Danny’s Boys

All images by Danny Fields
I interviewed my friend and hero, Danny Fields, for the current issue of the radical sex mag, Richardson. The article is pasted below, along with a selection of Danny’s amazingly hot and beautiful Polaroids, which have never been published until now! I wrote a different article about Danny last year, but that was mainly about his rock n’ roll photography and his life as a punk icon, where this is an article about his pornography. Enjoy!

As the long-standing manager of the Ramones, Danny Fields was a legend of the New York punk scene. He was also the man responsible for signing the Stooges, MC5, and Nico, editor of the iconic 16 magazine, and the journalist who caused global hysteria when he quoted John Lennon saying he was “more famous than Jesus.” In the 90s, Fields catalogued the glory days with the release of Please Kill Me: an Oral History of Punk, but he’s yet to address his other passion from the era.

In the 1970s Danny Fields started making pornography. Production was straightforward: bringing back groups of boys to his apartment and giving scant direction, he captured whatever ensued on a simple Polaroid camera. Forty years later, his collection of images now reaches into the thousands. He keeps them in his closet, tucked safely away in a gigantic storage container, roomy enough to sleep two grown men with minimal discomfort.

“They were all prostitutes,” says Fields of the boys in the pictures. “Well, prostitutes sounds too glamorous; they were hustlers. I’d pick then up in the street or at prostitute bars, and then one always seemed to bring the others. You’d pay them forty dollars or something, and they’d pretty much do whatever you told them to. This was before AIDS and the internet, so people weren’t so paranoid. A lot of them are dead now, and a lot of them—I never even knew their names.”

Fields is less interested in the actual act of penetration and more interested in everything else—enemas, dildos, stretching, kissing, piss, etc. “You can see fucking in movies,” he explains, “so it’s not that exciting. I’d rather watch them play doctor.” As he reminiscences through a photo album, Fields points out a photo of two Native American boys sitting naked on a couch. “These two were brothers,” he says. “Well, one day they were brothers and then the next day they’d say, ‘Actually we’re not brothers, we’re just from the same tribe.’ And then the next day they’d be back to being brothers again. What was I supposed to do, give them a blood test? Either way, they made a great couple.”

When asked if he was ever in love with any of the boys in the pictures, Fields looks mildly disgusted. “I was never in love with any of these boys. Sure, I liked some of them more than others, but I’ve never been in love with anyone in my entire life. I believe that love exists—my God, I’ve read 800 pages of Proust on what it’s like to be in love—but I’ve never gotten there. I tried having a boyfriend once, but then he always wanted to talk when I was trying to read. It didn’t work out.”

Fields asserts that the photos are a testament to his belief that the best sex is the kind you pay for. “I just think it’s best to fuck whores,” he says. “I’ve never been in a situation where being emotionally involved with a person has made the sex better. While I’m fucking someone I care about them, and that’s enough for me—that’s where it means something. I want sex to be so intense that I’m not thinking about anything else. The loving part is distracting: who’s going to pay the rent, who didn’t clean the bathroom, that kind of stuff.” He shrugs, “After I cum I just want a trap door to open and whoever I’m with to fall through the floor.”



46 Replies to “Danny’s Boys”

  1. Using sad and desperate people for your own gain will never be cool. I guess you don’t see it that way because that is what you do to make money (being a dom), but I wonder how you sleep at night. These people are peoples children. They might be drug addicts, they might be dead, and they might have done whatever it took to make a few bucks, but I don’t think it’s cool to publish this. Danny Fields is a renowned prick, and I guess that’s what you’re going for too. You do work for VICE, after all.
    I know Hamilton does too but he is intelligent. I guess guys are just that easily won over by a pair of tits.

    1. I dont think any of these people are drug addicts or desperate, and the photographs are not more exploitative than any other sex act. However they surely have parents, but do you think is there any other kind of sex act that your parents gladly watch you doing? ( If so, accept my apology ) They are a bit dirty in their cute way but still beautiful. Some people just does not care about being vulnerable in a photo so much, you should get over it…

    2. pfft, how do YOU sleep at night having thoughts in your head as misogynistic as “i guess guys are just that easily won over by a pair of tits”?

      your comment was more offensive than anything Karley posted. the whole point of this blog is to eliminate sexual taboos and to humanize people who enjoy sex or are sex workers. Karley proves in all of her posts that people who work in sex are not “sad and desperate” as you crudely generalize. Surely some are, but, like all stereotypical thinking, your idea can be disproven as often as it is proven. If you haven’t learned this already you should stop reading this blog! You are wasting your time!

