Monthly Archive for May, 2007

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home alone

no, no…the above "home alone" is not the title of my upcoming piece on work and relationships….sounds like it could be though doesn’t it?? ….no, i am not ready to write that piece just yet…another day….some good comments are still coming in…some truly poetic thoughts…..i will wait…or is that called stalling???

no, my home alone has nothing to do with anything other than i am truly enjoying being home alone…i had  an early evening meeting with mark lubell, magnum’s new york director, and my friend marie with a "job with no title" card hanging around  her neck….marie sort of does everything for me (thanks marie!!), but has this last year evolved into running my personal workshop programs…mark, marie and i are planning magnum’s  new educational program for emerging photographers…like you!!…somehow i got roped into leading this by my colleagues at a meeting where i was not present!!

anyway, meeting over….marie is finalizing a bad cold and went home to sleep early…mark had another appointment…no "take out" tonight…my neighbor, aussie photog david coventry, came by to have a beer, saw the meeting going on and said he would come back later….he never came back..home alone

now this is the "apple",  so there can be no doubt that if i made about two phones calls i could find out about some photo function or group gathering or gallery opening or some kind of new york "action" scene or whatever in about 10 seconds or less….it is even likely that i am actually supposed to be somewhere…somebody might be thinking i will walk through the door at any moment….i forget stuff all the time….but i did not pick up the phone to find out….silence..

i turn on my neon "bar" lite….tweak leonard cohen just a little louder,  but not too loud to wake little eva, 8, who lives next door…open a cold corona….i flip through a couple of new photo books…i wonder if i can afford peter beard’s new masterpiece….i start to think about what i am supposed to be thinking about….so much is going on around me now that i have to think like a race car driver or something…

total concentration….eyes straight ahead…..but i am not a race car driver….i am not in a race car…..i am driving  a jeep cj ,top off,  driving down the beach with the waves breaking green  and  the seagulls  scrambling out of my way  and  all i can see straight ahead is  just more pristine  beach and high  dunes…nobody  else…..all alone….

so my weird way of dealing with stress is to totally pretend there isn’t any….i do get classically  stressed for short periods of time, but quickly apologize to everyone  around me…my overall demeanor,  under the worst of conditions (like now), is pretty casual and even overly playful i think…but, you had better get a responsible second opinion from marie!!!

home alone seems pretty sweet in any case  ….i wrote an e-mail to my girl…wanted to  chat , but she is 6 hours ahead and sleeping (or at an all night club!!)….thought about looking at "living proof" dummy, but did not have the psychological  energy to think about  if the pictures were in the right place or not…so, i drifted over here to my cluttered desk, with absolutely nothing on my mind at all, and my fingers and my subconscious  did the walking….very strange….

but that’s all folks…done…over….i am heading up to the rooftop…there is the  most delicious weather in history happening  right now..the reason i live here is because of the rooftop view…i surely hope that i do not meet anybody up there……

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home sweet new york

never in a million years would i have ever thought that i would view new york as “home”….and , even now, i see new york as a temporary stop along the way to wherever i decide to finally “settle down”…..but today, new york looks and feels and seems like “home”…..

i have been here less than an hour, and just like i thought, the mail is stacked up, bills, bills and more bills, 2 dead plants, and a long “to do list” that i am in no mood to deal with right now….i am only writing this little note to you in an effort to delay doing all the things i really should be doing after my 4 week european “tour”….and just now as i write, the phone rings and it is my mastercard bank telling me to please pay over the phone a late payment….ok done….i will check my bank balance tomorrow…

yes, yes i am way way behind on posts for this blog….but, that should be easy in the next couple of days…just the luxury of being back at my own desktop is enough to inspire a creative flow into harveyblog…”on the road” blogging is a bit of a nightmare…

my last four days in rainy, sunny, rainy, warm, cold, warm, cold london did not allow me to post …but , then again priorities my friends, priorities….as you may have noted in my previous post, i was in london for “personal reasons”…..gathering material for my next piece on “relationships” and how in the world photographers balance their personal lives with their work…

this has to be the most talked about subject of all….none of us can escape this discussion….in any gathering of photographers, the conversation eventually turns to this…i can “guide” on many things in our craft, our art, our profession, but not on this one….so, you tell me what you know or think or believe and what works and does not work…i await any sage advisements…..

all i know is this…..a ride on the “london eye” in the rain with your girlfriend…priceless….for everything else there is mastercard!!!

