My humble homage to Saul Leiter.
I’m so sad he’s gone and so grateful he existed.
My humble homage to Saul Leiter.
The photo festival, Les Rencontres Photographiques du 10e, continues for another couple of weeks in Paris, and I’ve been out again enlarging the circle of my street exhibition.
There is a map here: DesCollages Map
(though it now includes rue Bichat, near metro Jacques Bonsergent, and also farther west to the Passage des Petites Ecuries, great place to go for drinks and dinner btw.)
In participation with Les Rencontres Photographiques du 10e arrondissement in Paris, a selection of 9 photos from my DesCollages series can be spotted around the 10th district from now until the end of November. If you see any of them, take a shot and send it to me! Or better, post it to me here: https://www.facebook.com/DanielleVoirin
If you’re in Paris, come by La Petite Louise Friday night, October 18th at 19h, across the street from La Mairie. We’ll be having an opening upstairs and giving away one of the posters!
This Saturday is the annual Nuit Blanche in Paris. In French Nuit Blanche means an all-nighter, staying out until you see the bright sun rise, and this night is a city-wide festival of art and installation, music and happenings. I am usually photographing at 59 rue de Rivoli, the former artist squat, and this year you can find me there again. In looking back over the past years’ images, these are a few of my favorites, all based on contemporary dance and performance.
Ten years have now passed, since I changed countries. I’m almost breathless, looking back, seeing who I was, who I think I was, and who and where I thought I would be today. People make ten-year plans, I never have. I have dreams but I don’t give them deadlines. I was impatient with the Paris dream. I tried once, it was all set up, seemingly perfect, and then fell through just after the Twin Towers. I let it go. And maybe it’s like they say about the people you love. Let them go and they may come back to you. I let the dream rest, though never stopped desiring it, never stopped saying out loud what the ideal situation would be.
I changed paths, out of necessity, and became reacquainted with another dream, one not linked to a particular city, one that could be initiated right where I was.
In looking for a starting point, I jumped through numerous hurdles to get to where I thought I should begin, and when it was my turn to sign up, all seats were taken. But it was vital for me to begin, so I found a second-string starting point, one I judged as inferior but at least put me into action. The new plan-B-point-A would take me far, to where I wanted to be, because the room where my plan B started was where another person had entered by mistake and then decided to stay.
A relationship began, one that would bring me to Paris and then dissolve. A person came into and out of my life, enabling “the ideal” situation in between, which I had so often described out loud.
But a dream is maybe like having a photo of a tarte au citron meringuée when the reality is eating one. Except reality also requires you to learn to make the thing first, then savor it. And those are the ones you don’t forget.
These years have been a lot of work, and sometimes a real pain in the ass, but equally delicious.
I’m still working on the meringue.
Some moments from today’s Techno Parade in Paris.
I’m editing a series of photos of people in landscapes. Quiet, psychological images talking of introversion and extroversion, contemplative encounters & confrontations. More to come.
A light summer image of the little being I tried to save yesterday, but who insisted like a magnet, three times, on flying back into the swimming pool, thus ending up in the filter.
Julien Martial is a magician. A book-object-making artist. I just picked up my copy of a book we collaborated on, with Jean-Jacques Lebel and three contortionists. Book isn’t quite the right word for it though. It’s a unique photo-book/poem-object, that when opened, reveals a series of photos strung together which spell out “Je est une autre.” (As opposed to Rimbaud’s “je est un autre.”) It was Jean Jacques’ idea, Julien’s conception of the final object and my photos. There are 16 copies, 10 that signed and numbered, and 6 artist proofs.
I don’t think I’ve seen lightning bugs in years! Tonight they were like Christmas lights blinking around in the bamboo. I’m working in northern Tuscany, and tonight after dinner, and before a delicious crema di limoncello, we went out to try to touch them.
He is one of my favorite people. And he is in almost constant motion.
If he’s not biking through traffic with his hands in his pockets while talking on the phone, he’s reciting de Musset, quoting Guitry, or singing Les Noces de Figaro which he knows by heart. He shows you how to build giant moonlight reflectors for the Full Moon Theater, then teaches you to drive a tractor and jumps off to take your picture. He has big, beautiful ideas and all the energy and passion to make them manifest. On this night, I caught him motionless in the hallway, in the middle of stoking two separate fires.
For two very fun years I shared a big loft with two painters from Argentina. I lived upstairs on the mezzanine, and they worked downstairs. It was a pretty raw space. We had a tiny improvised kitchen in one corner, a very aged red sofa in another and wonderful floor-to ceiling windows. No door separated our spaces, just a half-wall, over which I took these time-lapse photos of Martin Reyna making watercolors. I love seeing the process behind a piece of art, and I got to witness Martin’s practice daily. In celebration of his birthday today, here’s a selection from those days.
Feliz cumple Martin!
It’s hard looking through old work sometimes. I groan, tear up some prints, light up at the sight of others, and travel back in time much more pronounced way than when looking at photos on a computer screen. Today I went back through rolls of film shot after first moving to Paris, and the contact sheets that had both Chicago and Paris on them. It’s interesting to see what I was focused on then, and how I was constructing my photos. The obsession with geometry was always there. This one I rather like. I think it was taken at Bercy. Great place for a skateboard.
The saddest dog I ever met lived alone on an island you could only reach at low tide. When I visited, he followed me around the island just close enough to keep an eye on me, but at safe distance. He wouldn’t approach my out-stretched hand, no matter how much of my dog-lover’s heart I tried to project. I can still hear his howl in the damp wind the morning we left.
A couple of today’s treasures from my weekly Wednesday in the dark room, and a new series of photos brewing.
I went into San Giovanni in Laterano to get out of the rain. The mother of all churches. The “archbasilica.” The Pope’s church. It’s even above St. Peter’s.
And of course, it’s stunning, with a history as unfathomable as Rome itself. Though the gold and gild left me feeling as if I’d eaten too much birthday cake.
Another post going back to the roots… As they call it in France, “l’argentique.” I’m pretty excited about the idea of shooting digitally, making negatives from those files and printing à l’ancien, as in cyanotype, gum bichromate, and the like. Earlier this month I had an intro to those older processes, and starting today have a weekly slot in a collective darkroom 10 minutes from my flat. Wednesdays my perfume will be fixateur.
As excited as I was this morning, I found myself questioning the whole process (“I could do this in five minutes in Photoshop if I scanned the neg, is this really worth my time?” and so on…) Then a magical error happened. I had taken out the negative to blow off some dust, and when I put it back, I set it up on the frame just next to the one I was working on (a frame I hadn’t chosen to print). I didn’t realize it, exposed the paper as before and got a completely different result. Obviously. I didn’t understand right away what happened, but loved the unexpected image that resulted.
This isn’t a new story. But it reminded me one of the reasons why I was there, and why I still enjoy shooting film.
After a 2-day cyanotype & gum bichromate initiation workshop, these are a couple of my best results. I thought the gum was lost, but after 45 minutes and a lot of hot water, the image on my heavy-handedly-coated paper finally appeared out of pure black. This is the original photo, which I thought would be a decent one to test out these deliciously imperfect processes. It was printed out on transparency as a negative to then print by contact.
The best in a long line of cyanotype trials.
Thanks Jean Gabriel Lopez for being such a patient teacher!
A self-portrait, featuring a work of artist Kit Brown. We once had studios
on the same floor and when I think of working near Kit during those months,
I think of Chuck Close saying, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us
just show up and get to work.”
And sometimes at noon.