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LAST 10 MINUTES print heading

LAST 10 MINUTES

03.01.14

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If you trace the lineage of how a family grows through the years it is never a straight line. It is a series of chance encounters, crazy decisions in the name of love, and big leaps of faith and commitment.

39 years ago today, Janet Paddock and Steve Cook brought into the world Stephanie. I imagine Janet, being a nurse and all too aware of everything going on in her body, still beingastonished at what she had created. I imagine Steve going down the halls of the hospital holding this new gift for the world in awe and wonder.

Shephie was born of love. Showered with love. Dusted with love. And she was going to be raised and spoiled with love. Stephie grew up carrying that love on the inside, and her heart on her sleeve.

By one of the wildest coincidences of my life, one night almost eleven years ago we met. I didn’t know I was looking for this kind of love, because I could never have imagined it. But when I saw it and felt it, there was no possibility of letting it go.

Every single day since I have learned about love, and so many other things from Stephie. I joke that she is always right, and I really believe that. She is the most understanding, the most inspired and really in a sea of craziness, an island of kind reason. Having our boys, she has showered that love on a whole new generation. If you could hear just the sound of her voice with them, you were understand everything I am talking about.

We are not together for this birthday. We are going to do our family’s great time honored tradition of time shifting and celebrate later this week in NY.

If any of you see Stephie today, please give her the biggest hug. If you are in a different town, please just write the date on anything and send it to her ( and since it is 2014, hashtag it: #03.01.14 ).

For inspiration, check out this video we did a couple of years ago in NY:http://langestudio.com/videos/030110

It feels alittle queer sending birthday wishes out in 2014. When we are together it is real hugs in real time.

And…if we are lucky….real love always.

Happy Birthday Stephie!!

Stephie is @stephanielange on Instagram and Stephanie Lange on Facebook.

#03.01.14

03.01.14 Posted in Everything Is Connected, Personal Work, Something I love

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Pete Seeger

PeteSeeger200

 

I can’t begin to get everything I love about Pete into one post or ten. He has been such a huge force in my life. Such an inspiration. Such a powerhouse of strength and clarity. From that first concert I went to around the age of ten at the Carnegie Concert Hall in Pittsburgh – where the John Bircher’s were protesting outside and I was singing, “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley” so loud from the mezzanine that Muzz’s older brother leaned over and told me to stop singing so loud. To holding my son Jackson when he was only 2 by Pete’s feet in a blazing hot tent at the Clearwater festival and feeling that we were another two blessed links in the chain.

Pete was all about the idea of “we”. When he sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (which I know is a strange idea, but just read up on it’s lyricist Yip Harburg ) he changed the last words to, “you and I”.
Pete said, “When little Dorothy said, ‘Why can’t I?’ I’d tell her, ‘You know why you can’t, Dorothy? Because you only ask for yourself. You’ve got to ask for everybody, because either we’re all going to make it over that rainbow, or nobody’s going to make it.’ And so, sing it, ‘If plucky little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why can’t you and I?’” And the whole crowd sings these slightly different words. It’s beautiful. And, of course, that’s the story of Noah’s Ark and the rainbow
This world will survive when we learn how to coexist. Okay, we disagree. You like to eat this way, and I like to eat that way. You like to dance that way. I like to dance this way. You think of this word meaning such and such. I use the same word, but I’m thinking of something different. But if we learn the lesson of the rainbow, we will be here a hundred years from now.”

By some miracle one day in 1997, I got an assignment from Rolling Stone to photograph Pete Seeger up at his home on the Hudson. The story never ran, but it gave me one of the greatest thrills of my career. It was a cold, sunny spring morning. When I got to his house, he came out carrying an ax and said we had to chop some wood so he could boil the sap for maple syrup. So he lined up some logs and chopped away as I took my pictures. When he was done he grabbed his banjo, sat down on the chopping stump and asked what I wanted to hear. I told him I loved so many of his songs, but one of my favorites was an obscure one on a recording no longer in print (Pete Seeger Now) from the tent city the homeless had set up in Washington, DC. It was a song called, “Letter To Eve” – these are the lyrics:

