Posts Tagged ‘France’

A Modern Boy

Monday, June 8th, 2015

I’ve been showing some people around Paris recently, thus have been in areas with a higher concentration of tourists, and I can’t stop photographing people photographing themselves; in front of anything, everything and nothing at all. The selfie stick is everywhere and it looks to be about as addictive as sugar.

What was the gesture before the iPhone? I’m trying to remember, when on vacation what were people doing? I always had a camera, but I remember often being the only one. I’m trying not to worry that the virtual is trumping real-life, but I am.

A Modern Boy in Versailles

A Modern Boy in Versailles

Taking turns at sea

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

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.

St Maries de la Mer, France.

St Maries de la Mer, France.

A howl from coast to shore

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

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. His howl echoed on the wind the morning we left.

Communicating from distant shores

Communicating from distant shores

Ile du Guesclin

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

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.

on a blustery day.

Leaving the Ile du Guesclin, on a blustery day.

A Day at St Maries de la Mer

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Five people who don’t appear to know each other intersect in front of my camera as I sit on the beach like a sniper, thinking they look lost.
I’m probably projecting.

Pirate running towards the sun

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

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.

Pirate on the run

A classical weekend at 59

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

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.

Lise Charrin nestled in the Musée Igor Balut with piano

Another Rebirthday

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

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.

Me in 2003, when blog wasn't in my vocabulary and I didn't own a digital camera. Photo by V.M.

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.”

Dog-walker in twilight

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Tonight in Arles, a man in black walks up and down his street,
being walked by his dogs.

My Arles 2010

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

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…

(Thanks Damon!)

Looking at the Marin Karmitz collection, Les Rencontres de la Photo, Arles 2010.

May Day 2010, Paris

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

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.

Dancing for Tamil Eelam to be recognized as independent from Sri Lanka. In front of the arches at Strasbourg St. Denis.

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.

'For us, retirement is at the age of 60!'

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.

At Place de la République, a boy leans on a van next to a poster of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez looking very paternal, and request for release of five Cubans detained in the United States

Girl walking with the Paraguay-Uruguay-Bolivia crowd

'A woman is raped every 10 minutes' So if I spent, let's say, 4 hours at the parade, that means...

'In Iran, organizing leads to prison.' The word prison was on ALL of their signs

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.

Analog weekend

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

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.

Destination: Etretat.

Trouville, tide coming in. 11pm, June.

La vie après le squart: 59 Rivoli re-opens

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

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 on the lookout for Delanoë's arrival.

Suisse Marocain on the lookout for Delanoë's arrival.

Kit Brown and his Leica. Wearing an example of the t-shirt he offered Delanoe.

Kit Brown and his Leica. Wearing an example of the T-shirt he offered Delanoë.

Etusko Kobyashi, wearing one of her mask creations.

Etsuko Kobyashi, wearing one of her mask creations.

Mariko and Aki.  Sandy M and Anita Savary.

Mariko Saito and Gaki. Sandy Murden and Anita Savary.

The stylish Lucie Belarbi anticipating Delanoë's entrance.

The stylish Lucie Belarbi anticipating Delanoë's entrance.

Gaspard Delanoë (president of the artist's association at 59) and Bertrand Delanoë, surrounded by media.

Gaspard Delanoë (squat co-founder and president of the artist's association at 59) and Bertrand Delanoë, surrounded by media

Leora Wien, a Los Angeles native, shares a moment with Monsieur le Maire.  A painting of President Barack Obama, by Thierry Hodgebar, peeks behind them

Leora Wien, a Los Angeles native with a message, shares a moment with Monsieur le Maire. A painting of President Barack Obama, by Thierry Hodgebar, peeks behind them

The Mayor in Eve Clair's studio on the 6th floor.

The Mayor in Eve Clair's studio on the 6th floor.

Mariko Saito, charming Delanoe in a one-of-a-kind dress.

Mariko Saito, charming Delanoë in a one-of-a-kind dress.

Francesco and Aliocha, who showed up like a rock star after Delanoë made his exit.

Francesco and Aliocha, who showed up like a rock star after Delanoë made his exit.

Suisse Marocain :
Kit Brown :
Etsuko Kobyashi :
Sandy Murden :
Anita Savary :
Lucie Belarbi :
Gaspard Delanoë :
Leora Wien :
Thierry Hodebar :
Eve Clair :
Mariko Saito :
Francesco :
Aliocha :

Rencontre with Duane Michals in Arles

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

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.”

Duane and I, after he gave a tour of his expo.  Arles 2009.

Duane and me, after he gave a tour of his expo. Arles 2009.