM 106.3 and talked my way backstage and climbed up behind the drummer. My back is actually leaning against The Casino about 20 feet up in the air.
TBP: The perspective of the photo is what the performers saw looking from the stage, which is phenomenal. The entire beach filled with people.
Proceeds from Mike Black’s 2012 Asbury Park calendar benefit local charities including the Monmouth Food Bank, and Wag-On Inn Rescue.
Purchase the $20 calendar on eBay by searching ‘Asbury Park Calendar Mike Black’ or by clicking here. In Asbury Park you can purchase it at The Galleria in Convention Hall, Holdfast Clothing, SICA [Shore Institute for Contemporary Arts], and Flying Saucers.