early work
A Brief History of  My Photographic Beginnings and Foray into the World Independent Publishing


In a distant galaxy called the east coast a very long time ago, I graduated with a degree in photography. During my school days I shot giddy coeds wearing skimpy panties in their dormrooms and on the weekends I'd drive to the mean streets of New York and Philadelphia. Armed with my Pentax K-1000 (the volkswagen of cameras) and a pocket full of b/w film I agitated Philly punks into fighting so I could get good shots, snapped depressed goths looking depressed, clicked satanic metalheads moshing with tatooed skinheads, spied drug addicts snorting their addictions and watched plenty of angry homeless people grubbing for money. Those were the good ole days.

Around this time I also was writing and selling my own self published underground music and sex magazine out of the trunk of my car. It was called Skin Trade. The first issue was a crudely photocopied molotov cocktail of sex and music. I wanted a vehicle for my fledgling photography and my astute social observations, so I created one. The first article I ever wrote for Skin Trade, was "Can A Punk Pick Up A Metal Chick?" There were hardly any hot women in our small town punk scene so I felt if any of the angst filled misfits were gonna get laid we needed to adapt (Darwin) and steal women from other scenes. The metal scene, which always had tons of babes looked ripe for a mohawked invasion.

I was basically mixing underground music coverage, articles about the mating and dating tactics of the human animal and softcore shots of women in lingerie. Some boneheads would actually argue with me at shows saying, "what does music have to do with sex?" Can you believe that shit? Sex permeates everything junior. Skin Trade's heady concoction was way ahead of it's time! The newsstands that I managed to con into carrying my creation didn't really know how to stock it. It was too dirty to be with all the straight laced rock mags and other independent zines but wasn't dirty enough to be with the ultra slick girly mags. This posed a marketing dilemma. To give it a push, sometimes I would bombard the newstands and magazine shops with calls asking them if they had the latest issue, of course they said no. Then, I'd show up at their door with box of Skin Trades. "Holy Shit." we've been getting calls all day for that mag! I used this trick to get distribution deal from Tower Records and for a few minutes it was sold in the Virgin Megastores. Once Virgin realised what they were selling, Skin Trade got the boot.


Skin Trade sold like crazy. I got tons of mail from all over the world. Bands wanted to be in it because I always asked about their groupies. I remember when I interviewed Nitzer Ebb they told me they had a ton of video equipent on their bus just for filming overzealous industrial/goth chicks. That's the shit I wanted to know about. We talked about music too, sometimes.

Skin Trade could have been big, it could have been a contender but when I moved to Los Angeles the literary climate was so different and then the money problems hit. Back east, I could go to shows stand in front of a club and sell my mag as the people filed out. In LA I couldn't give it away. Reading isn't a big priority in Los Angeles. Nobody cares, unless it's a script. On the west coast I felt culture shock. I had no connections and few friends. The clubs wouldn't let me inside with my camera if I didn't have a press pass. It was harder getting shots of bands that I didn't have access to their record label and all that shit takes days to set up. Even when I when I managed to get on the list I still got shit from the bouncers. "Only shoot the stage.. If you point that camera anywhere else you're ass is outta here". Everyone is so paranoid that you might photograph a celebrity. Back east I just showed up camera in hand, no problem, nobody gave a fuck. You wanna talk to the band go right ahead. Finding chicks to pose for free was now harder too.

In LA the girls want big bucks to pose nude or in their lingerie because they have hollywood fever but back home I could get them to do it just for the thrill. Another stumbling block was my printing costs, which were now through the roof. Back east, my mojo was working and I could get it printed after hours at a local community college.

My contact would print the issues late at night after the shop boss went home. I would get a call when the job was finished. It was like a drug deal. I show up around midnight with a fist full of dollars and quickly load the boxes into my trunk of my car.

Los Angeles printers are all trying to get rich and they charge exuberant movie industry prices.