        1. I think the point that’s being made here is that these people aren’t commodities, despite Fields paying them. His contempt and disrespect for them is clear, otherwise he would have none their names, right? I’m not making any moral pronouncements, I don’t know why these guys accepted the $40 to pose in these pictures. The whole thing looks a lot of fun, so I guess being paid $40 in the 70’s for doing something fun was probably okay with them. But what you’re doing in this article is presenting these people as trophies of Danny Field’s “coolness” and I don’t think it’s really that cool to treat people without respect. You wouldn’t go into a restaurant and treat a waiter like shit and then say “oh well, it’s their job” (or maybe you would), so why would you treat a sex worker in that way? Why would have an attitude towards someone who is providing you with a service that essentially says “you don’t really have any rights now.” Being a sex worker doesn’t mean you are owned by the clients you serve and it doesn’t mean just because you agreed to take $40 and be in a photo that you agreed to have them shown to other people.

          These boys are beautiful and the pictures are beautiful, but just because there is a possibility that they wanted to have them shown to other people doesn’t mean you have a right to assume that. The fundamental issue here is that you guys don’t really see these people as people, but rather objects and I don’t find that to be distinguishable from the attitudes of people who perpetrate abuse. There is no mention in your article of the lives or poignancy of these men, you celebrate Field’s “coolness” in not even being bothered enough to remember what these guys were called. Treating someone like a sexual object isn’t cool. End of story.

        1. did you not fucking read what he said- ” A lot of them are dead now, and a lot of them—I never even knew their names.”
          they don’t have the decision to be published here! they aren’t making that decision, that was not theirs to decide.

          THEREFORE- it is kind of fucking wrong.

          1. yeah this is the important part. the artist is so obviously and without shame objectifying them to sexual objects/robots. not even caring about their names or whether they’re alive or not. that’s not even pretending to be sex “positive” feminist bullshit, it’s just so fucking cold and disgusting.

          2. i do however think this interview was interesting and important, since it reveals the kind of sociopathic light version of a sex offender the artist is. at least it’s honest. but these people are quite clearly used and exploited.

  2. I’ll begin my saying that I love your blog and have been hooked ever since a friend introduced me to it 6months ago. I love how candidly and wittily you can discuss the most intimate details of your life and your interviews are fascinating. but while i find the above comment extremely rude and quite cruel I did feel quite uncomfortable with the hugely exploitative nature of these photographs; beautiful as they are.e

  3. who just goes online and starts telling strangers about their relationships. pfft you’re crying.

    1. i hope you are being sarcastic. And if you are, which is the correct response, and you’re still publishing this, then you need some serious help.

      You know these guys were fucked up on all kinds of shit and trying to make rent for these photos. I’m not in any way being homophobic. These are not happy, gay people.

  4. I think the posts above are projecting “all women are exploited by men” on to gays when it doesn’t apply at all; They don’t understand that the heterosexual dynamic is different and can’t be used to make comparisons.

  5. uh no, it’s a more “all people gay or straight are being exploited by karley and she thinks it’s fucking fine as long as it makes her money”. I used to enjoy this blog.

    1. unfortunately, while i think pfft is being pretty ridiculous, i agree on this point — this is sad and exploitative. it’s sick and trashy for you to be a part of it.

    1. Sheeze someone needs to take a chill pill. If you don’t like what you’re reading then don’t read it any more. Simple as that.

      Don’t even put your real name on your posts- So cyber bully.

  6. this is like looking at photographs of homeless people, you see the outside and you think you understand and its supposed to make some kind of grand metaphoric meaning but really we all have no idea what it was like to be there in that moment. this is very superficial but all the bodies in their lovelyness is what make the art. there was a special moment when these photos were taken and we will never even come close to feeling that when we look at them. it is the intimacy and trust that the men put into Danny that makes it seem so exploitative to see the pictures up now.

      1. You should change that picture of your mouth, Honey — it makes you look “country,” if that makes sense.

    1. “You’d pay them forty dollars or something, and they’d pretty much do whatever you told them to.”

      “intimacy and trust”

      Hm. Yeah. No.

  7. Why are so many of you so offended? These photos were never meant to please each viewer. They are a recording of a reality that may be foreign to some of us, but a reality nonetheless. If the boys in the photos are such sad, desperate drug addicts, then this could be considered a brutally honest exposure of that type of lifestyle. On the other hand, when examining many of their facial expressions, some of them look genuinely happy. I’m sure many of you will agree that sex, drugs, and photography have contributed to some of the best times in our commonly comfortable, boring lives.

  8. i believe Danny Fields is the type of person my mom and dad warned me about the first time they let me walk to school by myself…

  9. The complaints that these photographs are ‘uncomfortable’ to look at, are kind of missing the entire point of the photography. Pictures like these, and hell, even this blog, are pieces that try to challenge our understanding about sex. Reading romance novels, sitting in front of the television and watching romcoms, we all become boxed into this one notion of sex and love – that being, that you can’t have one without the other. Or if you do, you’re seen as less of a person, for doing so.

    What Field’s work shows is another side of sex, one without love, one that doesn’t conform to the norm. And yes, this can be uncomfortable to view. But just because we find it disturbing, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge it. Pfft argues that these men were exploited, but we can’t really say that for sure because we don’t know the context of the situation. And these men were prostitutes, this is how they lived their lives. Surely it’s better for us to view this lifestyle, appreciate, discuss, and react to it – rather than just ignore and censor it.

