Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

A reminder of why

Monday, June 30th, 2014

I taped this to the wall across from my desk today. Someone once said this to me because he liked something I wrote.

Note to self: do the work, show up, even if you don’t know what you’re going to say. We all have something to share, even with only one other person. He or she may be waiting for it right now.

Poetry from the evidence

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

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.

Making it a real job

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

A birthday gift from my dad, I got to see Joe Bonamassa in concert tonight at the Olympia in Paris. I recently joked that his music had become the new family religion. I’m proud to say we’re a Chicago family and like big guitar sounds and blues.

It was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. He played almost 2 and a half hours and looked like he loved it as much as we did. When leaving, my spirits were so high I couldn’t fit into the metro and had to walk all the way home.

At one point Joe said he had taken a photo of the facade of the Olympia and sent it to his mother so she’d stop bugging him about getting a real job. He’d made it. Well I think he did that quite a while ago (opened for B.B. King at the age of 12! and will have his 34th birthday in a couple of days). It made me think of my parents and their relation to photography as “a real job.” I think they now believe I’m capable and do not worry as much, even if I have not reached the level of the Olympia.

May 5, 2011. Bonamassa at the Olympia.

The inspectors

Monday, August 9th, 2010

While setting up to shoot some portraits yesterday, the inspectors passed through doing an état des lieux.

As they were standing in my line of fire, we took a couple of photos together. This is number two. After seeing number one, I said let’s do another, parce que j’ai des grosses fesses. Hence, the posture of Aliocha…

I adore these guys. They are good friends, talented artists, inspiring human beings and they make me laugh!

Moi, Aliocha, Thierry Hodebar, Francesco, Slimane Hamadache

Cinquantanove

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

It’s been Italian week at 59. The gallery is hosting three artists (Antonio Bonura, Marianna Mendozza and Angelo Maisto) who drove up to Paris last weekend. We’ve simultaneously had Guappecarto (longtime friends of 59) play concerts here in the gallery, at New Morning and at L’International. The rhythm of the language is the air and the Tuscan wine is flowing.

Yesterday I arrived at 59 needing desperately to make photos. I set up my lights fast, trying not to trip visitors with my cables (high Sunday afternoon traffic), and ran down to the gallery to propose a quick shoot with Marianna, Saverio, Angelo, Tony and his dog Rocco before the concert started.

Marianna Mendozza and Saverio Montella

Marianna Mendozza and Saverio Montella

Antonio Bonura and Rocco

Antonio Bonura and Rocco

Angelo Maisto

Angelo Maisto


After those spontaneous portraits, I ran down to the gallery where Guappecarto had started playing. If you are in Paris and you don’t know them already, check ’em out. The first time I heard them play was also the day I entered 59 Rivoli for the first time. On the inspiration scale, this day was seriously high.

Frank Cosentini et Dr Zingarone, Guappecarto

The Guappecarto guys are charming as hell and play with a passion that translates emotion into sound in a direct line from their hearts to ours.  I’m kind of a fan. The music can be soothing, but it’s also got an energy inspiring to action, to creation, to dance, to do SOMETHING… and a bit of dreaming of the sea, and late nights in Italy. Their passion is matched by their humor and hearing their music live is some kind of nourishment that words can’t match.

Guappecarto: Malamente, Frank et Zingarone