I was promoting college night parties with Keith Hart from Uncle Sam’s. It was a natural extension of my high school days promoting and hosting keg and victory parties for the entire school. I brought in a ton of people from various local colleges for a Halloween Party. Subsequently, I promoted many other parties with Keith But, I was never really interested in promoting night clubs. I just wanted to meet a lot of women. At the time, the most beautiful women were always at Uncle Sam’s. It was like the Studio 54 of Long Island. Keith was the kind of guy who would hook you up if you hooked him up. He followed a similar philosophy of paying it forward, in millions of dollars of funds raised for cancer research later in life. When I met him, he was one of the Long Island elite promoters who held the keys to getting into Uncle Sam’s, which of course then afforded the opportunity to meet the girls at the club. When I was modeling, he even put me on a Dating Game style show at Uncle Sam’s and I was chosen by the bachelorette. She dressed as a cheerleader for the occasion. Shortly afterwards, she took me upstairs and convinced me to take a few bumps. At the time, I had no idea what she was doing. She told me to snort white powder off her fingernail. She said it would make the sex better. Until that point, I had no idea we were going to have sex or what cocaine was. We did it on the stairs about thirty seconds later.
I drove her home and spent the night in the screened-in porch of her cottage in Sea Cliff. I never saw her afterwards, but I did see Keith and thanked him for putting me in the event. I told him that I was more into photography than modeling or acting. I showed him my portfolio. He suggested I call a friend of his, Michael Cutino. Michael was the publisher of Nightlife Magazine. It was the hottest magazine on Long Island for many years, so it was a great introduction. I started shooting covers for Mike, that were helping him sell more magazines. Eventually, I suggested a swimsuit issue, because I was taking body shots of models regularly. He loved the idea. Catalina, Gottex, and ten other major brands of swimsuits gave us thousands of dollars’ worth of suits to be included in the story. I was becoming popular. Keith helped jumpstart my career, as did Michael.
I was scheduled to shoot in Arizona and wanted to visit my aunts and cousins at the same time. I booked a flight and took the bathing suits and my cameras with me. There were about two dozen models who wanted to participate. I went to the agency to meet them. The next morning, I drove four of them to Oak Creek Canyon. We shot all day, with the beautiful red rocks and riverbed as a backdrop. One of those models was about six feet tall. She was a Native American and quite stunning. I had never met a Native American before. The agency sent many beautiful women, but she was the most exotic and by far, the most beautiful. After the Oak Creek Canyon shoot, we decided to drive to the California border the next day. The plan was to shoot against the three-hundred-foot sand dunes, reminiscent of the Sahara Desert.
At the crack of dawn, she picked me up, along with a few of the other models and drove us there. It was her idea. The reservation her family lived on was not far away. It took a few hours to get there, but it was worth it. The sand dunes were amazing. I felt as if I was on another planet. We had to climb up the hills and find clean sand undisturbed by dune buggies. Every time the girls were changing, I would hike up and over the sand dunes to find virgin sand.
I was in great shape back then. I hiked up dozens of dunes, carrying fifty pounds of equipment in my backpack. I was flirting with every one of the models. For the most part, they were flirting right back. Well, two of them were. I didn’t know if any of them were thinking what I was thinking. I wanted to have sex with someone in that Sahara sunset. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. It was surreal.
The Native American model showed me how to slide down a sand dune, almost as if one was sledding down a snow-covered mountain. Once she showed me how, I would leave my backpack with the girls and slide down every dune, so we could shoot faster. Every time we walked on the sand, we destroyed the pristine look, so we had to continually go further. I brought water, but not enough. At times, we were running on fumes. I underestimated our water needs, despite the warnings of my Native American model friend. We really did become friendly. Initially, she would ask me to turn around, but eventually she changed right in front of me.
By the end of the day, I was nearly out of film and had a very bad sunburn. I was beat red and probably dehydrated as well. I was giving the girls water while taking very little for myself. She told me that it would get extremely cold as soon as the sun went down. I’m a New Yorker and was like, she has got to be kidding me. Doesn’t she know we have winters in New York? We were probably miles from the car. All we had with us was her bikini, my camera, my shorts and the bandana I was wearing over my eyes to protect them from the sun. Other than that, I just had my forty-eight-inch gold and silver reflector.
The photographs I took after sunset were some of my best. The light was hidden behind the dunes and the sky acted like a giant light box. She looked amazing. I shot every roll of film I had. As soon as we finished, she grabbed me and forced me to sit on the sand. She then tied my bandana around my camera and lens. Then she pushed me onto the sand and started to go down on me. It was unsolicited. I couldn’t believe it, but she wanted me. I was rock hard. She laid back in the sand, with her knees up, and untied both sides of her bikini. She left it on like a tiny sand guard.
