Reading Cones in winter

August 27th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

I have always loved photographing sculpture, since those first assignments in my Jane Addams Community Center photo class in Chicago. It was during that time that I shot this photo, early one morning on my way to an office job in the Loop.

That typical Chicago winter weather made Richard Serra‘s “Reading Cones” stand out in a way that made me jump out of the car. Had I ever really seen this sculpture before that morning?

I’ve always liked this photo, and have given it as a gift, but it’s spent most of the last decade hidden away in a box. Last week, while hanging some photos at home, I needed a vertical print to fit in my ensemble and went searching for the one print I knew I had of it, on a soft matte fine art paper, which is just as it should be.

Now all I can say is, I love living with it on my wall. It is grounding, regal, quiet and confident. And, it merits being printed bigger than the A4 I modestly permitted it.

Richard Serra's Reading Cones in Chicago's Grant Park.

Richard Serra’s Reading Cones in Chicago’s Grant Park.

L’inconscient

August 24th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

I am getting much inspiration from Odilon Redon today.

Tout se crée par la soumission docile à la venue de l’inconscient.
Everything is created by quietly submitting to the arrival of the unconscious.
- Odilon Redon, 1898

From Disappearances, in Halsnoy, Norway.

From Disappearances, in Halsnoy, Norway.

Disappearances

DesCollages in Arles

July 20th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

I had a great time in Arles this year. Most of us have likely read the reviews by now, and while the “In” festival may have been underwhelming, Arles was, as always, a great place to network and spend time with people I don’t often get to see in person.

And the “off” festival is getting bigger and better every year. This year I decided to continue in Arles, the work I began last October during les Rencontres Photographiques du 10e in Paris.

rue du Grand Couvent

rue du Grand Couvent

So on most nights, after vernissages, dinners, projections, and parties, I took my broom and bucket out and pasted up my street exhibition in the off-off festival. In the process, I met Isabelle Chapuis and Alexis VI, who were pasting up (with admirable precision) their series Blossom (love it) and watched the evolution of Delphine Henry and her group’s series “Parade,” titled after François Hebel’s name for this years festival. I loved the silent collaboration, placing my work among theirs.

rue de la Calade

rue de la Calade

rue Docteur Fanton

rue Docteur Fanton

Close-up on rue Dr Fanton.  I love the wall textures and wrinkles

Close-up on rue Dr Fanton. I love the wall textures and wrinkles

Ironically, a few years ago, when I showed an early version of DesCollages (before it had this name) in the portfolio reviews, one of my reviewers advised that I never show this work again, ever. It may sound brutal and I won’t go the details of the consequent discussion we had, but he was genuinely enthusiastic about one body of work and decidedly less so about this one. And while I had several other very positive responses to this work, his rejection of it hit me rather hard.

Just before leaving for Arles this year, I remembered our conversation and it made me laugh to think of what I was doing with this series now. Then, I admit, I had a moment’s pause and asked myself the healthy question, “am I crazy?” But I knew I wasn’t. You cannot please everyone, and trying to do so is a loser move, as my mother would say, so you must check in with yourself to know your path forward and focus on the task at hand. And find the right people to guide you when needed. I appreciated this person’s honesty, and understood it just wasn’t meant for him.

I offer this story because it can be challenging to know what to take away from a series of portfolio reviews with so many different opinions and suggestions. All I can say is be bold and keep going in the direction that makes your heart beat faster.

rue des Penitents Bleus

rue des Penitents Bleus

rue des Penitents Bleus, a spot that became more and more full as the week went on

rue des Penitents Bleus, a spot that became more and more full as the week went on

It seems to me that these photos ask to be shared in this way. It’s a natural step in the process. And in giving them this freedom, I am also liberated.

rue Portagnel

rue Portagnel

rue de l'Hotel de Ville

rue de l’Hotel de Ville

I don’t imagine these photos will live long lives in the streets of Arles. Let me know if you see them hanging around.

rue du Grand Couvent, someone didn't appreciate this one.

rue du Grand Couvent, someone didn’t appreciate this one.

