Beyond that I drop off a selection of her photos to Alfred DeBat, who works as #2 to Lee Hall in Chicago’s Foreign Editions, and serves as a liaison between our group and the US editors.  I get into my car and continue driving west until I finally reach Santa Barbara, exactly  three months after I had landed in New York.  I lived with Mark and Ann in their farm house for a month and decided it was as good a place as any to settle for a while. I found myself a spacious two bedroom apartment not far from UCSB campus and the tar covered Pacific shore in the valley of San Ynez mountain range. Knowing that unlike in Germany, selecting a Playmate in the US was a long drawn out process with voting among editors and then still subject to Hugh M. Hefner’s seal of final approval. I leave it at that, but working with Terry further inspired and encouraged me to give my photographic ambition a serious push.

Luck would have it that the German Playmate Barbara too was now living in Southern California. Even though when still in Munich, we didn’t quite hang out, but when I called her in San Clemente, it was as if we  were long lost friends reunited. We decided to do some projects on spec and see if we could get them accepted, if not by either German or the US Playboy then probably by Oui – the American edition of highly successful Lui – the  magazine which Playboy had cross-licensed from the French publisher Daniel Filipacchi. I had done some small writing and contributed some pix to Oui, thus knew some of the editors.

Forming a creative partnership with Barbara further encouraged me to expand my technical abilities.  Whereas up until then I used only natural light, I invested in a set of artificial lighting equipment.

One of the projects we had most fun doing was A Day in Life based on the Beatles’ song I read the news today oh boy!  We cleared out my dining area and papered the entire walls, the floors and even the pillow with the pages of Sunday edition of The Los Angeles Times, and created a   tableau  of her waking up, reading the paper and tearing the pages up in tatters, feeling furious and frustrated at how much in turmoil the world found itself in one single day!!

Nothing came out of  those efforts, but they gave us something fun to do together which evolved in a lifelong friendship. I guess we both must have felt lost in our new environment and having found each other from the “home town” was quite comforting.

Also during the period both Mark and Ann were super supportive of my efforts and I ended up photographing their friend and also found a pretty young lady at the local laundromat to pose for me.

At the time I was collecting and living on my unemployment benefits, which required me to report personally once every week to the unemployment office in downtown. As everywhere else, the mention of Playboy as my employers triggered their curiosity. Normally it would be the beautiful reddish blonde Monica at the window and we would talk about the job I had just left and what it was then that I was now doing. Once in a while I would find Monica’s boss Mrs. Buckwalter at the window. Also pretty, but a woman in her mid to late forties. She was even more inquisitive. After weeks of our talking, she wondered out loud:

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