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alarm clocks

nobody has a worse sounding alarm clock than me…..i use my cell phone (brand not to be mentioned) and this thing sounds like a chicken being choked or something like that…but, at 5am tomorrow morning  i will wonder once again why in the world i don’t find something better to wake me up in the morning…just like i wonder why i have never learned how to pack a suitcase or bring the right clothing or actually any of the things you might imagine i would have totally wired by now….

in any case, i am off to london for a few days before heading home to new york….yes, i am just like everyone else who travels…it is always nice to come home no matter how much adventure i have had….after about five minutes at home however, it will suddenly dawn on me that a month on the road has meant  that there will so so many "loose ends" and dead plants and unpaid bills and everyone mad at me, because i have neglected almost all of my friends and family  who mean the most to me…this will all lead soonest to an article about such things….mostly about relationships and how they survive or do not survive the world of someone who leads an often nomadic life…..

the four weeks upcoming will be nothing like the four weeks past…..i have been some kind of "guide" for almost 60 students in these last weeks in italy and spain…not an excuse, but they are the reason i have "stacked" everyone else!!….i did have all student names remembered  during  each respective week, but i will soon forget many of them…many , of course, i will never forget because they will not let me forget… some  consider themselves my students for life!!  so, how could i ever let them down??

but, now i have to get really really selfish….get into my own work…bigtime….make sure things are going well for my upcoming book , "living proof" (powerhouse)…..make sure the show gets printed correctly and make arrangements for the opening on june 14 at the powerhouse arena…that sounds like tomorrow to me…because i know something will go wrong or has already gone wrong and i must try to stay calm and fix it….but, i do want this show to be "right"….for june is a big month for magnum…our 60th anniversary….magnum photog exhibits all over town, mine being one of them….nice reception coming  at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) where we were founded 60 years ago….so i have to get "on the case" and i am already late….

now , originally i was supposed to back to new york today….but my mother tells me that i have never come back on the day i said i would….hmmmm, well, i will not argue with my mother!! and i always have a truly good reason…always…..this time i have to make a stop  to see my girlfriend …long overdue….remember , i said an article was upcoming on relationships??  but, am i really the right person to write it???  we all know what my girlfriend would say!!!

re:your comments “art and commerce”

again, all of you wrote the story for me!!! in this little community at least, we all agree that there is really no hard line between "art and commerce"….

and , of course, art IS commerce….shakespeare and mozart certainly were "playing" for a mass audience and yet their work has transcended any of hint of "commercialization"…there is no way for any of us to know what work will "last"….artists who are "popular" during their time often disappear in the history books and others get "life" after death….a few rare lights like picasso seem to have had  a "perfect life" of comtemporary "commercial success" and knowing full well that art historians  would judge him well….at least, so far…

the main thing to think about i think is this…..you should simply do what makes you happy….using photography to live your life rather than having your life be conflicted by what you do….any work that reflects who you are deep inside is, in fact, "art"….whether this work ends up being "accepted" by any particular peer group should not be your concern….just do the work!!…..have a symbiotic relationship with your work and  your personal life …. every major photographer that i know who has achieved so called "success" has done so by totally doing exactly what he or she would have done with or without this "success"….acceptance or popularity or fame can actually be the "enemy" of creativity…i have seen that over and over again….. but that is another article for another day….

i hope it is obvious that i love photographers….ususally just such damned interesting people all around…..however, one of the negative characteristics that i do often see  among photographers, both young and old,  is the amazing ability for some  to come up with every kind of excuse imaginable for why they cannot do what they want to do….and the "excuses" are good ones….realities of life….income….family circumstances..(a bad boss is such a lame excuse, i will not even mention it)…however, there are others who seem "handicapped" by circumstance, yet to know how to fly…i suppose it is the old " is the glass half empty or half full" conundrum….

all of my ex-students out there know that i say one thing over and over and over again….give yourself the "assignment" or the "grant" that you would dream someone would give you….find a personal project and do it without regard for later "sales"…you must do this in your "spare time"….make your "spare time" longer and longer and longer…..the best kind of "commercial success" or "artistic success"  will come  to you only if you work in this way…..it will come in ways that you cannot imagine….you cannot plan for this….you must go with your gut….only in this way will anyone, editor or publisher or gallerist, ever see who you really are…what you really DO…

this will be absolutely 100 percent not easy….this will be absolutely 100 percent worth it….