A la santé de ceux qui osent encore…en Arles

July 12th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Last night in Arles.

Cheers to those who still dare

Cheers to those who still dare

The Rencontres festival did not take risks, it largely stuck to the usual suspects,
this is a shout out to the festival-off, and off-off.

Mini cyanotypes

July 6th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

It’s the most labor-intensive business card I’ve ever had, but I really wanted to make some mini cyanotypes. Printing cyanotypes is at times frustrating. For example, I can have three identical negatives in a row, exposed under the same light, and the three resulting prints will not be identical. There are many variables, which I won’t get into, but just to say that it liberates me from seeking perfection and re-aquaints me with happy accidents. And it will be fun to give a unique gift as a business card in Arles this year.

DesCollages dans la rue, a magazine!

July 4th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Happy July 4th! Before I go buy some sparklers to put in my tarte citron, I want to share this magazine I just finished making with Blurb (it’s so fun to make a magazine!). You can preview some of the pages below. And if you’re in Arles next week for the festival, you may see some of these photos as you’re walking from café terrace to photo exhibition!

My first magazine

My first magazine



A reminder of why

June 30th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

I taped this to the wall across from my desk today. Someone once said this to me after enjoying a story I wrote.

Note to self: just do the work, show up every day, even if you don’t yet know what you’re going to say. We all have something important to share, at least with one other person.

Jazz Pas Grave III, Day 2

June 16th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Some highlights from day 2…

Antonin Fresson, Quadri-Cor

Antonin Fresson, Quadri-Cor

Yoann Godefroy and singer Kephny Eliacin

Yoann Godefroy and singer Kephny Eliacin

Balthazar Regea, from Soma Age

Balthazar Regea, from Soma Age

Antoine and Martin Beux, with Jungles Key

Antoine and Martin Beux, with Jungles Key

Maxime Bureau, with Soma Age

Maxime Bureau, with Soma Age

Mac, the funny front man of Funk Me Tender

Mac, the funny front man of Funk Me Tender

Beautiful profiles in the crowd, just because

Beautiful profiles in the crowd, just because

Jazz Pas Grave, Day 1

June 14th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

While still processing last week’s classical music fest photos, this weekend I’m photographing Jazz Pas Grave, the 3rd edition of a festival at 59 Rivoli that brings some really fabulous musicians together. Some highlights while I’m waiting for the next concert to start…

Elbi Baueur singing with Radztitone in the opening concert of Jazz Pas Grave III

Elbi Baueur singing with Radztitone in the opening concert of Jazz Pas Grave III

Antoine Beux playing with Rising Cloud Orchestra

Antoine Beux playing with Rising Cloud Orchestra

Alessandro Sgobbio improvising

Alessandro Sgobbio improvising

Mario Forte

Mario Forte

And our energetic team of volunteers passing out the program in sidewalk traffic…

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Le Classique C’est pour les Vieux – Day 2

June 8th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

I spent day two of the classical music festival at 59 Rivoli filming and real-time editing the live stream. My ambition was to be photographer and videographer at once, but that really isn’t possible. Taking 25 photos a second on five different cameras, with my 6D around my shoulders, I photographed the screen in front of me. We had placed the cameras better than I was able to place myself. Here are some highlights of the Quoatuor van Kuijk and the Collectif Warning.

Sound check, van Kuijk quartet

Sound check, van Kuijk quartet

Sébastien van Kuijk and his cello, the van Kuijk quartet.

Sébastien van Kuijk and his cello, the van Kuijk quartet.

