Priscilla, wandering across Jones Beach, hoiking up her jeans, her cigarette dangling from her lips. Like The Pixies Surfer Rosa or Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, the image has served as a cult reference for generations of youthful impudents. Chosen by the band Dinosaur Jr for the cover of their breakthrough 1991 album, Green Mind, the photograph taken by Joseph Szabo hasn’t aged a bit in the 43 years since it was taken. At the time it was shot Joseph was a young, liberal teacher trying to find ways to connect with and inspire his students.
The Hunger: What is it about youth that inspires you to take photographs?
Joseph Szabo: I majored in photography at Pratt Institute, and realised I had a gift for making images. I found photography the best medium to express myself. When I started teaching, I didn’t feel I was that good a teacher. I thought bringing my camera to school would be a good way for me to get closer to my students. It made a huge difference. I found that through photographing them I had more respect for them as individuals, and they did for me. It also gave them a refuge from school life, and a different attitude towards school in general.