She pulled me on top of her and inserted my penis inside her. She was already dripping wet. We didn’t even kiss. I looked into her eyes and flexed my arms to keep us balancing on top of the sand dune. We were positioned so that our feet were pointed down the hill to such a degree it was almost like standing up. It was hard not to slide down the dune, but it was more private, as a dune buggy could show up at any time. We didn’t even have a towel to cover up with, so anyone who even came close would see my shiny white ass and beet red body, pumping a completely tanned, olive skinned, model. Not something either one of us wanted. As sexually active as I was, I was quite shy when I did not have my security blanket/camera in my hand.
As I was thrusting, she was sliding down into me. Gravity was making it difficult to pump and the sand seemed to fall from beneath us. As we started to climax together, we lost our balance. She took her feet out of the sand and wrapped her legs around my back. That’s when everything started to spin. We were rolling down a mountain of sand faster than I could pull out of her. Cum was shooting in all directions. We didn’t get hurt, in fact, we both started laughing uncontrollably when we landed. We couldn’t find her bathing suit. All we had was my shorts and a bandanna. She was completely naked in the middle of the desert and the sun had set.
When we got to the top of the dune, the wind started to blow hard. Grains of sand were pelting our skin. They felt like tiny pins. I gave her my shorts. I wasn’t wearing underwear so I quickly became the naked one. She covered her mouth to keep the sand out. We went from ecstasy, to freezing and afraid in less than ten minutes. To make it worse, we were so lost in each other, we hadn’t realized how long we had been away from the other models. It took us at least forty-five minutes to make our way back. Like Hansel and Gretel, we were following our footsteps back to find the car in previous treks out. Now with the wind blowing we had no idea what direction to go. We tried to use the sun to figure out our location. By that time we made it back we were freezing and shivering. It was pitch black. She was concerned about wolves, scorpions, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. I held her close and kept walking, looking for the first dune that would expose a road.
Before long, we started to see the lights of cars. The other models started the engine to stay warm and were smart enough to honk the horn every once in a while. Maybe it was because they were feeling a bit ignored. Whatever the reason, it helped. It was very scary. We finally made it back to the car. She gave me some pajamas she had in the car. She was so tall and I was so skinny, they fit. That night we drove all the way back to Arizona and dropped the models off. We had not kissed a single time all day. I couldn’t figure out why, as we did just about everything else. When we finally were alone, we looked at each other and laughed. We started to go at it again and then she kissed me for the first time. It felt different than any kiss I ever had. Then she told me she had bitten off part of her tongue when she was a child. I hadn’t noticed anything unusual about her before. That’s why she didn’t kiss me until the end of the night. I didn’t react well. As cool as I tried to be about it, I pulled away a few times. She finally got upset and dropped me off. I felt terrible, as she was very nice. But I couldn’t control my knee jerk reaction.
She didn’t come to see the photographs with the other models, but I did get to see her the day I was leaving. I told her how sorry I was and how much the time with her meant to me. She didn’t say anything much and kept her mouth as closed as possible. All she was willing to say was thank you and goodbye. The very next day I caught a flight to California to shoot at the famous Santa Monica Pier and stay with my cousin. I was completing the assignment utilizing major models from a LA agency. I didn’t fool around with any of them, despite many opportunities to do so. I couldn’t help but think about that American Indian girl I fell for.
The cover shot was amazing and the swimsuit issue had at least twenty pages of editorial. The swimwear manufacturers were thrilled and Mike Cutino used my photographs for his company’s press kits and at least a half dozen additional covers. Keith’s introduction helped me so much that I credit it as being the catalyst for moving to New York City and the start of my photography career. I would shoot with Keith on and off for thirty years. We are friends to this day. I’ve probably done more shoots with him than with anyone other than my children. We continue to shoot on special occasions, such as the Hospitality Ball, which he founded. Only now, his guests are people like Alec Baldwin. As for Michael Cutino, he and I had a small reunion recently. It was great to see him and again, thanked him for the break he gave me.
For years, I thought about that Native American model I fell in love with, on the top of that sand dune. I still do. One of my iconic photographs was of her on that dune, shortly before we made love. While I never saw her again, I stopped at that same sand dune and shot a documentary about the dune buggy enthusiasts who races there. I was given a ride in one. It topped out at one hundred and twenty-five miles per hour. It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. But, the entire time I was there, all I could think about was her. Every time I see that photograph, it brings back the memories of making love together. I hope she is living an extraordinary life.