Monthly Archive for June, 2007

Page 2 of 2

password

a little detective work has made me realize the "after party" at my loft on thursday june 14th  following my "Living Proof"  show could get out of hand…i have to cut down on the number of people in my space….so i have created a new password to eliminate the feint of heart…no password, no party…..and  you must find it….you must find it by analyzing this poem…..when you find it, do not post it!!

to all adventurous photographers who may come my way

to  my humble loft  "after party" where we will surely play

you must go to the river wide where the password does lay

and surely promise to behave so in my apartment i may stay

fame

Geneandbill

i suppose if you walk  down the street and you see your name lit up on a theater marquee the experience could be a little "heady"….gene richards, left, and bill allard both wanted me to take this  snapshot of them in front of the Paramount theater in charlottesville…i thought it was pretty cool myself….just fun….i did not have  any desire at all to take a "good" picture….neither did they….only a snapshot was wanted…a bulletin board picture …just a memory….nothing artful…just "proof" that they had their little moment of "fame"…

but what do you think about photographers and "fame"??  both of these men have spent their lives photographing other people…these men belong on the "other side of the camera"….so, should photographers even enjoy at all a little recognition in the form of some kind of "stardom"??

all of us,  quite naturally, want to be validated by our peers….but, should it ever go past immediate  peer acceptance?? fame is just plain good business for actors, models, and politicians…but, should photographers ever stay in the "limelight" too long??

i have some clear thoughts on this….but, i want your opinions first…

should "fame" be a logical by-product of a lifetime of earned success in a tough-to-get-ahead  business or would anonymity serve the artist better???

and, oh yes, i cannot resist asking you this question….which of these two men do you think enjoys being photographed and which one shies from the camera?? 

strong women

there is an old old song performed by tammy wynette, "Stand by Your Man"  which was the theme song for an old old movie "Five Easy Pieces" starring jack nicholson…..both the song and the movie are classics….the two women i photographed here are classics as well…. and both are unusually special women who have "stood by their men"….and rightfully, their men have stood by them..

Sally_2_2

mirrored here is sally mann  following  a presentation of her work at the "Festival of the Photograph"…sally showed her large format photographs  starting with the original body of work on her children from the book "Immediate Family" and ended with photographs of her husband larry who is suffering and deteriorating from multiple schlerosis…..sally credits larry with being a supportive husband  through all of her formative years by sharing with child raising and helping in every way he could with her talented trajectory…

sally’s new nude photographs of larry in a state of decline, but also heroic and perhaps oddly erotic and beautiful, reflect both  artistry and her way of dealing with personal tragedy….larry and sally have been married for  37 years…i have  been friends with sally for  about  20 years i suppose, and i  remember  well  her  strength and level of commitment for her  craft even in those early years ….there is no doubt in anyone’s mind sally’s major achievement as one of the great photographers of our time…

so, when i went to see her presentation two days ago i expected to see the work with which i was so so familiar….i knew larry was ill, but i did not know of her new photographs….but, the most significant discovery for me , and i think for the whole audience, was her dedication to her husband in such a special way….to turn life into art and art into life is sally’s mantra…..and there was not a "dry eye in the house" as sally bowed to a standing ovation in the auditorium on that sultry virginia afternoon…

Ani

one day before the ovation for sally, there was another stand up crowd ,above,  honoring william albert allard…when the crowd got to their feet for bill, i started to move to the stage to photograph bill with the crowd behind….i took two steps in his direction, and then made a fast decision to stop right where i was and photograph ani,  bill’s wife of 24 years…i figured i already had so many pictures of bill and very few of ani who has been bill’s backbone and support through "thick and thin"…

ani, who bill had met while on assignment in peru 26 years ago, is bill’s second wife…ani stayed strong by bill when he was "fired" years ago by National Geographic (see story "family/friends") and was his pillar of strength when bill lost his oldest son scott to melanoma two years ago…ani pretty much stays in the background to bill’s "larger than life" presence…. but without ani,  bill would be "lost"…..i suspect bill is not an easy man to live with…many talented photographers are not….but ani has persevered and was the proudest of all when william albert allard received his due from this appreciative audience….

you should know that the whole festival in virginia just had a good "vibe" all way around….this was an amazing gathering of old friends and new…..a conglomeration of the respectful and the respected….a showing of work finalized and a promise of work to be done….i have several stories to write based on these three days in charlottesville, but as i sat down to write, it just seemed more than right to start off with these two amazing women…

and just imagine what is playing right now on my i-tunes catalogue……

intentions

the best of intentions….yes, i definitely had the best of intentions…and that was to keep all of you "plugged in" to the "Festival of the Photograph" down here in virginia…..basically, i disappeared from all traces of my "normal life" for the last three days…

i do now have enough material to write several good stories…..the whole festival was an amazing success and is really the first photo fest of it’s kind in the u.s….but, i had no time to post….i had portfolio reviews and workshop classes at least 14 hours each day and had zero time to join you here….total overload…

now i have 13% power on my laptop…i also  have a seven hour drive home to new york …so, i will post late tonight or first thing in the morning….by the way, many of you from our forum here joined me…that was truly special..back to you soonest….cheers ….
.

country roads

the drive from new york to charlottesville, virginia is about 7 hours…..but it is like going from one planet to another…..we went from gridlock traffic in the morning to a peaceful campfire in the woods by evening..i will be “reporting” all this week from michael “nick” nichols “”Festival of the Photograph” which has transformed charlottesville from a quiet university town to a major venue for serious photography..