LETTER TO EVE

Oh, Eve, where is Adam, now you’re kicked out of the garden?
Oh, Eve, where is Adam, now you’re kicked out of the garden?
Been wandering from shore to shore,
Now you find there’s no more
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

Don’t you wish love, only love, could save this world from disaster?
Don’t you wish love, only love, could save this world from disaster?
If only love could end the confusion -
Or is it just one more illusion?
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

Well if . . . you want to have great love, you got to have great anger
Well if . . . you want to have great love, you got to have great anger
When I see innocent folk shot down,
Should I just shake my head and frown?
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

Well if . . . you want to hit the target square, you better not have blind anger
Well if . . . you want to hit the target square, you better not have blind anger
Or else it’ll be just one more time
The correction creates another crime.
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

Oh Eve, you tell Adam, next time he asks you
Oh Eve, you tell Adam, next time he asks you
He’ll say, “Baby it’s cold outside;
What’s the password to come inside?”
You say, Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

Oh, Eve, go tell Adam, we got build a new garden
Oh, Eve, go tell Adam, we got build a new garden
We got to get workin’ on the building
Of a decent for all o’ God’s children.
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

If music . . . could only bring peace, I’d only be a musician
If music . . . could only bring peace, I’d only be a musician
If songs could more than dull the pain,
If melodies could break these chains
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa.

Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa!
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa!
Four thousand languages in this world,
Means the same thing to evrry boy and girl
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa!
Oh, Pacem in Terris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Hey Wa!

Pete was all about planting seeds. Seeds of justice. Seeds of hope. Seeds of the power of song.

Pete said, “ In this wonderful parable in the New Testament: the sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and they grow and multiply a thousand fold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done may bring results years later that you never dreamed of.”

I am on my way right now to the Dad 2.0 conference in New Orleans to speak on Friday. I will begin my talk speaking about Pete and how we, as parents are all farmers planting the seeds of our children’s futures.

I will make my New Year’s resolution – which I made weeks before the news of Pete’s passing even stronger. My resolution is to sing even louder. With less inhibitions. With alittle less humility.

And to get planting…..’

I am linking a not very well shot clip of Bruce Springsteen in South Africa two nights ago singing, “We Shall Overcome.” Pete lives on. Bruce told Pete several years ago, “You outlasted the bastards, man!” And he did.

The picture is from my shoot with Pete from February, 1990 at his home in Beacon, NY.

 

01.29.14 Posted in Everything Is Connected, Something I Heard, Something I love

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My father at 90

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My father would be 90 years old today.

He was born January 24, 1924.

He died in our arms January 24, 1998.

We used to tease that we started missing each other before each visit, knowing how quickly the time would pass and it would be over.

Every time we left each other, often at an airport, he would slip me $5. When I went to summer camp. When I went to college. When I moved to New York. $5 slipped into my palm at the last minute. Never more. Never less. When we were searching for a middle name for Jackson, we came up with Finn, which is a slang term for 5 dollar bill.

When I think of my father I think of how sweet he was. How much fun he seemed to be having. How much in the moment he was. I have written (and posted) about my father a lot. I loved him so much. And he loved me. And best – we not only lived it, but told each other.

As much as I have missed him since he has been gone, having my boys and being with Stephie has made me miss him even more. He would have been such a rich part of our family – and they would have thrilled and loved him to no end.
It is a cruel trick when someone dies that they are frozen in time.
They continue to have birthdays, but are no longer here. They never age in your mind, but they are harder to imagine. What would my father look like at 90? How much fun we he be? How much would he love these boys of ours and Stephie?

I can answer.

My father would be handsome and super fun.
He would be bursting with so much love he would light up the sky.
He would still have tickets to every Steeler game and Jackson would be next to him tugging at his terrible tweed coat. On his lap would be Asher singing out loud with those blue eyes that match my father’s, and on the other side, I would be the happiest man in the world. Knowing it was not the game but being together.

My Dad would be doing his damnedest to keep up with my mother.

It is never the destination, it is always the journey.

