My project, Paris Blue Prints, in collaboration with Carol Lipton will be shown tomorrow until April 4th on a corner with two of the best street names in town: rue de la Lune and rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle.
Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
St. Eustache is a church I’ve long loved, and always walk out of with a sore neck because I spend my time there staring at the ceiling. My boyfriend complains that Americans say “amazing” too much, but I have to say, the architecture here is amazing. The thick columns remind me of old trees stretching up to the sky. And I’m lifted up when I walk through them. It makes me want to replace all the chairs with soft mats so we can lie down and stare up, instead of bowing our heads.
After looking through many photos, including ones from the protests in Paris, I decided on a photo for my New Year’s greeting that spoke to me of innocence, exploration, passage, sharing, quiet companionship. It was taken over the summer in the south of France. I saw those kids coming and wanted to get the shot before the adults behind them entered the picture. I like to imagine them traveling alone, in one of those magical children’s’ stories where there is almost always flying. There’s something Peter Pan or Christopher Robin in that boy’s profile.
I’m a little late getting out my wishes for this New Year. The momentum I was creating the first week in January took a detour with the Charlie Hebdo story. People being killed down the street from where I live and work, for expressing their ideas, shined a big light on the word “now.”
Like the little girl in the tutu at the supermarket, happy with herself, at play each moment of the day. Why wait for an “appropriate occasion” to wear that flashy skirt? Why wait until tomorrow to call that grandmother, sister, or father and tell them you were thinking of them, right now, today, for no other special reason, other than they are important to you and you love them?
Do you have something important to say that someone, somewhere should hear? Write it, send it, ship it, say it. Release fear and it uncovers love, they say. I’ve found this to be true.
For my 8th birthday someone gave me a diary with a teddy bear on the front. I remember it very well, especially that I didn’t quite understanding what I was supposed to write in it. My first entry began in the 3rd person. Now I know when I received my first camera. I believe it was a Kodak with disc film, it’s the first one I remember using.
For one week only (because I’m soon flying to sweet home Chicago!!), I’m offering a selection of cyanotypes for sale. The perfect Christmas gift!
10 unique prints, signed, numbered and framed. See details and more photos here:
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 odd things in it, like tiny bird cages, old stuffed animals, fancy kid-sized furniture, and soft lamplight on dark walls that made it very 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.
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.
Deep in the sea are riches beyond compare.
But if you seek safety, it is on the shore.
–Saadi, Rose Garden
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.
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!
My humble homage to Saul Leiter.
I’m so sad he’s gone and so grateful he existed.
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.
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.
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.
A couple of today’s treasures from my weekly Wednesday in the dark room, and a new series of photos brewing.
He’s the kind of friend that brings laughter to the task of moving all your worldly belongings across town. Again, and again, and again.
How many flights of stairs this time?
In the end
I was just thirsty
Impossible Project, a name designed to keep our expectations low?
I like sending polaroids in the mail. These are on their way to St. Louis.
In the middle of a roll of film, a surprise! A triple exposure, auto-portrait with two dear friends who, I believe very soon after this photo was taken, went off in different directions for 6 months, one to Nairobi, the other to Dubai.
What anxiety means is, it’s as though the world were knocking at your door, saying “You need to create. You need to make something. You need to do something.” And I think anxiety is thus, for people who have found their own heart and their own soul, for them it is a stimulus toward creativity, toward courage. It’s what makes us human beings. – Rollo May, existential psychologist