    And in Field’s defense, at least he has the balls (get it?) to put these photos out there. It’s his name attached to these, whatever the reaction to these photographs, he has to deal with the consequences. Unlike ‘Pfft’ who hides behind a fake name – if you can’t even get behind your own opinion, how the fuck is anyone else supposed to?

  10. Cut the pretentious crap – these are dead people – tragically taken by wrong choices – nothing else

    1. “nothing else”? that just doesn’t make sense to me. what could be more important than people, whether they’re dead or not, whether they’re taken by wrong choices or not? people are what people spend their entire lives trying to figure out!

  11. I think that these photos do the opposite of exploiting these men. Like Nan Goldin’s work, they humanize those who have traditionally been marginalized and reduced to a role wherein they are defined by their sexuality. I think they’re really beautiful.

  12. These people are just upset that there happen to be dicks and not vaginas in these pictures. The only reasons people get offended (by anything!) is that they are hiding something about themselves which they themselves find ugly and repulsive, whether that be something that they ARE and wish they weren’t, or something that they THINK and wish they didn’t.

    A recent study came out showing that most people who claim to be, or are outwardly homophobic, are actually just hiding their affinity for members of the same sex (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/homophobic-maybe-youre-gay.html), in one of those studies that you know cost thousands if not hundred of thousands of dollars all to prove something that every thinking person goes, “Yeah… duh,” when they are told the very not surprising results.

    So pfft admitting he’s male and saying, “You know these guys were fucked up on all kinds of shit and trying to make rent for these photos. I’m not in any way being homophobic. These are not happy, gay people,” is pfft’s way of waving his rainbow flag anonymously from the comfort of his suite at the frat house.

    I think the only not happy gay person here is pfft. So, perhaps a better onomatopoeic internet troll i.d. for Mr. pfft might be “boing!” As in, the sound of unwanted boners appearing in one’s trousers. Or, maybe to further my point I could just go with Bill and use his tried and true, “the lady doth protest too much, me thinks.”

    And if boing! is so goddamn worried about them being “fucked up on all kinds of shit and trying to make rent” then guess what they were doing there getting these photos taken of them? BEING EMPLOYED! That’s right, these poor poor things got a job AND paid rent AND probably got some food (something bright green it looks like) because they were under employ for an evening.

    And Danny Fields is a “renowned prick”? News to me. I’ve only heard the nicest of things about this guy…

  13. 90% of art photography is of young naked people fucking around. If this is exploitative, then so is everything else. I guess y’all have never heard of art.

  14. @’Pfft’: You came to a blog that you either: follow enough knowing slutever is about sex, but you only like the posts about women being sexual. Or you were sent here by the trolling gods that sends it’s followers around stirring up trouble for the sake of ‘I’m right, you all are idiots, I win.’ Here is some advice: Don’t read the blog if you are easily offended by anything sexual that has to do with humans being sexual. See, it is just that easy.

    Great post Karley, keep it up!

  15. Cut the crap about omophobia. The point is: from the interview we know that these people have never gave their consent to publish those photos. That’s wrong. PERIOD.
    Maybe some of them are dead now, how can it be right to publish such intimate photos without even knowing where they are?!
    We don’t even know if some of them are under 18!
    What disturbs me the most is that somehow, the fact that they are guys, makes it ok…thus corroborating (quite paradoxally) the prejudice that gay people, because of their life choices, have lesser rights than straight ones.
    I bet that if a grown up man shoots pictures of uknown and maybe dead teen girl prostitutes masturbating and doing revolting stuff (like holding green shit) for forty bucks a piece nobody would ever think it would be “cool” to publish them without the consent of the girls represented, regardless of theire supposed artistic value.

  16. Guys, get a clue. Danny was an extremely famous journalist and photographer. When these pictures were being taken he was managing the Ramones and his photographs were being printed in major music and culture magazines around the world. This was never a secret. The people in these photos were paid to perform in a photoshoot. Sure, Danny never said “Hey in 40 years I’m going to put these pictures on a future thing called the internet,” because how could he know?, but it was implied that they would be seen. These aren’t intimate photos of someone’s girlfriend in bed, these are models (who also happen to be prostitutes) being paid to be in a photoshoot in which they are CLEARLY posing and playing up for the camera.

    Russ Meyer said he preferred using strippers in his movies to actresses because strippers didn’t have a problem getting naked. And so he paid them (probably far less than a professional actress would be paid) to be naked on camera. Danny wanted to take pornographic photos, so who better to hire than hustlers? No one is being tricked or exploited here. Also, he said he paid them $40–that was probably not too bad in the early 70s. I’ve definitely posed naked for less.

  17. Amazing disregard for consent. fuck this, fuck you pseudo intellectual liberals who think that defying convention or challenging taboo excuses any act from being an immoral act.

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