The attached photo is of Jackson in 2010 sitting on the lawn of the house I grew up in. He is sitting in the exact spot I used to wait for my father to come home from work. It used to seem like forever for his car to come around the corner and into the driveway. Then, when he came out of the car and hugged me, it was like he had been there forever. Behind Jackson are his two grandmothers, Aline and Janet.

01.23.14 Posted in Everything Is Connected, Personal Work, Something I Thought

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Something I wrote 5 or 6 years ago….

I have been out sharing my book, The Unforgettable Photograph with alot of people.  Alot of amazing feedback.  Interviewers all want specific tips:  How to take great holiday pictures.  How to take great pictures with your phone.   For me, it all comes out of the same well of inspiration.   What I am discovering, is that well has been pretty consistent my whole career.  Aszure Barton posted this today from her site.    I wrote this 5 or 6 years ago.

“Dear Aszure:

Can I say in my bio that I had a life altering experience
seeing you (Aszure & Artists) perform at Jacob’s Pillow

Can I say that I stalked you for many months until we
had lunch one freezing day and you let me in?

Can I say how the shootings we have done have re calibrated my internal rhythm?

Life is only about rhythm. I photograph the beats. I have had to work through actors and presidents, surgeons and bakers, civil rights heroes and muses to finally…finally get to Aszure – who pounds the floor and spits and insists that beauty is not always pretty…. and yet it is always beautiful.

I have been taking pictures since the age of 5. I am obsessed with the next five minutes, the next ten pictures, a map into a dream. I just became a father and am quickly learning a language with no words. I think a lot of about the connections we all crave with each other. I try to photograph from the inside out.

The photographs are only the excuse to get to know you and ask this one question that has been bugging me….

I spend a lot of time trying to remember specific moments and photographs give me a fighting chance.

I take mostly mental pictures.

My pictures are becoming more and more cinematic. Rather than presenting a singular moment as the truth, I have been shooting the whole arc. I have been stitching the moments together into little movies. I like making you shiver.”

 

 

 

 

 

11.21.13 Posted in Everything Is Connected

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Not yet aftermath

seamusH

Seamus Heaney – Dublin 1995

 

Boulder – 9.15.13

The ground is so wet that for days there will be the fear of terra firma transforming into quicksand.   Mud and water tearing through homes and businesses and schools breaking down all defenses.  Roads buckling under our weight.  Disgusting piles of soaked carpets torn out and piled everywhere.

Each step to Monday is pushed back by the new realities in a place where reality is usually baked in sunshine.    It is all a balance of gathering teachers, shoveling mud, and waving mirrors at rescue helicopters.

We always duck when we bicycle under the bridges along the creek.   Now we have to dismount and do the breaststroke.

We were lucky.  We stayed dry.   Islands in a newly formed sea.

Stephie and I  stayed up way into the morning crafting the Ted Talk I give next Saturday night.  Now I just have to memorize it.  Was given the technique of imagining the speech in different parts of something familiar like your house.   What if you are renting?

Got a massage from Karen Delorenzo this morning, then soaked with the boys in the rain.   Met Karen when she was pregnant with Malachi many years ago on my first assignment for Rolling Stone.   Went to Milwaukee to shoot the Violent Femmes, and stayed at the drummer, Victor Delorenzo’s  (and Karen’s) house for several days.  The total budget was $75.

Malachi was playing with Langhorne Slim at Red Rocks last night and came to pick up Karen who was staying at our house.  Then we all went to watch football at a local Boulder sports bar with Jackson.   Malachi was there laughing and cheering on his Packers.   Jackson’s head was spinning around to 10 TV’s all with different games.  Langhorne came in wearing a red knit hat and was that warm.

Before we had kids, Stephie and I followed Langhorne all over the UK.  Some nights they were playing for ten people.  Some nights alot more.  I told Langhorne how amazing it was how his career has evolved.  He said, “I would be doing this no matter what, but yes, it is really nice how many people love what we do.”

In the first 30 seconds of a massage you know exactly what you are in for.    When Karen first touched me on the table, I told her, I have been waiting 20 years for this massage.

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 With Langhorne Slim and Jackson

 

09.15.13 Posted in Everything Is Connected, Something I Saw, Something I Thought

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