With hardly any paid advertisers and a small circulation Skin Trade was a sinking Titanic. After two expensive west coast issues I called it quits. I had used up most of my savings. I was sleeping on the floor in my cousin's house and my car was falling apart. Record companies were calling nonstop and leaving threating messages on my answering machine. They wanted to know what I did with all the promo CD's they sent and when could I interview their new angry band of the moment. My distributors wanted me to get a barcode for the front cover and an issue out at least quarterly but writing at that pace was too much. Each issue had at least 75 record reviews, band interviews, hate mail, a pornstar intervew and my articles on mating and dating in a misunderstood subculture. I was doing the layout design, shooting all the photos and developing/printing all pictures in my cousin's garage -- only at night. That was the only time I could get total darkness.

I was basically a one man dictatorship with a few flaky minions who would write an occasional record review. I was exhausted and my money was running out. I needed to focus on my photography, that was my true meal ticket if I was going to stay in Los Angeles. Besides, I didn't feel like writing anymore. The angst the drove me to create my literary masterpieces got crushed by an overabundance sunshine, bills and California girls with fake tits. I need rain, cold and gloom to create. It's hard to write when it's nice outside. EVERYDAY!


APT # 5 South St. Philadelphia, PA

During this time I scored a gig assisting fetish photographer Justice Howard. One of the last shoots we worked on was in the basement of an old bank on the corner Hollywood and Highland Blvd. I was standing outside the bank waiting for Janine Lindenmulder and Julia Ann, at the time they were hot shit Vivid contract girls and had a little nasty strip act called Blondage. Anyway, while watching for their cars this guy walks up to me as says, "great band" I sensed a british accent. I had on my Killing Joke shirt because they're one of my favorite bands of all time. I look up and its a gruffy looking Paul Raven, the bass player from who else? Killing Joke!! How fuckin cool is that!? At the time he was taking a break from the Joke and had joined industro metal band PRONG, their management (Concrete Marketing) had an office in the bank upstairs. I told him I was on a shoot downstairs and I was waiting for these two porn hoes to show up. We talked about the current state of music and the art of removing women from their clothes for a bit and he told me he had a friend that worked at a porn magazine in Beverly Hills and if I went to the Troubadour on Saturday (the Young Gods were playing) I might be able to meet him and maybe get some paying work. Hot damn!

In the meantime Prong needed a photographer to shoot some promo shit. It looked like I was finally gonna get hooked up in this flaky fucked up town.

After meeting Raven's magazine connection at the Troubadour I was hired to shoot nasty odds and ends for a magazine called NEW RAVE. I re-worked some of my Skin Trade articles and sold some of them to NEW RAVE and some to other skin mags for some fast cash. They ate my stuff up like candy. I bought a bunch of new camera gear. Soon, I had a few steady checks rolling in from the sex world. I parlayed that into an almost part time job. A year later their money dried up. I abandoned ship and used my connections to latch on to the highballing Jenna Jameson express. I worked as her still photographer at Wicked Pictures for about a year. To make a long story short and to put a nice hollywood ending to all this...I got to interview and hangout with many of my favorite bands (Killing Joke, NIN, Henry Rollins, Frontline Assembly, DRI, Skinny Puppy, Bad Brains, Bile, Nitzer Ebb, Test Dept and others) and I met a bunch of chicks and that were willing to get  (almost ) buck-ass naked all for a little zine born on my kitchen table.

Skin Trade 7

Print run 2200

Here are the two last issues of my magazine. I stopped publishing right at the start of my downward spiral into the porn world.  Issue #7 had Porn star Mustang Sally Layd.  Industrial terrorists Bile from NYC. An article on Avoiding Cock Block and more!

Issue #8 (the final issue) featured an interview w/Gang Bang queen Jasmine St. Claire, Lords of Acid, Hate Dept, Porn Grandpa Bill Marigold, High Maintenance women article, 75 industrial record reviews and more.

Skin Trade  8

Print run 3000

  Here's a few pics from various issues of my mag.       
Oct 31, PA satans helper la    
babyland randy now    
kathy godless    
Lisa - Art - Nude 2 Mosh pit blues Kathe Art nude 2    
18 degrees 3am Homeless george    
All images Copyright Floyd Hardwick. Reproduction without written permission prohibited