In the summer of 1982, a young wannabe singer and actress was living in an East Village walk-up and going on auditions. She met a casting agent whose son was trying to become a photographer, and he made arrangements to photograph her. Her name was Madonna, and within a year she'd have a debut album in the top 10, but for the time being she was just a girl on the verge.
Richard Corman, who published the pictures at last in Out, remembers:
I had to call her from a phone booth across the street, because the neighborhood was full of drug dealers, and they didn't let people just walk in and out. There was a group of kids outside the building, on the stoop, in the hallways, and when I said I was there for Madonna the seas parted.
I looked up the staircase, and I saw this girl leaning over the edge of the banister, and even from three stories below I could see these catlike eyes just looking down. I knew at that moment that she had something special — I really did. She had her best friend and neighbor, Martin, with her — he later died of AIDS-and we sat and talked. She served me a cup of coffee on a silver tray with three pieces of Bazooka bubblegum. There was no pretense to it.
Corman recalls that within a few years, Madonna had ditched him — "in the nicest way," he writes, "she would go to whoever would help her and move her ahead" — and was being shot exclusively by Herb Ritts. You can and should check out the rest of the series here.
I Shot Madonna [Out]