Long before I took up photography in 1992 which was after I received a Minolta as a December 1991 Christmas gift I had always enjoyed Holiday store window displays.
Born in the rural area of Southern Maryland in October 1953 (USA) and raised on a farm one of the first Christmas seasons that I spent in a big city was that of 1972. It was in the fall of that year, as a senior in high school, I would take weekend trips to Riverdale Maryland to visit a friend who was a freshman at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.
College Park and Riverdale are suburbs of Washington DC.
Tom, who was white and from a wealthy family in Southern Maryland graduated from Ryken High School, a Jesuits boys school, in June 1972. I, black, was not from a wealthy family attended Great Mills High School met Tom over the summer of 1972. While I do not now recall the specifics I believe that our first sexual contact took place at the Millison Plaza Hotel, in Lexington Park, MD, in the summer of 1972 which was where he may have worked part-time.
So, when in the fall that he moved to Riverdale to attend the University of Maryland at College Park, he invited me up, on weekends to check out the gay bars on 9th Street in NW and the Pier Nine in SW WDC.
It was over the holiday season of 1972 when Tom, Allen and I would drive downtown to shop at Garfinkels, Woodies and Hechts that I first began to take more than a passing interest in holiday window displays.
One of the things that first caught my attention was the lack of black mannequins. And as we shopped at the department stores the fact that I was being watched far more than my white friends brought to mind conversations that I had had with my grandmother about the fact that black women were not allowed to try on hats in stores before purchasing them. But that white women were.
And, over the next few years, when black mannequins did appear more in store window displays ... what struck me ... was that the black mannequins did not exhibit Negroid features but, in fact, where white mannequins painted black.
And, when ever, in recent years, that I may take pictures whether it is in Washington DC, Fort Lauderdale, New York City or at the World to Obama Message Board at the Lincoln Memorial or at GLBT Equal Rights March ... the fact that I am a black male still arouses suspicion.
The same kind of suspicion that I confront when attemting photograph Holiday Windows.
I say this because, as a 55 year old black male, I am very cognitive of the fact that I could be arrested or taken to a holding cell for photographing 2008 Holiday Windows.
Here is my Rizik's photos at Flickr.