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.
Posts Tagged ‘France’
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.
He is getting old, he can hardly see, but he still runs silly with abandon. In the happiness that only a dog, a child, or my free-spirited friend Alex can inhabit. Letting it all hang out.
I spent the weekend photographing a classical music festival at 59 (click here for the story of 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris). It was an ambitious undertaking, with concerts in the ground-floor gallery every hour, 10 hours a day, as well as performances on all six floors. It was open to the public and all completely free, or however much you felt like contributing.
A piano was somehow maneuvered into Suisse’s Musée Igor Balut, where Lise Charrin was playing Bach and Scarlatti.
Seven years ago today I woke up in someone else’s life.
I didn’t anticipate how dramatic the change would be. I had big, impatient plans whose tires were spinning on the rug that I had arranged to be yanked from under my feet.
To start, I began drinking wine at every meal (excluding breakfast) and eating cheese that smelled like untouchable socks. I learned quickly that confrontation was not avoided here but even sought out and played with, that smiling while walking down the street made you look simple, that my pronunciations of regarder and rue de la verrerrie were better after drinking fruit juice, and that I understood nothing over the telephone and would have to go in person to read lips. I started swearing more in my native language to compensate for my impotence in my new life’s language. And, I didn’t recognize myself in the reflection of others because their eyes were looking through the heavy filter of my insufficient words. My small supply of adjectives just did not cover the scope of my thoughts.
The dream remained a dream, and every day was surreal
until surreal became real.
If change is the only constant, and because I like to count, I can say there have been 2,555 days of change between the me today and the girl in that photo. I knew her, I know her, I am her, I was her. I have sometimes forgotten her, hidden her, found her or denied her. I have pushed her very hard and yet not enough. I have taken her in and kicked her out, into the big wide world, to widen her peripheral vision.
Some days I have no regrets.
Today, I’m happy to be here, wherever I am.
On my street today, a man dressed in green, all the way down to his broom, said to his street-sweeping partner, “Partage un peu mon frère, la vie n’est que courte et éphémère.”
Tonight in Arles, a man in black walks up and down his street,
being walked by his dogs.
Hey, just posting a quick update because I said earlier I would write more about Arles. I DID, but it’s over here on Photoinduced!
Please go check it out. I recapped my experience with the portfolio reviews, the exhibit that took my breath away, the reasons I love Arles, and well, some photos too of course…
I was on my way to the studio yesterday and got side-tracked with the May 1st parade. I thought I’d just stop by really quick and check it out, then stayed several hours and never made it to the studio.
When so many people are in the street, the energy and diversity of people are irresistible. I’m not the best manif photographer. Not like my friend Gaelic, who I ran into today (and has been shooting May Day for years). He is up there within inches of faces with a 12-24mm. It’s a rare occasion that I feel bold enough to get that close without a conversation first. Yet I’ve seen probably all of my male photog friends walk right up close and shoot without a word. They claim their space, their role, with an apparent confidence I sometimes envy. I don’t know many female photogs unfortunately, and it’s too easy to wonder if this approach has something to do with having a penis. I don’t like to generalize. But I do wonder.
I think I’m more subtle, and the intimacy of these situations is one reason why the manif is so irresistible. Everyone is close, squeezing, shouting and dancing through the street. You walk along with Kurds, communists, feminists, Jeunes Socialistes selling roses, Iranians announcing that organization of any kind puts you in prison. Everyone is labeled with their cause, telling an important story.
Growing up in the “Greater Chicagoland Area” as I did, I don’t remember the Labor Day parades. I think we just grilled big pieces of meat in the backyard and shot hoops in the driveway. Sometimes it’s challenging to really comprehend that all of these events happen on the same planet, at the same time.
I’m sending myself away to the sea for the weekend, to the edge of land and where I can touch the water and stand in the sand. As far out as the low tide allows.
No digital cameras, no computer, only film and and notebooks.
The phrase that stuck out in my mind today: “Il faut partager, pas conserver.” (It’s necessary to share, not preserve.) The words came out of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s mouth as he talked to journalists while visiting 59 Rivoli. The building at this address in the center of Paris existed as an artist’s squat for 6 years (after having stood empty for 10) and tomorrow at 18h00, after nearly 3 years of renovations, the public is invited to come inside and visit the studios of the 32 artists that started working there this week.
Today was reserved for the Mayor, who made good on his promise to renovate and rendre (give back) the building as a space to create and share their work.
I started photographing this building, and the beautiful faces inside of it, when they moved in 2006. Some of those photos can be seen here.
But here is a look at today.
Suisse Marocain : http://www.59rivoli.org/suissemarocain.html
Kit Brown : http://abookaboutdeath.blogspot.com/2009/08/kit-brown-181.html
Etsuko Kobyashi : http://www.59rivoli.org/etsuko.html
Sandy Murden : http://www.59rivoli.org/sandy.html
Anita Savary : http://anitasavary.free.fr/
Lucie Belarbi : http://www.59rivoli.org/luciebelarbi.html
Gaspard Delanoë : http://gasparddelanoe2008.wordpress.com/
Leora Wien : http://www.leorawien.blogspot.com/
Thierry Hodebar : http://www.59rivoli.org/thierryhodebar.html
Eve Clair : http://eve.clair.free.fr/
Mariko Saito : http://www.59rivoli.org/mariko.html
Francesco : http://www.59rivoli.org/francesco.html
Aliocha : http://www.59rivoli.org/aliocha.html
Fresh back from Arles, for the annual Rencontres de la Photographie.
Last year I just wanted to meet Koudelka and I got that chance when I passed him in the street one night. This year’s highlight was meeting Duane Michals, the self-proclaimed “destroyer of the decisive moment.”
I knew some of his work, (excellent interview here if you don’t), but did not anticipate his personality. He was possibly the most delightful person in Arles this week. He gave of himself freely and joyfully, telling stories, making jokes and hurling Obama-style encouragement, “yes you can, go do it!”
Thursday evening he presented a slideshow of his work. He danced his way over to the microphone, in a courageously-attempted moonwalk. He began with “un-PC” jokes that got everyone laughing and then he howled at the full moon.
He told the crowd of photo pros and aficionados (Koudelka was lying on the ground down in front) to take risks and ask questions, to go find your own visual language. Gary Winogrand walked out of his first show, saying “that’s not photography.” Luckily Duane has confidence in abundance. It’s contagious.
For someone needing an ass-kicking in confidence (um, me…), his words help.
On being a photographer, he offered this:
“You are either defined by the medium or you re-define the medium based on your own needs. Now go do it.”