Grégoire Vecchioni and Sébastien van Kuijk , of the van Kuijk quartet

Grégoire Vecchioni and Sébastien van Kuijk , of the van Kuijk quartet

Olivier Stankiewicz, Carmen Lefrançois and Barbara Giepner, of the Collectif Warning

Olivier Stankiewicz, Carmen Lefrançois and Barbara Giepner, of the Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Le Classique C’est Pour les Vieux – Day 1

June 7th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Yesterday a 3-day classical music festival, which thinks outside of the box of what we might expect “classical” music to be, kicked off at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris. This is the 3rd edition that I’ve photographed for them. This year two concerts were performed in the St Merri church, and the last concert of the night, Le Cabaret Contemporain, an electronic-dance-classical-move-your-body hybrid, transformed the 59 gallery into a nightclub.

The street performance with Léa Scher, Sabine Rivière and Luise Hakim interacts with curious pedestrian traffic

The street performance with Léa Scher, Sabine Rivière and Luise Hakim interacts with curious pedestrian traffic

Le Spat'sonore, 6th floor

Le Spat’sonore, 6th floor

Simone, Le Cabaret Contemporain

Simone Drappier, Le Cabaret Contemporain

During Le Cabaret Contemporain concert

Fabrizio Rat, pianist.  Le Cabaret Contemporain

Fabrizio Rat, pianist. Le Cabaret Contemporain

L'itinéraire, St Merri church

L’itinéraire, St Merri church

Duo Links performs 'Studi sulla note" in the St Merri church

Duo Links performs ‘Studi sulla note” in the St Merri church

7 months

May 27th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

I’m always surprised when they live so long. This was the first photo pasted for Les Rencontres Photo du 10e last October. It looks like a tiger has gotten to it, and the title has been removed and replaced with OAK (makes me think of the street artist OakOak? But not his style).

Cité Riverin, Paris.

Cité Riverin, Paris.

Rock star photographer

April 24th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

When I was a kid I thought our family photographer was the same guy I heard singing on the radio. His name was Ron Stewart. I was only 3 or 4 and I thought it was incredible that he had these two different jobs.

I loved going to see him because he had this vast space (for a toddler) with a bunch of strange things in it, like bird cages, old stuffed animals, fancy kid-sized furniture, and soft lamplight on dark walls that made it feel cozy.

His method was to let children wander in this cabinet de curiosités and photograph them while they did it. Distracting parents waited outside (in today’s paranoid times that probably doesn’t happen much). At some point he would pose you, I know because we have the photos, but in my memory it was the time I spent wandering and discovering that stayed with me. In one session I found a teensy toy chick that I held in my hand the entire time. It was so soft. I wanted to keep it forever. I don’t know if he let me take it with me. That must have happened a lot.

Decades later, I still remember this day.

Decades later, I still remember this day.

I thought about Ron Stewart recently when I was photographing children hiding in the studios at 59 rue de Rivoli here in Paris. They were participating in making a clip for the Pharrell Williams song Happy. Observing the boy below, and his reaction to the disco ball sparkling in the sun reminded me of that little chick. If it were my disco ball, I would let him take it home.

Discovery in Suisse Marrocain’s cabinet de curiosités.

 

Lumière instantanée

April 10th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

There’s a bookstore in paris, le 29, where I always get inspired. I could easily spend 300€ in a blink each time I go. But I don’t. I browse, I get inspired, my heart grows.

And, each time I look for that Andreï Tarkovski book. I know exactly where it is, and like an old friend, I greet it on every visit, but for whatever reason, I never buy it.

But the other day I went to the bookshop window to check out their display and was draw inside by a new book from the photographer JR. Once inside, having just opened the book, I thought of the Tarkovski. I put down JR and went straight over and bought it.

Why is this book special? It consists of Polaroids – mostly landscapes, his wife Larissa, son Andreï and dog Dak – and bits of text, which seem to hold hands across the page like dear friends, each saying different things and together arriving at something more. His sensitivity touches me deeply and I can spend time with each photo, I want to wander into them. They’re not two dimensional. And neither is his writing. His thoughts on where ideas come from, what a photo is or isn’t, and where we are in the universe resonate with me like the title, in a flash of light.