this week sally mann, eugene richards and william albert allard are the featured exhibitors…..alex webb and rebecca norris webb, maggie steber, and i are doing portfolio revues and a 2 day mini-workshop…evening slide shows with the work of paolo pellegrin, jonas bendikson, alexandra boulat, larry towell , donna ferrato, debbie flemming caffery, and many others will grace the screen of a 3,000 seat arena….in a nutshell, nick has brought the whole photo world to this sleepy virginia town that thomas jefferson made famous by choosing charlottesville as his home before and after he was the architect of independence for the u.s.a…

i will have more material for our community here than i will know what to do with….nick has pulled off an amazing event here in virginia and i will try to present happenings here in the most helpful way for those of you who are just too far away to attend…..

nick is a “country boy”….but he has created one of the most sophisticated photography events to be now and forever respectecd on an international level…never underestimate what is at the end of a country road….

collaboration

this warm summer evening found me walking alone in the chelsea district of manhatten…earlier,i had arrived  at the Steven Kasher Gallery for the opening of "New York Genius" a show curated  by lou reed..he has chosen photographs of  his favorite musicians, actors, painters, dancers and writers….

i was not a new york genius by the way, because i walked into the gallery at 10 minutes after 6pm for an opening that was from 4-6pm….i could have sworn that invitation said 6-8pm, but i had lost that!!…but it turned out just perfect , i actually got to see the show…..alone….no distractions….just me and the pictures….photographs of artists miles davis, jack kerouac, and andy warhol photographed by artists dennis stock, burt glinn and elliott erwitt…there  were others too, but this is what i am remembering now…

so, i left the gallery, chatted for a short time with friends who were sitting at an outdoor cafe and then just started wandering…..thinking, thinking, thinking…sidewalk tables beckoned…perfect night…saturday night…..a guzillion choices…i chose walking and thinking, thinking….then i made a strange decision ..i caught a cab home…nobody goes home on purpose on saturday night!!  but,i just did….

Trinidad_cuba_copy

two things were on my mind besides the pictures on the wall of such incredible talents in the arts…

first thing, my girlfriend..that sidewalk cafe where i chatted with friends was a place we had a burger one time…we cannot meet for this whole month…a month chock full of so much going on …nick’s photo fest, magnum openings all over town all the time, MOMA  reception,  my birthday and show…all things where you would want to share the experience  with your mate….but it is not to be…circumstantial….july seems far away….but, we have survived worse and we will survive this..

second thing, you guys….yes, this community….by the way, i hate the word "blog"….sounds like something you would not want to eat,  and if you did , it sounds like the way your stomach would feel after…can’t we get that word changed??  who came up with that?? i guess it stands for something, but i do not know what…

anyway i am now here for you ….us…this community….this relationship….seems real because it is real…two or three of the responders  here are people i knew before, but the rest of you are new to me…it is kinda like the old "pen pal" thing only plural…but, i never had a "pen pal"…only real pals playing in the woods as a child , driving our cars too fast as teenagers, or talking pictures in college…so, i remain surprised  and pleased at this "relationship"..

my thinking tonight is on how we can collaborate…..carlos rubin came up with the "traveling camera" concept and we chewed on that idea for awhile…we are all waiting for carlos to come up with a plan!!  that is the deal with collaboration…whoever comes up with the idea has to spearhead the plan…we all help, but somebody has to be a focal point…then everyone collaborates to produce the final result…

Havana

 

so, here is my idea….

in the next few months i am going to try to raise some major funding….try to create "grants" or "stipends"  for you..maybe only five grants to start out ..to produce new bodies of work…..and with you in  control of this work during production and in layout…obviously, it will have to be the best of you, but hopefully it will inspire everyone to do their best…

the net will allow us to create a new way of working….to work "backwards" from the old way of producing intelligent photo essays….instead of starting with the "media" which then tries to appeal to an "audience"….we will start with the audience, which is you,  and create the media….

all of you together represent a pretty clear demographic….identifiable….you are mostly all young emerging photographers or young at heart emerging photographers..women and men…you are serious….i randomly check most of your websites when they exist….so, i can see who you are…i see the stats…and i know that most of you do not comment at all and the responders are just a small slice of the international crowd that shows up here everyday….an identifiable demographic is of course what traditional advertisers want more than anything…..but, i do not want to go that route….

i would rather create a non-profit fund, with a sophisticated board,  and have either photo industry corporations or generous funders or both contribute to something for which they could be proud and have their "brand" attached to something very worthwhile produced by the very demographic they want to reach….something with class and visibility  and something that allows young photographers to speak in a way they cannot now…

i did outline this briefly in the  "in flight magazines" piece, but i want you to know  i  am "on the case"….i want to turn the web  back into print….a  classy  book and exhibition which would showcase  new talent  and be  also the  sophisticated valuable venue for the  funders who made it all happen…and turn this venue into something where you could really display your work, including film and video artists..

so, it is up to you..and me….together, as collaborators, we  will decide our  own fate…the larger and more specific the audience, the more likely to get the funding for you to do your work….the more of you who stay loyal and the more newcomers  to this forum, the better chance this will all work..and you cannot or will not stay loyal unless i keep you here…one thing leads to the other….serendipity…..authenticity…

the community is already here….i will try to give you reasons to show up, and if any or all of this works, then you will have to make photographs which make all of this effort worthwhile….

your thoughts?

Dividedsoul_06_copy