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LAST 10 MINUTES print heading

LAST 10 MINUTES

Monthly Archives: December 2008

Notes from a Saturday Morning

I was with my neighbor  as the largest Home Depot in the world was getting ready to close 2 nights ago.   The idea was to split one machine between the two of us.  Even though it barely snows here anymore, and we don’t have a sidewalk. .   Got caught up in the needing stuff mode I have navigated around so successfully lately digging deep this winter into my sweater collection.   So we buy this big loud machine and wait a little too long to blow.   Snow was deep and wet and heavy.   I pushed this thing all up and down the driveway.  Watching the one wheel spin hopelessly and the snow barely thrown.  Spent twice as much on the Arian because of the metal blades, playing the role of the DIY guy I am so not.  It was not satisfying.    I was not proud afterwards.    I really like the way snow falls on it’s own, not the way it is blown by machines.

Watched the old David Byrne movie, “True Stories.”   Stephie danced in the glow of the screen.  New moves.  Was great except for the climax on the big stage.  Kind of fizzles out.  Got inspired to see it after the William Eggleston show at the Whitney.   Loved that show.  Kind of work I was never was attracted to when I was younger.  Maybe I appreciate it now more than I am really into it.  Then watched a documentary on Sigur Ros called, “Heima.”    If you can find it on Sundance channel you should.  It is an astonishing piece of work –musically – VISUALLY!!  Will take your breath away.   Kind of a cross between Andrew Goldsworthy and maybe Robert Wilson if he worked in nature – with strange music from the gods.  Stephie sang along with glorious wails.  “Heima” is like a book you cannot put down.

The white snow outside makes the whole house brighter.  Especially love the snow acoustics.  Got a big box of ice cream and sorbets from Jeni Britton of Jeni’s Ice Cream delivered last night by UPS Snow Angel.  Perfect for a snowstorm.    Met Jeni in Columbus.   Had to meet her after trying the wares.   She is obsessed with finding the most intense flavors from local and small fair trade farms.  We had dinner and became friends.  I photographed the vanilla beans being unwrapped from Uganda like it was the most precious gold in the world.   They Fed Ex the goods all over.   Indulge.

Finally something from Leo Gerard (via Bob Herbert), president of the steelworkers union – summing up the government’s attitude nicely when he said: “Washington will bail out those who shower before work, but not those who shower afterwards.”

12.20.08 Posted in Uncategorized

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Antidotes for the Recession #2

Looking for the tourguide at Cindy Sherman

Looking for the tour guide at Cindy Sherman

Take the snow as a sign that something still works.   Go easy on the Purell.  Check out the Babar show in Chelsea.  It is like concentrating on your breath at yoga class.   One simple idea getting imagined millions of wonderful ways.  Yesterday Stephie and I saw the Cindy Sherman prints.  Ahhh….  Oohhh…   We looked at the “Bare” show and winced a bit even though it was just us in the gallery.   Then we fell in love again at the Barbar show of all places???   Years ago I photographed Laurent de Brunhoff.   I photographed him standing on his head in Connecticut.  His father, Jean invented Babar, but only did the first two books.  Laurent quietly, patiently, brilliantly has created everything since.   He made a little drawing of Babar sitting on a park bench with a camera around his neck for me that now hangs in Jackson’s room.   I will take a picture of it to show you after Jackson wakes up from his nap.

There was a woman in a bright red coat wandering around the Cindy Sherman show alone. She looked just like one of the characters from the pictures on the wall.  She kept mumbling, “I am waiting for the tour guide.  I could wait forever!” in the heaviest Jersey accent.   She had a little bottle of Purell attached to her belt.  I hope she found the tourguide and got home before the snow started.  I know her hands are clean.

It is snowing now like crazy.  Dreamland….

12.19.08 Posted in Uncategorized

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Last Friday in Philadelphia

Walked into a coffee shop before the shooting. Strange section of south Philly crossing over. They were playing Tom Waits, “Closing Time.”  The studio was in the middle of a residential area.  Dana was really nervous, had been up all night. Thought the photographer might not be nice. Had an incredible afternoon taking pictures. Did video chats with family. Went back to their house to meet the dog. Here is one of the pictures. There are others.

12.15.08 Posted in Uncategorized

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Everything Everything Everything

It is strange that people in finance have emotions that effect our money.     Nurses don’t gag when they sew up our wounds.   Maybe nurses should run the banks.    I like that they close the markets in Russia when things get too bad.  Get some fresh air.   It sounds so crazy to hear that Wall Street dived because the mood was alittle off, someone was a little disappointed, some company did not perform exactly as predicted.  Cry.  Baby.

What about those of us whose work is feeling for a living?  All of us emotional artists.   We have to be so professional to get work that demands we feel the most human, the most vulnerable – playing both the outsider and the insider at the same time.    Our job is to feel and see and think and deliver.  I got a call to photograph a young woman with three little kids who has terminal cancer.  The art director before she even discussed the shooting gave me an out.  I wanted in.  What a privilege to meet this woman and make her feel completely alive for the time I am with her.  What an honor to take the pictures her children will have forever.  In a couple of hours, when this stormy night ends, I will load into a van with my crew.   We will drive south for several  hours, then be invited to share in the most intimate story.  My job is to both allow the family to show their love and share it with the world in a way that is both completely emotional and totally commercial.    The process for me is  a journey to that place in myself where love lives.  That is the only way I know how to photograph. The commercial part is the sharing.  That is the letting go.

My neighbor Maggie is a well-known film director.  Her work is mostly period pieces created entirely from research and imagination.  No stumbling upon a great 19th century community still intact in the mountains.  She looked at alot of my work last week and said one thing that made me feel so happy.   She said that joy poured out of every single image she saw.   The thing I loved so much about that, is many of the images she saw were not bubbly, happy pictures.   It is true, I work out of a place of great joy.  When I am making my videos and taking my pictures I tap into this feeling I have had since I was very little and try to recreate that place.   In that way the images while not being about me, are my creations.  My take on the world.  Most of the people I have photographed will talk about that.   That is my gift.  To my subjects and to you.

I spoke to a couple of classes at Columbia High School yesterday.  I love just showing up and being allowed to share ideas.   What I wanted to talk about was from a Violent Femmes song where Gordan wails, “EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING EVERYTHING!”  The Femmes are alittle too old for them to know.  So I just told them my whole career is built on an itch I cannot quite ever reach to scratch.  Everyday I try to reach down and rub the place that itches, but never quite get to it.  I have only been working at this 30 or 40 years until I was told by a doctor in Toronto last summer that I will never get rid of this itch.  That is ok.  I like reaching.

After 45 minutes of looking at pictures I asked the class if they had any questions.  The first person I called on asked, “can we see some more pictures?”

12.11.08 Posted in Uncategorized

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12.09.08 Posted in Videos

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