Nous sommes crucifiés dans une seule dimension,
quand l’univers, lui, est multi-dimensionnel.
Nous le sentons, et souffrons
de ne pouvoir connaître la vérité.
Mais connaître n’est pas nécessaire.
Ce qu’il faut, c’est aimer.
Et croire.
Car la foi, c’est la connaissance par l’amour.

Experimenting in Cyanotype

April 7th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

This week blue is my favorite color. I mixed twice as many chemicals as I needed, so I’ll be coating a lot of paper and printing several new negatives, starting with printing the DesCollages series in blue.

Cyanotype from the DesCollages series, an out-take from the B-pile

Thirst

March 12th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Deep in the sea are riches beyond compare.
But if you seek safety, it is on the shore.
-Saadi, Rose Garden

Self Portrait in Barry Jones' studio

Self Portrait in Barry Jones’ studio

Francesco at 59

March 5th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Francesco has such an expressive face,
and you never know what to expect when you photograph him.

Francesco draped in my backdrop

Francesco draped in my backdrop

rue des Déchargeurs

February 20th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

DesCollages on rue des Déchargeurs.

It’s a short street in front of 59 rue de Rivoli, named siége des Déchargeurs in 1300, for the workers (déchargeurs) unloading stock for Les Halles market. You can’t see it here in the dark, but on the left at number 3 is the Théâtre des Déchargeurs. Built in 1708, the wiki page has photos of the façade by Eugene Atget. How wonderful it would be to have an Atget app for smartphones. Someone must be working on that. I hope someone is working on that.

Rue des Déchargeurs, Paris.  February, 2014.

Rue des Déchargeurs, Paris. February, 2014.

A brief history of 59

February 1st, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Tonight Arthur LeCaron projected his film on the history of the artist squat at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris. He was there in November 1999 when it was first occupied by the KGB (Kalex, Gaspard & Bruno) and has a feast of rare footage. The film is narrated by Gaspard Delanoë, who was there tonight in the gallery to present it to us.

Gaspard on a payphone negotiating with the Mayor's office in the first months.

Gaspard on a payphone negotiating with the Mayor’s office in the first months.

Poetry from the evidence

January 15th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

This is the greeting card I’m sending out for 2014, taken at the Théâtre de la Pleine Lune this summer, on a full-moon night when Malavika Klein danced Bharata Natyam for us. It is a dance I had no experience with, a dance so rich in imagery, a real poetry expressed through the human body.

I look at it and think about what I want from my photography, what I want it to contribute to the world. Magic comes to mind. Moments of magic. Like when Robert Frank, in the November 1951 issue of Life said, “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”

And when Jay Maisel said, “There was a phrase that Arthur Miller used – ‘I’m trying to create the poem from the evidence.’ I’m not trying to change anything that’s in front of me, I’m trying to give it respect and I’m trying to call attention to it.”

I want my photos to be a place you want to spend time. A space of grace and light. And if I see these qualities where someone else does not, I hope I can be an effective translator.

Out of the vortex

January 7th, 2014 by Danielle Voirin

Some Illinois landscapes
pre-winter cold vortex

Winter fireworks

December 29th, 2013 by Danielle Voirin

For the 2nd year, one of the cutest towns in the United States, Kirkwood, Missouri, sets off holiday fireworks. Last year they were left-overs from a 4th of July that was too dry. It was such a hit, it has become a new tradition!

Fireworks in front of the Kirkwood, Missouri City Hall.

Fireworks in front of the Kirkwood, Missouri City Hall.

Jetlag

December 18th, 2013 by Danielle Voirin

It makes you see strange things
like a man taking out the garbage.

For Saul

December 1st, 2013 by Danielle Voirin

My humble homage to Saul Leiter.
I’m so sad he’s gone and so grateful he existed.

Pink umbrella at Place de la République.

Pink umbrella at Place de la République.